Orrick and Swidler to tie the knot in summer

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe’s merger with Washington DC’s Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman is racing to conclusion, with a partnership vote expected before the summer.

It is understood that the two firms’ management teams have agreed on all major terms of the merger, including who will lead the merged firms as well as practice and geographical groups.

As part of the terms, the two firms have also agreed on remuneration. Sources say both Orrick and Swidler have similar meritocratic pay systems.

The finalised profit distribution will see Swidler slot into Orrick’s ‘sticky lockstep’ scheme.

While merit-based, the West Coast firm’s system spans 12 steps, with partners starting on the twelfth mixed fixed and merit-based rung. From the eighth step upwards, income is purely merit-based.

Average profits per partner (PPP) at both firms are similar. For the last financial year, Orrick reported PPP of $945,000 (£533,500), while Swidler’s average income was $940,000 (£530,600).

The merger of the two firms is believed to represent a good fit, especially in areas such as government regulatory, where Swidler has a leading practice and where Orrick is keen to build within its 50-lawyer DC office.