Orrick’s Big-League Push

 
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The ingredients for building a marquee U.S. Supreme Court and appellate practice include a deep bench, diverse cases, high-profile clients and a presence in the nation's highest court. By that measure, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe is swiftly mastering the recipe. Over the past decade, many law firms tried to create first-rank Supreme Court and appellate practices. But without a long-range plan, many fell short. Orrick has a plan, and judging by its practice group's recent rapid growth, the last Supreme Court term and a number of important victories in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, its commitment is paying off.

"We are growing by leaps and bounds," said E. Joshua Rosenkranz, head of Orrick's Supreme Court and appellate practice.

Rosenkranz, who joined the firm five years ago, was commissioned from the start to build a marquee practice "the place where clients come when they simply have to win an appeal," he said.

A year ago, the practice consisted of two partners and three associates. Two other associates split their time between his group and another practice group. Today, there are four partners, including recent hires, Robert Loeb, former acting deputy director and special appellate counsel of the Civil Division appellate staff in the U.S. Department of Justice, and Eric Shumsky, formerly an appellate partner at Sidley Austin. Four additional associates were hired for the group and another four split their time with Rosenkranz's team.

The practice group includes three former Supreme Court clerks not counting Rosenkranz and two recent high court clerks, one for Justice Stephen Breyer and the other for Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who will join the group this fall. Mark Davies is the fourth partner; he left O'Melveny & Myers for Orrick three years ago. Richard Bierschbach of the Benjamin N. Cardoza School of Law is special counsel "who spends every discretionary hour he has doing our appellate work," Rosenkranz said.

"Since I went into private practice, every single major litigation firm has said it's going to create an appellate practice," he said. "But there are widely divergent approaches to what they're doing. On one extreme are the firms that seem to be creating appellate practices defensively because they see clients with major cases going up on appeal and the clients start asking, âÜDon't we need an appellate expert?' They want to point to that person in their firm. They tend to be smaller groups and don't have...

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