Lateral Look: Orrick

Innovative industries need “innovative and flexible” law firms. Enter the tech, energy, and finance experts at Orrick…

“We consider ourselves one of the best firms in the world with a focus on three key sectors: finance, energy and infrastructure, and technology,” Orrick’s chief talent officer Siobhan Handley begins. “We’re very well known among clients for that focus. And associates who are interested in those three sectors – whether they want to do deals or litigate, tend to apply. A laser focus on three specialisms has helped the firm to impressive nationwide Chambers USA rankings in privacy and data security, projects, employment, appellate, startups and emerging companies law. With 14 offices across the US and nearly as many overseas, Orrick is one of the largest California-born firms; its other rankings include top spots in its home state for real estate and for litigation in Washington.

View the firm's Chambers USA rankings here>>

Why did you choose Orrick?

Great community of of people with a culture that I felt could assist with my development.

"Orrick's reputation and focus on innovation and flexibility."

"Strength in energy & infrastructure and commitment to diversity and inclusion."

San Francisco Roots; reputation for keeping associates happy; and ability to move up.


Strategic recruitment focuses 2022

Technology & innovation careers

The view from the firm: We help the most disruptive tech companies and founders grow and evolve – counseling companies on venture financing through IPO, protecting their intellectual property and navigating an environment where innovation far outpaces regulation. And we’re playing a leading role in the latest trend in the tech market, helping companies like Fisker Automotive, Luminar Technologies and Clover Health go public through special purpose acquisition vehicles. We represent over 3,000 venture-backed companies, over 400 life sciences companies, as well as 49 U.S. and UK unicorns.

Technology clients: Luminar, Motorla, Rafael Pharmaceuticals. 

Recent highlight: Advised Occidental Petroleum Corporation on the commercialization of technology designed to capture and permanently sequester C02 underground. 

Energy & infrastructure careers

The view from the firm: We’re focused on the trends driving markets globally: energy transition and infrastructure modernization. We advised on the largest-ever battery storage project and handled over 20 gigawatts of solar, wind and other renewable energy projects in the past year – the equivalent of powering approximately 6 million homes – to help our clients and communities achieve their net zero goals. And we help traditional energy companies improve carbon capture and purchase renewable power. We’re working to modernize infrastructure, from the renovation of New York’s JFK International Airport to helping universities build sustainable campuses.

Energy & infrastructure clients: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Calpine Corporation, Intersect Power.

Recent highlight: Represented Consolidated Edison Development, Inc. in the debt and tax equity financing for a portfolio of three solar projects located in Nevada and Virginia. 

Finance careers

The view from the firm: Financial Times has recognized our finance teams with 14 innovation awards – including for our novel approach in 2020 to financing permanent housing to address California’s homelessness crisis. We help engineer financial products that improve access to capital. Long the nationally dominant firm in public finance, we’re focused on the flight of capital to funds, crafting the next generation of financial products and enabling much-needed private investment in the public sector.

Finance clients: Wells Fargo, Equinix, Powdr Corporation.

Recent highlight: Advised Aria Energy on the debt financing aspects of its business combination with Archaea Energy and special purpose acquisition company Rice Acquisition Corporation.

Litigation careers

The view from the firm: Litigation is half of our practice. In the 24 months leading up to the pandemic, our teams conducted 39 trials and 55 appeals. Even during shutdown, we argued 3 cases virtually before the U.S. Supreme Court. We’ve got 139 former judicial clerks on our team, including 15 former SCOTUS clerks. Our litigation practice also focuses on Tech, Energy & Infrastructure and Finance – acting for more than one-third of the Fortune 100. This means our trial teams protect the work of innovators like Oracle and Sonos, help maintain a fair playing field for PayPal and Microsoft, defend employers like Twitter and SpaceX, and help Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse advocate for fair financial markets. And we have a team of former Department of Justice lawyers (42 of us worked at the DOJ and other federal agencies) who defend companies and individuals in enforcement actions.

Litigation clients: Credit Suisse, Johnson & Johnson, Twitter.

Recent highlight: Represented DISH Network against the United Sates government seeking civil penalties upwards of $23 million.

Regulatory careers

The view from the firm: Innovation will outpace regulation. That’s one of the biggest challenges disruptive companies face, so we focus on helping them see around corners. Regulation is one of the fastest growing areas of our practice. Our Chambers Band 1 practice in Cyber & Privacy advises and litigates for companies like Instacart, Microsoft, Shopify, Twitter, Workday and Zynga. Our Public Policy practice offers unique solutions at the state level – for example, representing the major sports leagues, DraftKings and FanDuel in advocating for responsible online gambling laws (work that earned us Law360 Sports Practice of the Year for 2019). And our teams appear before most federal agencies – helping clients get U.S. and cross-border deals done – and promote pro-consumer, pro-innovation regulation.

Regulatory clients: Hilton Worldwide, Everstrong Capital, Microsoft. 

Recent highlight: Represented Acuant in a precedent-setting matter involving emerging privacy issues related to the handling of biometric data.


International and secondment opportunities

Client secondment examples: Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, Facebook and Toyota.

The view from the firm: While most of our US secondments are local to their location, we recently had an associate seconded to Panasonic in Tokyo.


Career development & the path to partnership



1.7 : 1


partners made in 2021

associate : partner gearing

of junior associates intend to make partner




felt partnership was achievable for attorneys with children strongly agreed the firm’s name adds value to their resume agreed partners
are nurturing
future leaders


The view from the firm: Associates receive formal training through our Associate Academies, as well as comprehensive practice group training programs.  We also provide access to online programs and tools as well as industry-leading, public continuing education programs.  Our practice-group specific performance benchmarks outline the knowledge, skills and work experiences lawyers can focus on for each role within the talent model.  Finally, a core part of our lawyer development efforts is one-on-one career coaching and mentoring. Associates also develop mentoring relationships through our Women’s Initiative, DEI affinity groups, mentoring families and practice group work relationships.  


Hours & compensation





billable hours

average number of vacation days associates took in one year

average number of hours associates worked in one week




agreed the bonus amount awarded is fair

said the benefits package makes the workload worthwhile

found the bonus allocation fair and transparent



  • 1st year: $205,000
  • 2nd year: $215,000
  • 3rd year: $240,000
  • 4th year: $275,000
  • 5th year: $305,000
  • 6th year: $330,000
  • 7th year: $350,000
  • 8th year: $365,000


The view from the firm: Associates receive billable credit for client billable hours (defined as billable, unlimited pro bono work and legal work on behalf of the Firm) as well as up to 100 hours of firm billable hours (defined as time spent on training/shadowing, DEI initiatives, substantive business development, and innovation projects). We also offer generous agile working options, including reduced schedules and fully-remote work. Our bonus policies are competitive with our peers in the market.

We know that sustaining top performance requires taking time for recovery. Yet remote working – and the hybrid workplace of the future – can create an “always on” expectation that leads to burnout and threatens wellness. As part of our overall vacation policy, we expect our lawyers and staff to take one week fully unplugged each year. To help make that possible, we give lawyers 40 hours of creditable time for unplugging. And we designate “unplug time” buddies to ensure we have each other’s backs in serving our clients.


Is Orrick the right firm for you?





said they’d chosen the right firm

were happy in their current role

felt comfortable being themselves

The view from the firm: Our talent is the firm’s single greatest asset. We compete for talent globally alongside the best law firms, hottest tech companies and other great corporations, and government employers. The competition is fierce, so we compete on being the best law firm to work for.

What do we look for in great talent?

-Grit, empathy, teamwork and innovation
-We’re looking for candidates who are excited about working in teams to help our clients adapt to a rapidly changing market.
-And we’re looking for future leaders — as an Orrick partner, at one of the great companies we advise, or using your legal training to make an impact in new ways.

Visit to learn more.

What stands out about the firm's culture?

Very progressive with a willingness to set the standard in big law.”

"The lack of competition between associates."

"They care a lot about pro bono and providing the best benefits to their employees. They are constantly reaching out to see what they can improve upon."

"I did not think I'd be able to really be myself at a big law firm. Orrick surprised me--in the best way. I genuinely feel comfortable being myself in every room I walk into. It really is a special place to work."


Diversity, inclusion and wellbeing






reported strong performance in inclusivity training

agreed the firm strives to retain and promote diverse attorneys

agreed there is diverse staffing on matters

of partners are women


The view from the firm: Orrick has a long-standing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Without diverse perspectives on our team, it would be impossible for us to give forward-thinking advice to the world’s most innovative companies. We measure progress through our innovative pipeline and fellowship programs, firmwide and community-based initiatives, and client collaborations – as well as the diversity of our leadership team, partnership, client teams and summer associate classes. We have achieved Mansfield Certification since the program’s inception and we are ranked by our clients and industry groups as a diversity leader, including recognition from Human Rights Campaign, Vault, MCCA and others. 


Pro bono




average pro bono
per US attorney    

    found the pro bono
work interesting


The view from the firm: 99% of our US lawyers served pro bono clients last year.  Our pro bono practice spans the globe.  Our full-time Pro Bono Counsel helps our associates find pro bono work that matches their interests, and pro bono representation counts like any other client work toward bonus eligibility. We are also:

- Top 5 firm for pro bono in U.S. and internationally – American Lawyer
- Pro Bono Hot List – National Law Journal – 2020 and 4 other years


Sustainability and CSR

The view from the firm: The era of corporate leadership on sustainability is here – as lawyers, we take that duty seriously. During 2020, our teams dedicated 10,000 hours to advancing racial, social and economic and justice, 10,000 hours to COVID-related relief work and 8,000 hours to voting rights. We help social enterprises and nonprofits large and small advance their missions and assist individuals to secure their rights.  During 2021, we experimented with a new way of using our skills as lawyers to take action in our communities. We launched a Racial Justice Fellowship Program, embedding experienced Orrick lawyers with innovative organizations working on the frontlines to advance a more just and equitable society. To sustain this effort, we are committed to funding five Fellows annually.



See opportunities at the firm here>>

Recruitment contacts here>>

Visit the firm's website here>>