(Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe capitalized on a recent merger between two competitors to land new talent, hiring a new tech practice leader this week in its Silicon Valley office.
Orrick announced Friday that Glynna Christian, the former co-head of the global technology and digital transactions practice at Kaye Scholer, is joining the firm to co-lead its global technology transactions practice. Kaye Scholer merged with Arnold & Porter this month, creating a client conflict for Christian, she said.
Christian helps technology companies launch new digital and mobile products and buy, sell or outsource technology platforms. Last year, for example, she advised the company Link AKC when it launched a “smart collar” for dogs that allows owners to track their pets using a GPS and monitor how much exercise they’re getting, much like a Fitbit.
As someone who works closely with technology companies, Christian said she’s interested in how lawyers can use new products to deliver legal services more efficiently. She said she was drawn to Orrick because the firm seemed serious about experimenting with technology internally.
“I like having my practice be a test-bed for how we could use more innovative technology,” Christian said. “A lot of firms aren’t really thinking about this.”
Among the technology tools Christian said she would like to incorporate in her practice are predictive negotiating tactics, which analyze what positions dealmakers are more likely to favor or accept, and smart contracts, which can be used for routine commercial agreements.
Christian’s move to Orrick comes less than a month after her former firm finalized its merger with Arnold & Porter, creating a new 1,000-lawyer megafirm, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer. The $1 billion merger created a firm with 13 offices, though about half the firm’s lawyers are based in New York and Washington, D.C.
Christian said she probably could have resolved the conflict that the merger created with one of her clients, but when she was approached by an Orrick recruiter it was an irresistible opportunity. (She did not identify the client.)
Christian added that she thinks her former firm’s merger with Arnold & Porter will be good for both firms. An Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
Christian has been through a number of law firm mergers in the past. In 2005, she left Thelen Reid & Priest for LeBoeuf Lamb, before it joined with Dewey Ballantine to form the ill-fated Dewey & LeBoeuf. In 2009 she joined Winston & Strawn, and then jumped to Squire Sanders in 2012. After that firm merged with Patton Boggs in 2014, Christian joined Kaye Scholer.
She said her past firms didn’t have the kind of technology focus that Orrick does. In 2015, the firm hired corporate and technology partner Mike Sullivan from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in San Francisco.
In recent months, Orrick hired Olswang’s Paris managing partner and corporate head Guillaume Kessler and two private equity partners from the troubled King & Wood Mallesons in London and Germany. The firm lost nine partners in Hong Kong to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius this month.
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