The Legal Cheek View

Business is booming for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. In its most recently disclosed financial results (released in spring 2020), the US outfit reported revenues grew by almost 11% to reach $1.16 billion (£882 million). Meanwhile, profit per equity partner (PEP) pushed past the $2 million mark for the first time, surging 14% to $2.27 million (£1.73 million).

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. Orrick’s London lawyers advised Revolut — a UK-based digital banking ‘unicorn’ — on its US expansion which completed this year. They also advised health start-up Quit Genius on its $11 million Series A financing round.

The firm has also appeared on mega deals across the pond. Orrick attorneys in Los Angeles recently advised on a $100 million green revenue bond offering whose proceeds will be used to construct an Oscars Museum. The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is set to open in the California state before Christmas this year.

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During the six-seat training contract system, rookies can expect a “mix of formal and informal (trainee organised) training”. Insiders say they enjoy the 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 is to be expected at a US firm, trainees “work hard and long when needed”. During busy spells, “it’s 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 before 8:30am and typically leave around 8pm. After all, there is a general understanding that “you have a life” outside the office, a trainee adds.

Recruiting only six rookies per training contract cycle, Orrick’s small intake helps foster a tight-knit community among trainees. “The trainees at Orrick create a safe support network on which I have relied countless times,” one novice says. The friendly atmosphere extends further: “From the lowest-ranking associates to the top partners, everyone is extremely approachable at Orrick.”

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 events.

Trainees also praise the “open door policy”, particularly important considering Orrick’s non-open plan City office. Insiders say they enjoy “the privacy and comfort of your own office (shared with one or two people)”. Plus we hear the view from the London office’s ninth floor is unparalleled. A downside is the lack of an in-house canteen; an upside is the “great location”, meaning employees can benefit from the plentiful restaurants close to St Paul’s Cathedral.

And junior lawyers have plenty of money to spend in said restaurants; Orrick’s newly qualified pay is £120,000. The perks are decent too, with lawyers getting access to an app that includes offers and discount codes, subsidised gym membership and private healthcare.

With 25 offices in 10 countries worldwide it’s surprisingly rare for trainees to be seconded abroad. Though one rookie reports spending four days each in Miami and San Francisco, while another tells us they’ve been seconded to an investment firm.

On the tech-front, murmurs of “standard” are heard across the board. One trainee tells us, however, that the firm uses ‘Orrick Analytics’ that uses “state-of-the-art technology and probability modelling in document-heavy matters”. Meanwhile, the move to remote-working in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic was “successful” on the whole.

Insider Scorecard

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

Insider Scorecard Grades range from A* to D and are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2020-21 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.


First year trainee salary £45,000
Second year trainee salary £49,000
Newly qualified salary £120,000
Profit per equity partner £1,730,000
GDL grant £8,000
LPC grant £9,500


Average arrival time 08:11
Average leave time 19:48
Annual target hours Undisclosed
Annual leave 25 days

Average arrive and leave times are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2020-21 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.


Chances of secondment abroad 8%
Chances of client secondment 17%

Secondment probabilities are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2020-21 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK. Please note that due to COVID-19 secondment probabilities are lower than in usual years.

General Info

Training contracts 6
Latest trainee retention rate 67%
Offices 25
Countries 10
Minimum A-level requirement BBB
Minimum degree requirement 2:1


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

Universities Current Trainees Attended