FT Names Orrick Most Innovative US Law Firm

Financial Times | December.06.2016

Financial Times has named Orrick North America’s most innovative law firm in its 2016 report, “North America Innovative Lawyers.” In addition, Orrick Chairman Mitch Zuklie is named to FT’s “10 Most Innovative Individuals” list.

The FT report commended Orrick’s innovative client work in the tech, infrastructure and finance sectors, including appellate, regulatory and transactional matters.  They include:

  • A Second Circuit win on behalf of Microsoft against the U.S. government in one of the most significant data privacy cases of the year. The case presented a novel question of the global reach of the Stored Communications Act when the Justice Department tried to enforce a warrant for a Microsoft customer’s emails stored on a server in Ireland.

  • A strategy to save the daily fantasy sports industry, which came under scrutiny by state regulators over the legality of the practice under existing gambling laws. With Orrick’s help, FanDuel and DraftKings avoided multi-year litigation and coordinated an innovative legislative campaign that culminated in the enactment of a bill that confirms that fantasy sports are legal under New York state law. Orrick public policy partner Jeremy Kudon is commended in the FT’s report for leading these efforts.

  • KentuckyWired, the first use of P3 techniques to deliver a high-speed, open access, middle-mile fiber optic network. Orrick’s tax, infrastructure and public finance teams developed an innovative financing structure for the telecommunications project that enabled tax-exempt governmental purpose bonds to finance the majority of the capital costs.

  • A strategy to improve the ratings and reduce the borrowing costs for California's school districts. Orrick led an effort to change the law by drafting California Senate Bill 222 which clarified for the first time in California that school districts should be rated based on property taxes rather than the overall financial condition of the district.

  • Helping the city of Richmond, California to issue social impact bonds to fund the acquisition and rehabilitation of dilapidated and vacant homes in the city for sale to first-time homebuyers.

  • A collaboration with Stripe to launch its innovative startup toolkit Atlas which enables founders around the world to more easily grow their businesses online and avoid the bureaucratic hurdles of setting up small businesses in the U.S.

  • A student loan repayment assistance program through which the firm makes a monthly contribution to ease the burden of student debt for our newest associates.

FT praised Mitch for leading a firm strategy that combines a focus on Orrick’s strengths in the tech, energy & infrastructure and finance sectors with an ambition to be the best law firm to work for. FT also cites the diversity of the firm’s leadership, its industry leading parental leave program and its 2% time initiative, through which Orrick partners are encouraged to develop 2% of their time each year to improving the firm or the profession. 

FT has recognized Orrick in every report on North American legal innovation since the inaugural report in 2010.