Kirkland & Ellis LLP
David A. Handler is a partner in the Trusts and Estates Practice Group of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. He concentrates his practice on trust and estate planning and administration, representing owners of closely-held businesses, family offices, principals of private equity and venture capital funds, individuals and families of significant wealth, and establishing and administering private foundations and other charitable organizations.
David is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), and a member of the NAEPC Estate Planning Hall of Fame as an Accredited Estate Planner (Distinguished). He is the creator or co-creator of the “HEET trust,” the “RPM Trust” and the “Guaranteed GRAT,” among other innovations. David is also a member of the professional advisory committees of several nonprofit organizations, including the Chicago Community Trust, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Goodman Theatre, WTTW11/98.7WFMT (Chicago public broadcasting stations) and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.
David is ranked in “Band 1” by Chambers USA in the Wealth Management category with interviewees noting that he “is considered to be one of the true authorities in the field of estate planning," as well as "very personable and has a creative mind” and praising him as "the foremost authority in working with private equity firms and their MDs regarding their planning." A peer commented to Chambers that he is “fantastic and has pioneered nuanced techniques. He is absolutely as bright as can be and top-notch," with another peer noting that "he made a name for himself coming up with strategies for private equity principals.” He is one of only 16 U.S. lawyers (as of 2015) ranked in “Band 1” by Chambers USA in the Wealth Management category.
He is also listed in The Best Lawyers in America© (Trusts and Estates) and was named its 2018 Trusts and Estates “Chicago Lawyer of the Year,” and is listed in the Guide to the World’s Leading Trusts and Estates Practitioners, in Who’s Who Legal: Private Client.
David received the Austin Fleming Distinguished Service Award from the Chicago Estate Planning Council. Leading Lawyers Magazine has listed David as one of the “Top Ten Trust, Will & Estate” lawyers in Illinois as well as a “Top 100 Consumer” lawyer in Illinois.
David is an Editorial Advisory Board Member of Trusts & Estates Magazine for which he has written the monthly “tax update” column for more than 10 years. He is also a co-author of an e-book on estate planning, The Complete Estate Planning Sourcebook (published by Wolters Kluwer). He has authored many articles that have appeared in prominent estate planning and taxation journals, magazines and newsletters, including Lawyer’s Weekly, Trusts & Estates Magazine, Estate Planning Magazine, Journal of Taxation, Tax Management Estates, Gifts and Trusts Journal, The Chase Journal and RIA’s Estate Planner’s Alert. He is regularly interviewed for trade and news periodicals, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Lawyer’s Weekly, Registered Representative, Financial Advisor, Worth and Bloomberg Wealth Manager magazines.