Orrick, Buckley Combine To Form Financial Services & Fintech Law Powerhouse

4 minute read | January.19.2023

  • Orrick and Buckley jointly announced the strategic combination, which responds to growing demand from the most innovative companies and financial institutions for forward-looking regulatory and enforcement advice.
  • It also responds to demand from fintech innovators, tech companies and their financial sponsors for holistic solutions to opportunities and risks created by the convergence of finance and technology.
  • It adds a top-notch, inside-the-Beltway white collar team and eight first-chair trial lawyers to the Orrick financial services litigation platform.
  • It combines two firms well known for sector focus, innovative service delivery and best place to work cultures.
  • Orrick will also launch a new business unit – Strategic Advisory & Government Enforcement (SAGE).
  • The transaction is expected to close by the end of January, subject to conflict clearance and partnership approval.

“Our finance and tech clients are innovating in an environment of increasing regulatory and enforcement uncertainty – it’s one of their primary business risks. As these sectors converge, the combined firm will offer valuable regulatory and sector insight to these innovators and their investors who need to see around regulatory corners in pursuing their strategies,” said Orrick Chair Mitch Zuklie. “This kind of forward-looking advice is key to Orrick’s strategy – and we are extraordinarily fortunate to add the Buckley talent and strengthen our culture with the collaborative, innovative, entrepreneurial DNA of the Buckley team.”

The combined firm will act for most of the leading consumer banks, more than 700 fintech market participants, leading funds, 4,000+ emerging companies and 10 of the Fortune 20 tech companies.

“It’s a watershed moment as the consumer finance and technology markets converge. This transformation creates a host of novel and precedent-setting regulatory, transactional and litigation risks and opportunities for our clients – and by joining forces with Orrick, we will be able to partner closely with our clients on top-quality, holistic solutions,” said Buckley Co-Managing Partner Clint Rockwell.

“Buckley was founded on a vision of thinking differently about both our clients’ business opportunities and challenges, as well as the practice of law – and in Orrick, we have an extraordinary partner in taking that vision forward,” said Buckley Co-Managing Partner Chris Witeck.

The Buckley team brings to Orrick practices described by Chambers & Partners as “the best at what they do in the country” – including Band 1-ranked teams in Consumer Finance Compliance, Consumer Finance Litigation and Consumer Finance Enforcement & Investigations. It adds first-chair litigators with a powerful record in white collar, investigations and class action matters, as well as regulatory and transactional advisors.

This talent will augment an Orrick platform that is top 3 globally for venture capital (PitchBook), top 10 in ABS and MBS (Asset-Backed Alert), No. 2 for American Lawyer Litigator of the Week wins in 2022, Chambers Band 1 nationwide for data and privacy, and was recently named by Law360 as the 2022 Fintech and Banking Groups of the Year.

Launch of SAGE Unit

Concurrent with the combination, Orrick is launching a new business unit – Strategic Advisory & Government Enforcement (SAGE) – to focus on providing synthesized regulatory and commercial solutions that integrate deep sector knowledge. As one of the firm’s six global business units, SAGE brings together 270 lawyers dedicated to delivering coordinated advice, drawing on financial & fintech (regulatory, enforcement, transactional), white collar, privacy & cybersecurity, competition, public policy, trade and technology transactions perspectives.

“Clients increasingly tell us that synthesizing these perspectives into an integrated, market-focused one, and embedding that holistic expertise in our transactional and litigation work, is what enables the Orrick team to deliver distinctive value. By organizing this market-leading expertise and skillsets in one team, and simultaneously augmenting them with the extraordinary talent we are adding from Buckley, we are turbocharging our existing service offering into one that is unrivaled and unmatched in the market,” said Matthew Gemello, head of Orrick’s global Corporate practice. 

Moving Forward Together

The combined firm will have 180 lawyers, including 75 partners, in Washington, D.C., while growing Orrick’s teams in New York, Santa Monica and San Francisco, and adding a new office for Orrick in Chicago (it adds about 100 lawyers in total to Orrick). It brings together two cultures that have been named Best Places to Work by Fortune (Orrick, No. 13 in the firm’s seventh year on the list) and The Washington Post (Buckley, eight consecutive years).

It also adds a powerful set of SaaS / RegTech solutions to Orrick’s innovation platform, which was named as a top 3 most innovative law firm in the United States by Financial Times for each of the past seven years. These solutions include:

  • Winnow, a tailor-made survey engine that empowers financial services companies, banks and funds to identify, track and update requirements applicable to their unique products and licensing posture in real time, and
  • APPROVED, which solves for license acquisition, maintenance and exams for a wide variety of financial services companies, fintechs and funds, all powered by a bespoke technology platform.