'Rising star' M&A lawyer leaps to new firm, then quickly backtracks

A high-profile mergers and acquisitions lawyer who joined Kirkland & Ellis as a partner in February has apparently changed his mind.

A Feb. 15 press release touted Michael Ringler’s leap to Kirkland’s San Francisco office from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Less than a month later, Ringler is back at his Wilson Sonsini in “an extraordinary turnaround,” the Daily Journal (sub. req.) reports.

Ringler was dubbed “Dealmaker of the Week” in a 2009 Am Law Daily story for helping a networking company find a new merger partner after an earlier deal fell through because of regulator scrutiny. He played key roles in several deals last year at Wilson Sonsini, where he was a “rising star,” the Daily Journal says.

Ringler explained his decision to rejoin Wilson Sonsini in an email to the Daily Journal. “Sometimes it takes stepping away from something to realize how important it is. I have been part of this firm for 17 years,” he said. “It’s a truly special place with exceptional lawyers, clients, and friends. It’s where I belong and where I want to continue to build. I am thrilled to be back.”

Wilson Sonsini co-managing partner John Sheridan told the Daily Journal that Ringler will have the same role in the firm’s M&A group and the same compensation as before his short-lived departure. “He’s coming back the same way he left, as one of the leading practitioners in our M&A practice,” Sheridan said.

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