Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP (Europe)

The Scoop

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has been known for corporate and public finance work since its early days in California more than a century ago. Strong corporate and restructuring practices, top-calibre intellectual property and litigation departments, and world-class capabilities in structured, public and project finance helped the firm weather the dot-com and credit-crunch storms that greeted the turn of the 21st century. Since 1995, the firm has opened 13 offices, exporting the Orrick brand far beyond the Golden State. The London outlet was opened in 1998, fielding lawyers qualified in both English and US law.

Golden days of yore

Since its beginnings in 1885, Orrick has played a key role in Northern California finance. Founder John Jarboe was among the early settlers aiding San Francisco's transition from campsite to commercial centre. The firm helped incorporate the companies that eventually became the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and its role in the construction of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, completed in 1937, engendered a bond practice that remains one of the nation's best. For the past 50-odd years, Orrick has served as lead bond counsel to the state of California.

Overseas rush

For nearly 100 years, the firm remained in San Francisco. But in 1983, the firm opened an office in the state capital of Sacramento-its first venture beyond San Francisco. Additional US locations in New York and Los Angeles followed, and in the 1990s, Orrick added outlets in Washington DC and Silicon Valley. The firm established its first overseas office in Tokyo in 1997. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the firm targeted the Pacific Northwest and Europe, opening offices in Seattle, Portland, London, Paris, Milan, Rome and Moscow.

A 2006 merger with French firm Rambaud Martel added 100 attorneys to Orrick's Paris office. A few years later, the firm gained three German locations through a merger with Hölters & Elsing. In 2011, a fourth German office, focused on serving the technology industry, was added in Munich. In recent years, Orrick has also expanded in Asia with the debut of locations in Hong Kong, Taipei, Beijing and Shanghai. At the end of 2010, the firm established an alliance with LVN & Associates, a Hanoi law firm run by the firm's former Hong Kong managing associate.

Success in the City

Orrick's London office, which opened in 1998 as the firm's first European outpost, had doubled in size by 2005, though remains relatively small for the City market. By 2008, even as the firm underwent the first layoffs in its 125-year history, the office was outperforming the firm as a whole in terms of rate of growth in revenue. And 2009 ushered in even stronger results, with the London office reporting a revenue increase of 18 per cent. That year, the firm also moved to new offices in Cheapside. With expertise in corporate, finance, public finance, real estate, competition, employment and litigation, the firm's London lawyers work on cross-border transactions and projects in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

Recent News

Time for a holiday

Big news in European travel: in early 2011, Orrick advised British adventure travel company Holidaybreak plc in its purchase of a 50 per cent stake in Berlin-based Meininger Group. Holidaybreak specialises in educational and adventure travel, while Meininger operates hotels and hostels in England, Austria and Germany. Holidaybreak-which has annual sales of over £473 million-also acquired future purchase options for the remainder of Meininger.

Court likes Facebook

In litigation that picked up where the film "The Social Network" left off, a federal appeals court in California ruled in favour of Orrick client Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg in the dispute with the Winklevoss twins over ownership of the social networking site. In 2008, the twins received $20 million in cash and $45 million in Facebook stock in exchange for dropping their lawsuit against Zuckerberg but later tried to back out of the settlement, claiming they'd been misled about the valuation of Facebook. But in April 2011, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court ruling (also argued by Orrick) that the settlement agreement was valid and enforceable.

Getting busy with the fizzy

Gourmet gearheads are familiar with SodaStream, the company whose compact carbonation systems make it possible for anyone to whip up a glass of fizz at home. Orrick represented the trendy company in its Nasdaq initial public offering in November 2010, which reaped proceeds of over $98 million (after discounts to underwriters JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank).

Striking gold with aluminium

China Hongqiao, based in Shandong Province, is one of China's largest aluminium manufacturers. When it launched an $822 million IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in March 2011, it turned to Orrick for expert counsel. JP Morgan Securities was also involved as sole sponsor and global coordinator of the offering, which kicked off with $350 million in commitments from four major investors.

Hong Kong-bound

In 2010, London corporate lawyers teamed with colleagues in Hong Kong to advise ICBC International Capital Limited and Deutsche Bank AG's Hong Kong Branch as joint sponsors in West China Cement Limited's $179 million IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. With this transaction, WCC became the first Chinese issuer to transfer its listing from London to Hong Kong. The deal won the firm a spot as a finalist for "Equity Deal of the Year" from International Financial Law Review in its 2011 Asia Awards.

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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP (Europe)

107 Cheapside
London EC2V 6DN
Phone: +44 (0)20 7862 4600


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairman & CEO: Ralph H. Baxter Jr.
  • Total No. Attorneys 2012: 1,100

Major Office Locations

  • Shanghai, China
  • Beijing, China
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Silicon Valley, CA
  • Orange County, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • New York, NY
  • Portland, OR
  • Seattle, WA
  • Moscow, Russia
  • Taipei, Taiwan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Paris, France
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • Dusseldorf, Germany
  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Milan, Italy
  • Rome, Italy
  • Tokyo, Japan
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