Fueled by the lateral hiring spree it invested in the prior year, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe saw its revenue grow 4.9 percent in 2017, to $974.6 million. Meanwhile, the firm’s net income jumped 11.5 percent last year, to $219.6 million.
Orrick also saw revenue per lawyer rise 5.1 percent, to $1.04 million. The firm’s average profit per equity partner increased by 10.9 percent, from $1.68 million in 2016 to $1.86 million last year.
“We increased the amount of technology, energy [infrastructure] and finance work we did overall,” said Orrick global chairman and CEO Mitchell Zuklie, noting that the Silicon Valley-based firm has sought to strategically focus its growth on those three industry sectors, rather than any specific geographic region or practice area.
As part of Orrick’s plan to bolster its expertise in those sectors, Zuklie said the firm opened an office in Houston in 2016 that predominantly focuses on energy and infrastructure work.
“2016 was a year of really profound growth,” Zuklie said. “We got good news in 2017, we saw that uptick and it paid off for us economically.”
In 2017, Orrick did see its head count remain mostly flat, at 940 lawyers. The size of its equity partnership rose by one partner, to 118. Compared with 2016, the firm was less active on the lateral hiring front, bringing on 13 new partners for its offices in California, Europe, Hong Kong, Texas and Washington, D.C.
Among some of Orrick’s new additions in Europe were former Reed Smith noncontentious financial services regulatory head Jacqui Hatfield in London, four lawyers from Clifford Chance in Paris, led by former local competition head Patrick Hubert, and another team of lawyers in Munich from King & Wood Mallesons, led by the latter’s ex-German corporate head Christoph Brenner.
Zuklie, who assumed leadership of Orrick five years ago from current congressional candidate Ralph Baxter Jr., added that the firm’s momentum has continued into 2018. Orrick opened another Texas office this month in Austin in a move that added more than 20 public finance lawyers from Andrews Kurth Kenyon. Earlier this year, Orrick absorbed 15 lawyers from litigation boutique Morvillo, bolstering its offices in New York and Washington, D.C. (The Morvillo team included seven partners, three counsel and five associates.)
“In general, we are bullish on the New York market, we found some great talents there,” Zuklie said. “So we are going to continue to grow in both New York and Northern California.”
As regulatory issues affecting large technology companies become more prevalent among its clients, Zuklie noted that Orrick is also looking into investing more in Washington, D.C. The firm’s U.S. Supreme Court and appellate practice is representing Microsoft Corp. in its landmark privacy case involving a challenge to the U.S. Department of Justice’s attempt to seize customer data stored in a foreign country.
“Data privacy and security, five years ago that wasn’t on the top of our clients’ minds,” Zuklie said. “I think every general counsel in the world is dealing with that now in a really profound way, so we are going to add to our team, no matter where we find those talented lawyers.”