Orrick gears up for European offensive

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe has formed a European advisory committee to examine its London and European expansion in the wake of the firm’s failed
merger talks with Dewey Ballantine earlier this year.

Orrick’s London office is likely to be the focal point of the new strategy. The City office currently features some 60 lawyers and turned over around £14m last year.

Orrick London head Martin Bartlam revealed that the firm would be targeting a broad range of practice areas for expansion, including corporate, finance, funds and restructuring.

Orrick has provisionally set its sights on an aggressive strategy of doubling its number of lawyers within 18 months. It has relocated director of recruitment Karen Massa from San Francisco to London to help with the new strategy. The detail on how Orrick will achieve its goal will not be confirmed until the autumn, when the committee reports.

“It would also be good to have additional real estate and real estate finance, although the practice is already reasonably large in London,” said Bartlam. “We’d also like arbitration to grow. We have good capability in Paris and New York, but in London it’s more traditional litigation.”

Orrick’s European growth strategy was derailed last year when it entered merger talks with Dewey Ballantine during the summer. The talks fell apart in January this year, prompting a reappraisal of the firm’s European business mix and market penetration.