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Eric Sutcliffe, the last surviving name partner of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, died Thursday at his home in Oakland. He was 94. “He was a lawyer’s lawyer,” said Orrick, Herrington partner Cameron Wolfe Jr. “He understood, with a wonderful legal mind, how to approach any legal project or issue. At the same time, he was a tremendously effective leader of our firm.” Sutcliffe joined Orrick in 1932 upon graduating from Boalt Hall School of Law. In the early 1960s, he became a name partner — joining William Orrick and George Herrington. Sutcliffe became managing partner of the firm in 1947 and held the post for 30 years. He retired in 1985, but continued to work out of his fifth floor office until a few years ago. Under his tutelage, Orrick grew from a San Francisco-based firm to one with a regional and national presence. “I can’t think of anyone who was more revered by his clients and the lawyers he managed,” Wolfe said. A corporate lawyer who specialized in corporate securities, Sutcliffe represented many of the top companies in San Francisco, including Transamerica Corp., Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. He oversaw the merger of the city’s two big paper companies, Crown and Zellerbach. The merged company, Crown Zellerbach, was later taken over by a British financier. But perhaps Sutcliffe’s most memorable assignment was as an associate working on PG&E’s registration statement. Sutcliffe recently confirmed office lore that it was one of the very first — if not the first — such statements filed under the Securities Act of 1933. To make sure the document was filed correctly, Sutcliffe took a train to Washington, D.C., to hand deliver the statement to William O. Douglas, then head of the Federal Trade Commission and later a Supreme Court justice. The FTC oversaw the filings prior to creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Sutcliffe’s partners say his three decades at the helm of Orrick set the tone for future firm leaders. Orrick Chairman Ralph Baxter Jr. remembers the day Sutcliffe welcomed him and others in his class to the firm’s partnership. “He said things to all of us that made a lasting impression on me,” Baxter said. “I think of Eric every year when I get ready to talk to the partners. I feel I am back in that moment and try to do as well.” Baxter said Sutcliffe instilled in new partners the understanding that they had taken on new responsibilities, that their actions were now even more reflective of the firm. Wolfe said Sutcliffe was also responsible for hiring the first female attorney at the firm, Maryellen Cattani, who went on to become general counsel of Transamerica. “He was strongly supportive of bringing women into the firm at a time when it was only starting to be fashionable,” Wolfe said. Sutcliffe is survived by his wife, Marie, children Victoria Engel, Marcia Gabie and Thomas Sutcliffe, stepchildren Patience Svendsen and Heather Paige, as well as many grandchildren and great-grand�children. A memorial service will be 11 a.m. Monday at St. Clement’s Episcopal Church, 2837 Claremont Blvd., in Berkeley. Memorial donations may be sent to Sutter VNA & Hospice in Emeryville or a favorite charity.

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