Financial Times Names Orrick North America’s Most Innovative Law Firm for Unprecedented 3rd Year in a Row

Financial Times

FT has named Orrick the Most Innovative Law Firm in North America and chosen Orrick’s Chief Innovation Officer Wendy Curtis – “a driving force behind much of the innovation at the firm” – as the Most Innovative Lawyer of the Year.  No other firm has won this award as many times or back-to-back.

Wendy joins past winners from Orrick, including John Bautista, Josh Rosenkranz and Mitch Zuklie.

FT recognized the firm for ten achievements, representative of all four ways we innovate: legal products, streamlined processes, technology adoption and tailored solutions.

Legal Products

Our team’s arguments revived Oracle’s precedent-setting $8 billion copyright infringement case against Google, securing a ruling that Google’s copying of Oracle’s Java technology was not protected by the “fair use” doctrine. Our team was led by Josh and included Peter Bicks, Annette Hurst, Lisa Simpson, Andrew Silverman, Mark Davies, Kelsi Corkran and Mel Bostwick. FT also recognized Oracle’s in-house team for their work on the copyright infringement litigation, which has now reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

We advised Harley Marine on a whole business securitization never before seen in the petroleum transportation industry that entailed the securitization of Harley’s hard and soft assets. Our multidisciplinary team was led by Leah Sanzari and included Thomas Mitchell, Sushila Nayak, Bill Haft, John Narducci, Emin Guseynov, Bob Lawrence and Rob Stern.

In the impact finance area, we worked with Mercy Corps to develop a first-of-a-kind structure, the Community Investment Trust, that enables low-income residents to participate in long-term financial savings by investing in commercial properties in their own neighborhoods. Our team was led by Mike Schrader and included Doug Goe and Christine Reynolds.

FT also cited our work to secure access to justice. 

  • In Dimaya, we persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a provision that, for decades, allowed the arbitrary deportation of thousands of immigrants, declaring it unconstitutionally vague. Our team was led by Josh and included Brian Goldman.
  • We persuaded a federal appeals court to overturn a Department of Veterans Affairs policy of denying benefits to veterans for pain-related disabilities incurred during military service. Referred to us by co-counsel at the National Veterans Legal Services Program, this was our second recent win in this area, helping to define veterans’ rights law. Our team was led by Mel and Eric Shumsky.

Streamlined Processes

Through BondPal, our Public Finance team is combining legal insight and technology to transform the way municipalities finance small projects. By streamlining the unnecessarily complex, we have enabled municipalities to finance green energy projects that would otherwise be cost prohibitive. Our team was led by Roger Davis and included Brandon Dias. 

Our win for Microsoft this year in gender discrimination litigation delivered outstanding results not only in the courtroom, but also in efficient staffing and project management. Over the course of this three-year litigation, Wendy worked closely with Lynne Hermle and Jessica Perry and our client to deploy a team of career associates, Orrick Analytics, CaseStream, client resources, LPOs and third-party consultants.

Using a combination of Orrick Analytics, project management and creative staffing, we collaborated with several major financial institutions to deliver novel solutions for business processes such as analyzing credit facility agreements, negotiating interest rate caps and conducting marketing compliance reviews. Our teams were led by Howard Altarescu, B.J. Rosen and Nik Mathews.

Technology Adoption

We are drawing on data from systems across our firm to staff and price matters effectively and identify market trends that impact our clients. Our solution integrates Foundation software, AI tools and process automation.

Tailored Solutions

Collaborating with Integra Ledger, we have helped inspire the conversation about the application of blockchain in law through the creation of the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium, which now has 160 members, and the Global Legal Blockchain Hackathon. Our team is led by Glynna Christian, John Bautista and Catherine Zinn.

Wendy Curtis

On Wendy, the FT editors noted: “Rarely have our panel of judges so quickly homed in on a top candidate for innovative individual.” They praised her for leading the firm in “understanding the diversity of roles [lawyer and non-lawyer] that make a team great” and “introducing many new technologies and delivery models that have transformed the way the firm operates and works with clients.” FT also cited clients who praise Wendy’s “fresh thinking, legal nuance and a practical understanding of the courts.”  

This result follows Orrick being honored last week with the American Lawyer’s first Legal Services Innovation Award.