At a time when lawyers starting their careers often must cope with crushing law school debt, Orrick is the first major law firm to offer new associates student loan repayment assistance. The firm announced its new program today in collaboration with SoFi, the lending and wealth management innovator.
Beginning in September, the firm will help all U.S. first-year associates pay down student loans more quickly by supplementing the firm’s loan refinancing program offered through SoFi. Through that program, Orrick team members are already saving an estimated $2 million in total. The new program lifts the law school loan burden further by making a $100 monthly firm contribution toward the principal on loans until associates become eligible to receive their first bonus payment – typically after about 16 months with the firm.
The New York Times has already touted the Orrick program, describing it as "as step beyond what some firms do now in helping their junior lawyers refinance with lower-interest loans."
"It is clear that we are competing for talent not only with other leading law firms but also great corporate legal departments and outstanding companies," said Orrick Chairman Mitch Zuklie. "Law firms must innovate in order to continue to attract and inspire the next generation of top talent, and our program with SoFi is an example of our commitment to doing so."
"In talking with associates about ways we could better support them, law school debt was one theme that came up repeatedly," said Orrick Chief Talent Officer Siobhan Handley. "The opportunity to make a direct impact through this program, and to be an industry leader, was a no brainer."
Orrick has a growing reputation for the strength of its firm culture. Fortune recently named Orrick the only law firm on its 2016 list of 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials. The Vault associate survey released earlier this week ranked the firm 3rd nationwide in the best law firm to work for category, as well as the 3rd best summer program. And last year, Orrick took the lead in adopting the most generous parental leave program among large law firms, coupled with robust flexible work arrangement options.