Business is booming for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. In its most recently disclosed financial results (released in spring 2021), the US outfit reported London revenues grew 18%, from $53.09 million (£38 million) to $62.86 million (£45 million) Meanwhile, profit per equity partner (PEP) surged 14% to $2.52 million (£1.8 million). But the firm’s global revenue was somewhat dampened by the pandemic — declining 0.5%, from $1.16 billion (£836 million) to $1.15 billion (£828 million) — with temporary court closures impacting the firm’s litigation work.
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 last 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 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.
During the six-seat training contract system, rookies can expect training which combines “observation and also lots of actual participation”. 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”. We are told “the style of training differs across departments” but “each supervisor is keen for you to learn and help you develop throughout the seat”.
As is to be expected at a US firm, trainees “work hard and long”. Busy spells can be “overwhelming”, according to one rookie, “but supervisors encourage a work/life balance”. While office hours vary depending on department, overall trainees punch-in around 9am (US firms tend to start later) and typically leave around 9pm. And on the subject of hours, Orrick recently unveiled a new policy that allows lawyers to put up to 40 billable hours towards a holiday to ensure they can really “unplug” from corporate life.
Recruiting only four 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 ninth floor of the firm’s “modern” and “very smart” London office 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 ten 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.