Kirkland & Ellis's former London managing partner Jim Learner is returning to the firm after a two year stint at private equity firm HGGC in Palo Alto in the US.

His focus is on private equity, both buyouts and fund related matters, and before moving in-house he was recognised as an IFLR1000 'Leading Lawyer' in these fields.

Learner was one of the key figures in the establishment of Kirkland's London base in 1994 and spent 25 years at the US firm in his first stint.

In the last 12 months Kirkland has hired high profile banking lawyer Stephen Lucas from Weil Gotshal & Manges, but also suffered the departure of fellow banking partner Stephen Gillespie who left to join Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.