No Merger Deal for Orrick

WHEELING – Officials with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe decided against merging with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman after a round of talks between the San Francisco law firms.

“Pillsbury has long been known to us as a firm with high caliber legal talent and a client-focused culture much like ours,” said Orrick Chairman Mitch Zuklie. “Large law firm combinations are always complex, and both our firms are disappointed that we could not clear the way for a merger.”

Orrick opened its Global Operations Center at the former home of Wheeling Stamping on Main Street in Center Wheeling in 2002. Today, hundreds of Ohio Valley residents work at the center.

“We mutually determined that we will not be able to proceed due to prospective client conflicts that we have not been able to resolve, notwithstanding each firm’s best efforts,” Orrick said in a company statement.

The companies reached this decision prior to executing a letter of intent or submitting the matter to either partnership for a vote.

“Orrick is a firm with a longstanding and well-deserved reputation for legal excellence,” said Pillsbury Chairman Jim Rishwain. “Throughout these discussions, our admiration for Orrick’s attorneys has only deepened.”

According to its website, Pillsbury has 15 offices in cities such as Abu Dhabi, Houston, San Diego, New York, Los Angeles, London and Tokyo.

As for Orrick, nearly 1,000 lawyers working under its banner depend on the Center Wheeling facility. The firm maintains offices in Rome, London, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Brussels, Moscow, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Beijing, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taipei.

Orrick Chairman Emeritus Ralph Baxter has said his company developed the idea to open such a center to consolidate its back-office operations in the late 1990s as a way to cut costs.

The Center Wheeling facility serves as home to Orrick’s network operations center, service desk, software applications support and web engineering. Finance functions located at the center include global taxation, general ledger, billing and collections and payroll.

Also, Baxter said Orrick works closely with document processing company Williams Lea, based in the former Stone & Thomas building in Wheeling.