Orrick names Zuklie to replace Baxter as chair

Long-standing Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe chairman Ralph Baxter is stepping down at the end of next year, to be replaced by corporate business head Mitchell Zuklie.

Ralph Baxter
Ralph Baxter

Zuklie has been selected as Baxter’s replacement by the firm’s nominating committee after an 18-month process. The committee sought opinions from all of Orrick’s partners before naming Zuklie as chair-elect.

“Our choice of Mitch Zuklie was the result of careful deliberation and a collaborative approach that we’re confident not only reaffirmed our core values, but also strengthened the firm throughout the process. We couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome,” the committee said in a statement.

Baxter was elected as Orrick’s chair in 1990 and has overseen significant growth at the firm, including new offices and several mergers. He will have served eight three-year terms at the firm’s helm since his original election when he finally steps down.

Silicon Valley partner Zuklie is currently head of Orrick’s corporate business unit. He advises entrepreneurs, technology companies and the venture capital community, focusing on clean technology and IT. He also sits on the firm’s board and management committee, and was a member of the global committee that reviewed Orrick’s strategy in 2011. Zuklie has also led the firm’s Silicon Valley office in the past.

Zuklie was one of a group of partners to join Orrick from now-defunct firm Heller Ehrman Venture Law Group in 2005 (7 March 2005).

He and Baxter will work together during the next year in a transition period. Zuklie’s nomination is subject to ratification by Orrick’s partnership.

“Mitch has a tremendous sense of the firm and is a superb lawyer as well as an insightful leader,” said Baxter in a statement.

Zuklie said he was “honoured and humbled” and that many partners at Orrick could have taken up the role.

“Orrick is distinctive in our cohesive culture and the mutual respect that permeates our firm, and I’m excited to build upon this tremendous foundation, working closely with our partners and clients around the world,” he added.