Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Headquarters San Francisco, CA
No. of offices 23
No. of attorneys 1,100+
Major practice areas General practice
Key people Mitchell Zuklie (Chairman)
Date founded 1863
Company type Limited liability partnership

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is an international law firm founded in San Francisco, California. Orrick traces its roots back to 1863, making it the second-oldest continuously operating law firm in San Francisco after Tobin & Tobin (now Weintraub Tobin), and the second-oldest privately held company in San Francisco after Levi Strauss & Co..

The firm has over 1,100 lawyers worldwide in 23 offices, with more than 200 attorneys in each of its two largest offices in San Francisco and New York.

The firm is focused on serving companies in the technology, energy & infrastructure and financial sectors and practices in five core areas: Corporate, Energy & Infrastructure, Finance, Intellectual Property and Litigation.


Orrick traces its roots to the year 1863, when the German Savings and Loan Society (which later became part of the First Interstate Bank of California) was organized, with John R. Jarboe as its general counsel. In 1885, Jarboe, along with colleagues Ralph J. Harrison and W.S. Goodfellow, founded the law firm Jarboe, Harrison & Goodfellow.

Jarboe, Harrison & Goodfellow dissolved in 1891 when Harrison was appointed justice to the California Supreme Court. In 1901, Goodfellow formed a new partnership with Charles Eells, creating the firm Goodfellow & Eells. William Horsley Orrick joined the firm in 1910, and after Stanley Moore joined the firm in 1914, the firm's name changed to Goodfellow, Eells, Moore & Orrick.

In 1927, Ralph Palmer, Tom Dahlquist, George Herrington, and Mitchell Neff became partners, and Eric Sutcliffe joined in 1932. During the 1930s the firm played a major role in helping to finance the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. It not only helped structure the bridge's financing, but also defended the bonds' validity when challenged by interests opposed to the bridge's construction.

Sutcliffe replaced Orrick as the firm's managing partner in 1947, a position he held for more than 30 years. In 1980, the firm's name was changed to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

Orrick's headquarters at the Orrick Building on Howard Street in San Francisco

Orrick is one of the few California firms to have reached critical mass of over 200 attorneys in New York. Its East Coast ambitions were assisted when it acquired 40 lawyers and their litigation practices from Donovan, Leisure, Newton & Irvine in 1998.[1]

The Global Operations Center (GOC), where the firm's day-to-day administrative operations are centralized, was established in 2002 in Wheeling, West Virginia.[2]

The firm expanded internationally in 2005 at the expense of the now-defunct law firm Coudert Brothers. Orrick doubled its London office with the addition of the Coudert team and opened offices in Moscow, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai with Coudert Brothers professionals. Also in 2005, the firm laid the foundation for its emerging companies practice with the addition of a team from the Venture Law Group (VLG).[3] VLG’s founding partner Don Keller and Orrick’s current chairman Mitch Zuklie joined the firm’s Silicon Valley office.[4]

In 2006, the firm engaged in protracted merger negotiations with legacy Wall Street firm Dewey Ballantine. The merger was unsuccessful and Dewey later combined in 2008 with fellow New York firm LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae to form Dewey & LeBoeuf. The same year, Orrick expanded its Paris office through a combination with Rambaud Martel, a preeminent M&A and dispute resolution firm in France.[5]

In 2008, Orrick expanded into Germany by combining with Hölters & Elsing (Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten), and today, the firm has offices in Düsseldorf and Munich. Orrick also welcomed a group of project finance attorneys in its San Francisco office from Thelen LLP and in its Paris office from Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle. In 2008, the firm admitted almost two dozen partners in its London, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., offices from the San Francisco firm Heller Ehrman, including 27 hired[6] after Heller's Sept. 26, 2008, announcement of dissolution. This move added Orrick’s Supreme Court & Appellate Litigation practice head, Josh Rosenkranz, who was named “Litigatorof the Year” by The American Lawyer[7] in 2012 and successfully argued Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. before the U.S. Supreme Court. The move also added Annette Hurst, who has been named to the Daily Journal’s “Top 75 IP Litigators in California” list (2010-2012).[8]

On Nov. 13, 2008, citing the severity of the global economic downturn, Orrick laid off 40 associates and 35 staffers in various offices, predominately in the United States, and said that because of the economy and the firm's recent capital investments, profits per partner would be down this year. In recent years, Orrick has outperformed other San Francisco-based firms in growth and profitability.[9]

In March 2009, Orrick laid off an additional 100 attorneys and 200 staff, citing again the recession that began in December 2007 as the reason.

In September 2010, Orrick announced it had entered preliminary merger talks with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld[10] But just six days later, the two firms announced the talks had been aborted, making the proposed union the latest in a series of failed merger attempts by Orrick, including dalliances with Coudert Brothers, Cooley, Venture Law Group, Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman, Dewey Ballantine and SJ Berwin.[11]

In 2011, Orrick opened an office in Munich and in 2012 expanded again with the addition of Brussels.The firm has also made a number of recent hires out of government: McGregor Scott, former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California, joined the firm’s Sacramento office in 2009; Rob McKenna, two-term Attorney General for the State of Washington, joined the firm’s Seattle office in 2013; and Bob Loeb, former Acting Deputy Director of the Appellate Staff of the Civil Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, joined the firm’s Washington, D.C. office in 2013.

In Spring 2013, Silicon Valley-based corporate partner Mitchell Zuklie succeeded Ralph Baxter as chairman.[12] Mr. Baxter served as Chairman of Orrick for 22 years and was widely praised as an innovator in the legal profession.[13]

Recognition and rankings[edit]

  • Law360 named Orrick to its Global 20 list citing Orrick for its global focus in finance, energy and infrastructure and technology for the third time in 2013.[14] The list rates leading international law firms on the size and scope of their geographic platform, complexity of cross-border work, and how pioneering the firm has been in pursuing an international strategy.[15] Law360’s profile cited that Orrick has laid the groundwork for continuing growth in the burgeoning African market, where it is advising the Democratic Republic of the Congo in connection with the Inga Hydro Power project.[14]
  • Financial Times' "Most Innovative US Law Firms" report named Orrick among the leading U.S.-origin law firms in 2011[16] and 2012,[17] recognizing the firm for its work in intellectual property, finance and energy.
  • The American Lawyer chose Orrick corporate partner Stephen Venuto as "Dealmaker of the Year" for advising Instagram on its $1 billion acquisition by Facebook. (April 2013).[18]
  • The American Lawyer included Orrick on its 2013 and 10-year A-List. The list ranks the 200 largest law firms in the United States in four categories: financial performance, pro bono contribution, associate satisfaction and diversity.[19]
  • Orrick is one of five firms recognized for family friendliness by both Yale Law Women (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)[20] and Working Mother/Flex-Time Lawyers (four-time winner).[21]
  • Orrick has earned a perfect score in the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index for the past 7 years. The award recognizes major U.S. businesses for equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees.[22]

Representative mandates[edit]

  • In 2012, Orrick closed more than 285 venture-backed deals, valued at more than $2.3 billion, and ranked among the top 10 venture capital firms. The firm acts for more than 1,300 start-ups.
  • The firm litigated for EMC Corporation in a high-stakes patent infringement dispute that was highlighted on National Public Radio’s This American Life in a segment called “When Patents Attack.”[23]
  • Orrick secured a victory for DISH Network in California federal court[24] and the Ninth Circuit[25] in a copyright case against all of the major networks that involves the companies’ award winning DVR and autohop technology.
  • The firm has advised on major U.S. transport PPP projects, including the $1.68 billion financing of Denver FasTracks—the first U.S. PPP for passenger rail—and the $1.5 billion financing of the Midtown Tunnel in Virginia. The firm also has one of the most active European PPP practices.
  • Orrick advised U-Shin, one of Asia’s largest producers of automotive access mechanisms, in its multijurisdiction acquisition of Valeo’s Access Mechanism Business. The acquisition involved 12 plants in eight jurisdictions including Asia, Europe and South America.[26]
  • Orrick assisted the Port Authority in the successful issuance of its $1 billion bond financing for the World Trade Center site redevelopment.
  • Orrick put an end to the multi-year battle between its client Facebook and the Winklevoss twins, whose lawsuit was featured in the film The Social Network.[27]
  • The firm has been ranked No. 1 U.S. municipal bond counsel[28] for most of the past two decades. Orrick also advised on the Chapter 9 filing of the cities of Vallejo[29] and Stockton,[30] California, two of the largest municipal bankruptcies.
  • Orrick successfully defended Greg Godsey against the Department of Justice in a case that became known as the “Africa Sting.” After six months of trial in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Mr. Godsey was acquitted by the jury on all counts of alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.[31]
  • Orrick defended Apple in its smartphone battle with S3 Graphics before the ITC—a result that Corporate Counsel selected as the No. 1 IP win of 2011.
  • The firm has worked with international law enforcement to help Microsoft dismantle four of the world’s largest botnets, introducing new tactics for combating cybercrime.[32] They provide legal notices to these botnets through their botnetlegalnotice.com domain.

Pro bono work[edit]

According to the The American Lawyer, Orrick was the 12th firm based on pro bono contribution. Law360 recognized Orrick as a top 20 pro bono firm based on its commitment to provide free legal work and secure notable victories for clients.[33]

Orrick represents more than 550 individual and nonprofit clients on a pro bono basis and partners with more than 225 legal services organizations to serve these clients. Orrick assisted national advocacy organization, Appleseed, a nonprofit organization dedicated to uncovering and removing barriers to justice, in advocating for an unprecedented admissions plan for PS 133, an elementary school in Park Slope, Brooklyn. In response to a proposal from a community task force that included New York City Council members, the New York City Department of Education agreed to the admissions policy, which for the first time under the Bloomberg administration makes diversity a primary goal.

Orrick lawyers provided legal and technical assistance to the Public International Law & Policy Group on public international law issues facing countries in the Middle East aspiring to become democracies, including Egypt, Libya, Syria and Tunisia.[34]

Orrick convinced the U.S. government to grant full asylum to three family members of the Demiraj family in an asylum case that was submitted and approved by the U.S. Supreme Court.[35]


  1. ^ Petersen, Melody (1998-04-20). "Donovan, Leisure, Old-Line Law Firm, to Shut Its Doors". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Gannon, Joyce (2012-08-13). "Law firm's operations center helps revitalize West Virginia mill town - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Post-gazette.com. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  3. ^ http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=900005542274&Five_From_Venture_Law_Group_Leave_Heller_Opt_for_Orrick
  4. ^ http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20050307005967/en/Additional-Partners-Join-Orrick-Heller-Ehrmans-VLG
  5. ^ http://www.thelawyer.com/orrick-seals-merger-with-rambaud-martel/117910.article
  6. ^ Debra Cassens Weiss (2009-10-09). "Some Firms Still Seek Laterals—Including Orrick, Set to Hire 27 Heller Partners". The ABA Journal. Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  7. ^ http://www.orrick.com/Events-and-Publications/Documents/4342.pdf
  8. ^ http://www.orrick.com/Lawyers/Annette-Hurst/Pages/default.aspx
  9. ^ Zusha Elinson (2008-11-14). "Orrick Lays Off Associates, Staff". The Recorder. 
  10. ^ AmLaw Daily, Sept. 28, 2010
  11. ^ New York Times, Oct. 4, 2010
  12. ^ "Latham, S&C, Orrick, Covington & Burling: Business of Law". Bloomberg. 
  13. ^ http://www.americanlawyer.com/PubArticleTAL.jsp?id=1202611688102&The_Innovators_All_About_Location_&slreturn=20130723161637
  14. ^ a b http://s3.amazonaws.com/cdn.orrick.com/files/Global20OrrickHerringtonSutcliffe.pdf
  15. ^ http://www.law360.com/rankings/global-20
  16. ^ http://www.orrick.com/Events-and-Publications/Documents/4255.pdf
  17. ^ http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/8e983220-3e32-11e2-91cb-00144feabdc0.pdf
  18. ^ http://www.americanlawyer.com/PubArticleTAL.jsp?id=1202487435922&Dealmakers_of_the_Year_
  19. ^ http://www.americanlawyer.com/PubArticleTAL.jsp?id=1202498700231&The_2013_AList_The_Complete_Report
  20. ^ http://yalelawwomen.org/top-ten-list Yale Law Women Top Ten Family-Friendly Firms Initiative
  21. ^ http://www.workingmother.com/content/2013-working-mother-and-flex-time-lawyers-best-law-firms-women
  22. ^ "HRC Corporate Equality Index". 
  23. ^ http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/496/when-patents-attack-part-two
  24. ^ http://www.law360.com/articles/392717/fox-loses-bid-to-ban-dish-network-s-ad-skipping-dvr
  25. ^ Stelter, Brian (2013-07-24). "Court Upholds Ruling on Dish Network's 'Hopper'". The New York Times. 
  26. ^ "Valeo in talks to sell locks unit to U-Shin". Reuters. 2012-06-25. 
  27. ^ http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202489708914&slreturn=20130727183435
  28. ^ http://www.bondbuyer.com/issues/122_9/muni-bond-counsel-2012-rankings-1047603-1.html
  29. ^ "Bankruptcy talk spreads among Calif. muni officials". Reuters. 2010-05-27. 
  30. ^ http://www.bondbuyer.com/issues/122_65/for-stockton-california-it-remains-on-how-it-will-exit-bankruptcy-1050377-1.htmlcom/issues/122_65/for-stockton-california-it-remains-on-how-it-will-exit-bankruptcy-1050377-1.html
  31. ^ "The Sting Defense: An Interview With Michael Madigan". The Wall Street Journal. 2012-02-29. 
  32. ^ The Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703328404576207173861008758.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. ^ http://www.law360.com/articles/467247/law360-picks-2013-pro-bono-winners
  34. ^ http://www.americanlawyer.com/PubArticleAL.jsp?id=1202607833126&utm_campaign=Communications&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_content=641246
  35. ^ "Albanian family granted asylum after cooperating, years of legal battles - CNN.com". CNN. 2012-05-14. 

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