The Legal Cheek View

Business is booming for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. In its most recently disclosed financial results, the US outfit pushed past the $1 billion revenue mark for the first time, reporting a firm wide revenue of $1.05 billion (£856 million) — an increase of 7.3% from the year before. Profit per equity is also on the up, increasing 6.8% to $1.99 million (£1.62 million) last year.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Orrick divides its focus among three overlapping sectors: technology, energy and infrastructure, and finance. High profile clients include PayPal and Sony. Last year, Orrick’s London lawyers advised Revolut — a UK-based digital banking ‘unicorn’ — on its $250 million Series C financing round. They also advised on Infracapital’s joint venture with Nokia in constructing a fibre optic broadband network across Poland.

Outside Europe the firm has also appeared on some sexy deals. For example, Orrick assisted the China Development Bank in financing a portfolio of solar projects across Eastern Europe. While it also acted for Beyond Meat, a Californian-based manufacturer that produces plant-based meat products, on its $240.6 million initial public offering.

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During the six seated training contract system, rookies can expect a “mix of formal and informal (trainee organised) training”. Insiders enjoy such autonomy in shaping their own training because it “allows us to choose topics which we think will be most useful”. One complains, however, that training can be patchy and suggests “it could be provided more consistently across departments”.

As expected from a US firm, trainees should expect to “work hard and long when needed”. During busy periods, “it is possible to be working late every night and at the weekends”, one rookie warns. While office hours vary “considerably by department”, overall trainees punch-in from 8:30am and typically punch-out around 8pm. After all, there is a general “understanding that you have a life” outside the office, a trainee says.

Recruiting only six rookies per training contract cycle, Orrick’s fairly low intake has heighted a “very friendly” atmosphere among all trainees. “As there are only six trainees per intake you get to know everyone very quickly and all support each other,” one novice says. This encouraging culture also extends to the City of London office’s 58 associates and 33 partners. Insiders describe their superiors as being “very supportive and understanding” and “very approachable”.

This bond is especially seen where trainee and junior associates go out for lunch and drinks together. Although reports do suggest that attendance at pre-planned social gatherings could be higher and more effort could go into planning ad-hoc social events.

Trainees also laud the “open door policy”, particularly important considering Orrick’s non-open plan City office. Insiders praise the “really nice” office layout and enjoy “the privacy and comfort of your own office (shared with one or two people)”. A downside is the lack of an in-house canteen; an upside is the “great” location, meaning employees can benefit from the plenty range of restaurants near to St Pauls Cathedral.

And junior lawyers have plenty of money to spend in said restaurants; Orrick’s newly qualified pay is £95,000. The perks are decent too, with lawyers getting access to an app that includes discount codes and offers, subsidised gym membership and private healthcare.

Insider Scorecard

Quality of work
Peer support
Partner approach-ability
Work/life balance
Social life

Insider Scorecard Grades range from A* to D and are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2019-20 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.


First year trainee salary £40,000
Second year trainee salary £44,000
Newly qualified salary £95,000
Profit per equity partner £1,620,000
GDL grant £8,000
LPC grant £9,500


Average arrival time 09:05
Average leave time 19:35
Annual target hours Undisclosed

Average arrive and leave times are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2019-20 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.


Chances of secondment abroad 13%
Chances of client secondment 0%

Secondment probabilities are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2019-20 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.

General Info

Training contracts 12
Latest trainee retention rate 67%
Offices 25
Countries 10
Minimum A-level requirement 3 passes at A and B (or equivalent)
Minimum degree requirement 2:1


UK female associates Undisclosed
UK female partners Undisclosed
UK BME associates Undisclosed
UK BME partners Undisclosed