Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘I wanted to work for an American firm’; ‘I was a paralegal at the firm before I secured my training contract and saw how the firm mentored its trainees and gave them the tools to succeed’; ‘there’s a good selection of big deals to get stuck into and smaller deals to take the lead on’; ‘interesting sector focus’

Best thing about the firm? ‘You are treated with respect by the senior lawyers who are keen for you to learn both with their guidance as well as through your own experience’; ‘the emphasis on team work’; ‘the people you get to work with’; ‘we’re not too big or too small’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The sandwiches at lunchtime meetings’; ‘the workload can be patchy and you can end up with very quiet periods’; ‘the hours occasionally; ‘few social activities’; ‘the seat allocation process isn’t so transparent’

Best moment? ‘Taking on significant responsibility in an M&A deal’; ‘noticing an unusual clause we needed to amend that the senior associate had not picked up on’; ‘getting to know and be friends with the other trainees’; ‘seeing myself improve and develop various legal skills’

Worst moment? ‘Sometimes the hours can be brutal in certain departments’; ‘realising that I had thrown away a stock transfer form before sending it off to be stamped’; ‘feeling stressed’

The Lex 100 verdict on Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

The firm: “Orrick is a global law firm with 25 offices located throughout North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. We focus on three sectors: technology, energy and infrastructure and finance. We aim to be a best place to work and we are always adapting to the ever-increasing pace of innovation. Fortune named us 15th on its 2019 list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. Orrick has earned a global reputation advising both established and emerging companies, banks and international financial institutions.”

The clients: Atomico; BNP Paribas; Bioenergy infrastructure Group; EY; Graphcore; Microsoft; NextEnergy; Ocean Rig; Revolut; Tractable.

The star performers:
(Top-ranking departments according to The Legal 500 – see for more details) Commercial property: corporate occupiers; Commercial litigation; Commodities: derivatives; Corporate restructuring and insolvency; Data protection privacy and cybersecurity; Employment: employers and senior executives; EU and competition; Fintech; International arbitration; M&A: lower mid-market deals, £50m-£250m; Oil and gas; Power (including electricity and renewables); Professional discipline; Social housing: local authorities and registered providers

The verdict

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe offers ‘high-quality work within a small trainee intake’. The firm’s ‘transactional focus’ as well as ‘the six-seat system’ attracted new recruits. In addition, one paralegal was motivated to apply after experiencing how ‘friendly and non-hierarchical’ Orrick was, particularly admiring the ‘openness’. Some feel that ‘the hours are not as bad as some other US and Magic Circle firms’ but that, due to the firm’s size, ‘training is less frequent’. Despite this, recruits say that they have a good work/life balance and there is a ‘decent amount of responsibility and the opportunity to tackle more difficult work’. Moreover, one respondent complimented the small cohort: ‘the size of the office in London means you get to know most people at the firm’ whilst benefitting from ‘still feeling part of a much larger international firm’. Applicants were also impressed by Orrick’s ‘leading position in the tech industry’ and welcomed the many pro bono opportunities which are ‘held in high esteem’, with projects including ‘assisting Mencap or Department for Work and Pensions appeals’. Less welcoming was ‘the lack of budget for social events’ and ‘the allocation of seats is a little opaque’. ‘Working very late hours’ and ‘proof reading due diligence reports into the early hours’ were difficult for newbies, but the hard work certainly pays off; ‘getting to go to Barcelona for two days in order to assist a senior associate closing a corporate deal’ was a memorable highlight for one trainee. If you want to get stuck into working on deals in interesting sectors straight away, consider Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

A day in the life of… Abdul Khan, third-seat trainee, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

Abdul Khan, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Departments to date: Energy and infrastructure, corporate and real estate

University: Cambridge Peterhouse

Degree: Law, 2(1)

8.15am: I meet a client for a celebratory breakfast at The Ned’s Roof Bar. My supervisor and I were part of the Orrick team that assisted the company in raising $20m as part of its seed financing round.

9.30am: I look at my emails to see if anything has come in since my commute. I make a note of anything I personally need to reply to and/or action. I communicate any meaningful updates on the deals I am working on to the relevant associates. Trainees work on many venture financing rounds, all at various stages of the deal cycle, at a time.

10.00am: One of the partners asks me to draft a set of documents for his client who is seeking to raise additional investment. In this case, it would require drafting board resolutions, the investor majority consent, subscription deeds and the deeds of adherence in respect of the existing shareholder agreement. The partner tells me to have the documents ready by the end of the day as the client is hoping to close the follow-on investment quickly.

12.45pm: I head out to have lunch with my trainee friends. One of the key reasons why I joined Orrick is because of the relatively small intake. Not only does it mean that I am able to take on serious levels of responsibility from an early stage, but it crucially helps to foster meaningful relationships with my peers.

1.15pm: An associate I am working with on an M&A deal asks me to send out documents which I had drafted yesterday. I update the documents list after sending this out. The list details the status of all the principal documents, ancillaries and completion deliverables required for the transaction.

2.30pm: Another associate asks if I am able to assist him with preparing execution versions of documents and send them out for electronic signature. I communicate that I am happy to but that I also have to finalise draft documents for a partner today. Given that the associate’s documents are not yet agreed, I proceed to finalise my draft documents for the partner’s review. In the time it takes me to do so, the associate finalises documents on his deal and sends them to me to prepare execution versions for all the relevant signatories.

4.30pm: The partner I am working for reviews my draft documents and makes small changes to one of them, explaining his reasoning. Orrick is not as hierarchical as other firms and trainees benefit from being able to openly engage with partners on a regular basis. I go back to my desk and implement the changes before sending the documents to the client for her review and approval.

5.30pm: I speak to our company secretarial team and inform them of the deals we have closed and filings that need to be made at Companies House. I send them the requisite documents, including updated share class rights where relevant. I diarise dates in my Outlook to check Companies House to ensure the filings have been processed.

6.00pm: Orrick actively facilitates pro bono work for associates and trainees to be involved in. I have been fortunate enough to work on engaging and important pro bono matters, ranging from writing memos detailing breaches of international law to assisting persons facing deportation who apply for exceptional case funding to properly represent themselves.

7.00pm: I review the status of all deals I am working on and provide any necessary updates to clients. I accordingly revise my to-do list so I know what is to be looked at when I get into work tomorrow morning.

7.30pm: Orrick is a collegiate and socially active firm. The junior associates have organised a drinks event at a bar and have invited trainees to attend.

About the firm

Chairman: Mitchell Zuklie

London managing partner: Simon Willis

Other offices: Austin, Beijing, Boston, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Geneva, Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Milan, Munich, New York, Orange County, Paris, Portland, Rome, Sacramento, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Seattle, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, Taipei, Tokyo, Washington DC, Wheeling WV

Who we are: Orrick is a global law firm with 25 offices located throughout North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. We focus on three secotrs: technology, energy, and infrastructure and finance. We aim to be a best place to work and are always adapting to the ever-increasing pace of innovation. Fortune named us 15th on its 2019 list The Best Companies to Work For.

What we do: Orrick has earned a global reputation advising both established and emerging companies, banks and international financial institutions. Clients include the most disruptive technology companies, 20% of US unicorns, ten of the world’s 25 largest public tech companies, seven of the top 15 energy companies globally, 14 of the top 20 global financial institutions, two of the three most successful fintech companies, funds and government entities. We were named a 2019 Technology Group of the Year by Law360 and rank third for global venture capital (PitchBook). Chambers ranks us Band 1 for both renewable energy and infrastructure.

What we’re looking for: If you set your standards high and have a strong work ethic, then Orrick could be for you. We are looking for bright, talented graduates of any discipline who are looking for a firm offering a broad-based training contract. Applicants should have a least three A-level passes at grades A and B, and a 2(1) degree.

Perks: Bonus scheme, gym membership/subsidy, life assurance, pension scheme with company contributions, private healthcare, season ticket loan, dental plan.

Sponsorship: We will provide sponsorship for your GDL and LPC, and also an £8,000 maintenance grant for the GDL and £9,500 for the LPC.