Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP - The Inside View

Looking for big-name clients within the realm of tech, energy, and finance? This West Coast legend remains a catagOrrickal assurance.

OCIs are a lot like speed dating. Of course, first impressions count, but the key to any successful partnership is finding that special connection. Take it from this associate: “I had narrowed it down to two firms and both took me out to dinner,” they recalled of their summer applications. “The first dinner felt very performative, but with the difference with Orrick was I felt that people had built strong bonds with each other.” Deliberating on what makes that special bond, another associate asked themselves this: “Do people seem normal and nice? That was my standard when looking for firms.” Their conclusion? – “People at Orrick were friendly and normal, which is what swayed my decision in the end.”

"We represent some of the largest and most important companies in the world, and so I wanted somewhere where I’d have the ability to work on the biggest deals and have a big impact.”

In fact, all sources we spoke to were drawn to Orrick’s chilled and friendly vibe. But again, much like dating, it usually takes a little more than that to find a spark. And for many associates, another appealing factor was the firm’s big-ticket work. One junior noted that“we represent some of the largest and most important companies in the world, and so I wanted somewhere where I’d have the ability to work on the biggest deals and have a big impact.”They weren’t wrong either. Down on the West Coast, our sister guide Chambers USA dishes out praise for Orrick’s public finance,tech transactions, and VC work. Nationwide, the firm excels in capital markets, energy transition, projects: renewables & alternative energy, public finance and privacy and data security work.

Strategy & Future

We spoke to Managing Partner Jessica Perry about some of the key developments at the firm over the last year. Perry tells us that “we successfully merged with Buckley last year. Together, we are focused on serving financial institutions and fintech clients across the spectrum of transactional, regulatory and litigation issues they encounter.” Beyond fintech,Perry explains that Orrick’s practice focus is also in areas like “energy transition, decarbonization and private or public infrastructure investment.” With the merger bolstering the firm’s regulatory and DC centric practice, Perry shares that “we are seeing that the pace of innovation is faster than the pace of regulation, and clients increasingly turn to us to help them see what's around the corner and how to manage their business and the myriad of regulatory compliance schemes.” As such, Perry comments that looking ahead, “we’re looking to continue guiding our clients through regulatory scrutiny, anticipate regulatory proceedings, or how to comply with a myriad of different types of regulation – that’s something that’s increasingly challenging, and you need to know what’s coming next!”

The Work

The bulk of associates are housed in the firm’s New York, San Francisco, and DC offices. Though other sources we spoke to were dotted around Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Silicon Valley as well. Orrick focuses on six elements of business in total: litigation; corporate; IP; finance; energy & infrastructure; strategic advisory & government enforcement (SAGE). General litigation was the most common destination for associates, with a few more scattered across some of the firm’s more niche groups including the technology companies group, financial & fintech advisory, and public policy. In terms of work allocation, Orrick’s system is pretty flexible. “You’re free to find whatever work you want through conversations with partners,” noted one source.Though insiders also mentioned that “there are also staffing coordinators, partners and a workflow coordinator who will monitor whether you need more work.”

“It’s a really interesting mix of clients.”

Within litigation, associates highlighted that white-collar matters are a major strength of the firm. Orrick litigators work on securities issues, business litigation, and class actions for the likes of “large energy companies and individual clients.” They are also given the opportunity to work on asserting rights in court cases on such matters. As far as daily tasks go, associates should expect “nothing too out the ordinary,” as one associate pointed. Another explained that they spent their days “help seniors with research, prepare for witnesses and trials, draft oppositions and go to arbitration.” Sitting within litigation is Orrick’s employment practice, which sources told us is formed by a “strong financial services client base.” In the San Fran office, we learned that tech startup clients dot the roster too. “It’s a really interesting mix of clients” praised one insider. They added that in terms of the type of work, “we get huge class actions, as well as smaller mediative and plaintive cases.” 

Litigation clients: Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, UBS O’Connor. Acted as counsel for the University of Washington over class action lawsuits filed against the University by students seeking tuition fee refunds as a result of the online delivery of instruction during the Covid pandemic.

Orrick’s corporate offering is broken up into smaller groups, including M&A, private equity, capital markets and private investment funds. Associates work with public or private companies on both the buyer and seller side, covering areas like IP, employment and sometimes life sciences. One insiders explained that the work can involve “lots of M&A structures, stock purchases, and working with foreign counsel.” Though, others noted that the work “largely focused on diligence matters, drafting smaller ancillaries, taking on media-related parts of negotiating agreements, client calls, and managing day-to-day client communication.” It’s a similar story for associates in the capital markets group, where juniors got stuck into standard debt and equity work. Though, they also covered more niche areas such as ESG and corporate development. Our interviewees told us that the type of tasks they got to work on included “public company reporting, opportunities to do research, and publishing thought leadership articles” and Orrick attorneys might write for the Harvard Forum.

Corporate clients: Squarespace, Levi’s, Bayer. Orrick advised Getaround, a San Francisco-based car sharing marketplace, in its acquisition of InterPrivate Acquisition Corp.

“I’ve sometimes had clients who were just a single inventor, but the majority of my work is for larger companies.”

Over in IP, Orrick’s clientele includes a range of small, mid-sized, and Fortune 500 companies in industries such as social media gaming, and streaming devices. One associate noted that, “I’ve sometimes had clients who were just a single inventor, but the majority of my work is for larger companies.” On a day to day basis, this translated into work like the “first pen on drafting responses, infidelity and infringement contentions, and deposition work.” So, responsibility was quick to come by in this team. One insider commented that “rarely do I feel like I’m doing something that isn’t substantive in terms of being able to directly make decisions that actually help the case move forward.”

IP clients: Facebook/Meta, Netflix, Panasonic. The firm represented Sonos, a wireless speaker company, in asserting five patents against Google at the ITC.

Career Development

“There are constant training opportunities on the go” led one of our sources. This starts from day one for associates, including academy sessions to get to grips with specific tasks such as drafting and taking depositions, as well as a mentorship system. Though, for many, the most impactful initiatives at Orrick were “the ones you find informally at the firm through the people you work with,” as one junior noted. Perry confirms this, explaining that the firm “looks at mentorship in two ways: one includes more structured programs. The other piece is creating opportunities for more organic connections.”

“They care about laying out a clear path and making sure people understand what’s needed to make partner. It’s very transparent.”

Associates felt that those organic connections were strong with partners. One told us that “partners are committed to seeing us grow and seeing us trying things.” Another added that “they’re so open and I’d be able to ask all the ones I work with for help. Orrick shines there I think.” Speaking of partners, sources felt pretty optimistic about partnership prospects. One surmised that “they care about laying out a clear path and making sure people understand what’s needed to make partner. It’s very transparent.”


“When we merged, the leadership of the former firm said they looked extensively at culture,” revealed one associate. They added that “culture was huge for them, and they said they had found a good fit in Orrick.” So, what makes that culture so great? One junior indicated that “the firm is really respectful of people’s time and they’re aware that folks have other things going on in their lives.” For instance, “I felt supported during the bigger milestones in my life outside of work.” mentioned one source. And as another rookie put it: “there’s definitely uniformity to the west coast firm vibes.” Formally, the firm also offers associates up to five days, or 40 hours of ‘unplugged’ time, to unwind after busy periods of work. As Perry outlines, “it gives associates the opportunity to recharge, take some pressure off, and gear up for their next mountain!”

“There’s definitely uniformity to the west coast firm vibes.”

It’s worth noting that Orrick hires a fair chunk of laterals to the firm, and associates were very complimentary of how it handles their integration. One insider surmised that: “The culture is very good in terms of making those laterals feel at home. It can be difficult coming from another firm compared to if you started with them, but people really like working at Orrick.”

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

“The firm has affinity groups aplenty!” quipped one insider. Indeed, Orrick hosts groups such as the Black Lawyer Association, First Generation, Women’s Initiative, Asia-Pacific, LGBTQ, Latinx, and MENA (Middle Eastern and North African), in addition to a group for parents, veterans, and those with diverse abilities. These groups were said to be pretty active and acted as an opportunity for associates to build connections across the firm. One junior told us that “during the summer program, we had a women’s dinner where all of the women of the firm in San Francisco and Orange County met up and could see everyone at the firm.”

“The diversity of first years impresses me every single round.”

Though our sources felt that when it comes to DEI, “where it really shows is in the hiring practices since I’ve been here. The diversity of first years impresses me every single round,” as one put it.Most of our interviewees commended the firm’s commitment to hiring a diverse group of associates: “there is a concerted effort to recruit 1L and summer associates from traditionally black universities, which has been successful.” Perry adds that, “we’re part of a pipeline initiative with Legal Innovators, to recruit from law schools beyond the top 14 in order to tap into talent with a range of experiences.”

Hours & Compensation

Billable hours: no official requirement, but 1,950 is encouraged

The firm has made some changes to its billables policy in the last year, as associates need to rack up 1,800 billable hours to qualify for the bonus. Though, on top of this, the firm expects newbies to top this up to 1,950 with a mix of non-billables like pro bono, business development, DEI initiatives, mentoring, and shadowing hours too. But our sources didn’t seem fazed: “Orrick is one of those firms that understands it’s going to come in cycles. You won’t make 2000 hours every year for 15 years! So, I’d say the firm does provide more capability to adjust to expectations."

Like most firms, the time associates spent on the clock depended on the practice area. But across the board, insiders felt a strong degree of flexibility in determining their own working day. One explained that “sometimes I can start work earlier or later, I’m in control of my schedule most of the time.” Though this flexibility depended on the sort of work on going: “If I’m part of a deal then I need to be more present, then the work does seem to be a bit more round the clock.” We also heard associates are encouraged to show up to the office three days a week, though “this is practice group dependent. As long as you’re in the office for when you need to be!” illustrated one junior.

Pro Bono

Pro bono is undeniably a big part of associate life at Orrick: “nobody shies away from it!” quipped one source. Indeed, every interviewee we spoke to had worked on pro bono matters.We heard of a wide range of cases related to asylum, reproductive justice work, veterans, immigration matters for Latin immigrants, public international work, anti-homosexuality legislation in Africa, and helping people gain access to medical care and education.

The billable cap of pro bono hours has also changed with the bonus eligibility requirements. Previously, this was set to 50, but now this cap goes up to 150, along with business development and DEI. “150 is easily fulfilled for most people,” revealed one source. They added that “I did hundreds on my own, on different cases!” Associates get to hear about pro bono opportunities through a newsletter email alert that goes out daily, and work is typically localised to the office that the associates work in.

Pro bono hours

  • For all US attorneys: 70,741
  • Average per US attorney: 90

Get Hired

The first stage: recruitment on and off campus  

Applicants interviewed 2023: 346 

Orrick recently transitioned to a national, business unit-based hiring model. That is, Orrick’s OCI interview schedules are national in nature (any student can interview for any office on any schedule), and students are asked in their interview which of Orrick’s six business units they prefer: Litigation, Corporate, IP, Energy & Infrastructure, Finance, and Strategic Advisory and Government Enforcement (SAGE). Orrick interviews at approximately 20 OCI programs and four career fairs and participates in resume collection drops. The firm seeks interviewers at multiple levels of seniority – from midlevel associates to partners - to offer unique perspectives during the OCI process. Attorneys typically conduct interviews one-on-one, but, in an effort to continuously innovate, Orrick has recently piloted partnered interviews and is assessing whether that configuration enhances the interviewing experience. A hiring source from the firm tells us: “We consider many factors when assessing an applicant's qualifications, including academics, journal membership, work experience and student activities."  

Top tips for this stage:  

“We encourage candidates to discuss their diverse backgrounds and interests, their interesting life experiences and perspectives that shape their world view. We’ve identified qualities our most successful lawyers have in common: grit, EQ, team play and innovation, and look for them when meeting with prospective attorneys.” Orrick hiring source.  


Callback candidates interview with up to five attorneys, who are again a mix of seniority. Orrick engages in “Super Callback Days,” where candidates interested in transactional or litigation practices meet on separate days with attorneys who practice in those respective areas. “Typically,” the firm tells us, “the local hiring partner or a representative designated by the local office hiring partner is involved in the interview process as well.” Things become slightly more forensic at this stage, with questions being “a bit more fine-tuned,” to establish a personal rapport and establish an individual’s career goals. In order to see “if they are a good fit for our team and practices,” the firm use this stage to explore one’s personal and professional interests. The firm note that callback interviews are “fairly standardized across all offices.”  

Top tips for this stage:  

“We encourage candidates to fine-tune and highlight their diverse backgrounds and interests, their interesting life experiences, and perspectives that shape their world view.”  Orrick hiring source.   

Summer program  

Offers 2023: 42  

2L summer associates are placed within the business unit they identified as their preferred business unit during the interview process. Within each business unit, however, there are a number of subpractices. Summer associates can work in various subpractices, and, in many cases, even take work from other business units if they so choose.  Each summer selects and receives assignments through a centralized assignment database. Workflow coordinators help manage this database and pair summer associates with work in their areas of interest. After finishing the program, “associates indicate their top practice group preferences. Nearly all new hires are placed in their first-choice practice group.” Summer associates are also encouraged to work on pro bono matters during the summer. 

Orrick also provides a mentorship program; each summer associate is paired with a partner mentor and associate mentor based on their business unit/subpractice interests and their office location. These mentors meet with their mentees weekly, organically and through planned events and activities. The program offers summer associates formal training through a variety of workshops, “touching on legal writing and research skills,” professional development, wellness, soft skills, and more. Bolstering integration efforts, summers collectively attend the Summer Academy in San Francisco for training and team building. The firm also engages in formalized mid- and end-of summer reviews, as well as “constructive feedback” on assignments.  

A wide variety of social events – from concerts to surfing, Disney World, MLB games, Broadway shows, and more – foster further integration. By asking summer associates to rank their practice group preferences at the end of the summer, the firm seeks to accommodate and allocate practice groups based on the groups’ needs, “as well as the summer associate’s exposure to practicing within the preferred group.” The firm tells us that “nearly all of our summer associates return as junior associates." 

Top tips for this stage:  

“Summer associate candidates should take this opportunity to get to know as many people as they can within the practices they are interested in and the specific office they are located in. They should take advantage of opportunities to shadow our attorneys, attend client meetings, participate in events, and all of the targeted trainings we hold.”– Orrick hiring source.  

And finally…  

Across the entire process, Orrick identifies four sought-after qualities from candidates: “Grit (perseverance and passion for your long-term goals); EQ (the other kind of smarts, such as empathy and relationships); Team Play (motivated by opportunities to collaborate on complex problems); and Innovation (inspired by driving change and making improvements in the way things are done).”  

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

51 West 52nd Street,
New York,
Website www.orrick.com

Main areas of work

 Corporate, Litigation, Finance, Energy & Infrastructure, Intellectual Property and Strategic Advisory & Government Enforcement.

Firm profile

 Orrick focuses on serving the Technology & Innovation, Energy Transition & Infrastructure Modernization and the Finance and Fintech sectors globally. Clients worldwide call on our teams for forward-looking commercial advice on transactions, litigation and compliance matters. We bring distinctive quality, teamwork and value to the table – and innovate in everything we do.


Law schools attending for OCIs in 2024:
• Boston College Law School
• BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School
• Columbia Law School
• Duke University School of Law
• Georgetown University Law Center
• Harvard Law School
• Howard University School of Law
• Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
• NYU Law
• Stanford Law School
• UC Berkeley Law
• UC Law San Francisco
• UCLA School of Law
• University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
• University of North Carolina School of Law
• University of Chicago Law School
• USC Gould School of Law
• University of Texas at Austin School of Law
• University of Virginia School of Law
• University of Washington School of Law

Recruitment outside OCIs:
Candidates interested in our 2025 Summer Program can apply directly to Orrick through our Careers Page at Orrick.com. For the 20th year, Orrick will host the Bay Area Diversity Career Fair, in partnership with the Bar Association of San Francisco. Orrick will also participate in the Loyola Patent Law Interview Program and Lavender Law Career Fair. Orrick will also participate in resume collects at several law schools.

Summer associate profile:
We seek candidates who have diverse backgrounds and interests, and who bring interesting life experiences and perspectives that shape their world view. We’ve identified qualities our most successful lawyers have in common: grit, EQ, teamplay and innovation. We believe in having fun, while working hard on projects that make a tangible impact on the world, locally and globally. 

Summer program components:
Our 10-week hybrid summer program enables summer associates to experience being part of Team Orrick. Summer associates work on substantive legal matters from across the country, while participating in local and national events to get to know our team and each other. Our program offers interesting legal work, client connections, a national in-person Summer Academy in San Francisco and live and virtual teambuilding events, as well as mindfulness classes.

Social media

Recruitment website: www.orrick.com/careers
Twitter: @Orrick, @MitchZuklie, @OrrickTech
Facebook: @Orrick

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2023

Ranked Departments

    • Banking & Finance (Band 3)
    • Capital Markets: Debt & Equity (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent Litigation (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Litigation: Securities (Band 3)
    • Public Finance (Band 1)
    • Technology: Transactions (Band 2)
    • Venture Capital (Band 2)
    • Real Estate (Band 1)
    • Tax (Band 4)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 4)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property: Litigation (Band 4)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Litigation: Securities (Band 2)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
    • Public Finance (Band 1)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 5)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent (Band 5)
    • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 4)
    • Labor & Employment: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 3)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations: The Elite (Band 5)
    • Tax (Band 5)
    • Technology (Band 4)
    • Appellate Law (Band 2)
    • Capital Markets: Securitization: ABS (Band 2)
    • Capital Markets: Securitization: CLOs (Band 3)
    • Capital Markets: Securitization: CMBS (Band 1)
    • Capital Markets: Securitization: PACE (Band 1)
    • Capital Markets: Securitization: RMBS (Band 2)
    • Corporate Crime & Investigations: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 4)
    • Energy Transition (Band 1)
    • Energy: Electricity (Regulatory & Litigation) (Band 5)
    • Energy: Electricity (Transactional) (Band 4)
    • Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation) (Band 5)
    • Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional) (Band 4)
    • FCPA (Band 5)
    • Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Compliance) (Band 1)
    • Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Enforcement & Investigations) (Band 2)
    • Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Litigation) (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property: Appellate (Band 1)
    • International Trade: CFIUS Experts (Band 4)
    • International Trade: Export Controls & Economic Sanctions: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • International Trade: Intellectual Property (Section 337) (Band 4)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 2)
    • Native American Law: Finance (Band 1)
    • Privacy & Data Security: Litigation (Band 1)
    • Privacy & Data Security: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Product Liability & Mass Torts: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Projects: Power (Band 3)
    • Projects: Power & Renewables: Transactional (Band 1)
    • Projects: PPP (Band 1)
    • Projects: Renewables & Alternative Energy (Band 1)
    • Public Finance (Band 1)
    • Startups & Emerging Companies (Band 2)
    • Technology (Band 4)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 1)

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