Within a year of opening, Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s Dallas office established a reputation as one of the region’s leading full-service law firms with a strong focus on the oil and gas industry. Its position of prestige took masterful planning, smart recruiting strategies and some behind-the-scenes magic from founding partners such as Kevin Crews.
Crews played an important role in hiring nearly all of the 50 attorneys and staff at the growing Dallas office. He has been closely involved in all aspects of office space decisions and participated in a slew of other managerial and administrative duties.
“I like to move fast and decisively, and I realized that the process of opening a new law firm office is just that—a process—it takes time, and it takes a village,” he says. “By splitting up responsibilities among our team and instituting checks and balances that worked for us, we were able to be very efficient and productive with our early efforts.”
The fast track: Crews, a graduate of Columbia Law School, spent 10 years working as an attorney for Weil Gotshal and Manges prior to joining Kirkland & Ellis in 2018 as a founding partner. Before going to law school, he worked as an investment banking analyst at Merrill Lynch.
He now represents private equity sponsors and both public and private companies in acquisitions and investments, divestitures, joint ventures, financings, restructurings and other corporate matters. Crews also represents management teams in the formation of joint venture platforms, in connection with sellside rollover transactions.
“I love the fast pace and complexity of oil and gas deal work, combined with the relationship-oriented nature of the industry,” he says. “In oil and gas, I get to work with some of the smartest and most impressive people I’ve ever met, often young people like myself who have a lot riding on a deal getting done right and done fast.”
“In oil and gas, I get to work with some of the smartest and most impressive people I’ve ever met, often young people like myself who have a lot riding on a deal getting done right and done fast.”
Deal maker: Since joining Kirkland, Crews has led teams that have signed or closed more than 10 deals totaling more than $5 billion.
He experienced a particularly remarkable run last January, when he led two energy deals in a single week that had a combined value of almost $2 billion.
But he didn’t do it alone. “Advising on energy deals is a team sport,” he says. “It’s important to me that everyone on the team is self-motivated and loyal and that we all share the same passion for our clients, our business and the industry as a whole.
“I truly believe you are only as strong as the weakest link in your team.”
A bold move: Over 15 years ago, when Crews was living in New York City, he met a girl at a bar but was skeptical of his chances. After all, she was accompanied by her long-time boyfriend, and they had little interaction outside of a short conversation.
Later that evening, he spotted her trying to hail a cab. Crews approached to assist, and he learned she had just broken things off with her boyfriend.
“Sensing there was never going to be another chance, I asked for her number to make sure she made it home safely—and the rest is history,” he says.
He’s now married to Chrissy, and they have two daughters, ages 5 and 3.
The memorable experience set him on a path to his wife’s native Texas, and it reminded Crews about an important reality.
“Life-changing opportunities in your professional and personal lives don’t present themselves every day, so when they do you have to act fast and be decisive.”