Orrick Pillsbury Fails to Take Off
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The news of a merger between Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in October had made headlines around the country and set the industry abuzz with talk of a new significant entity in the making. The new firm was to be named Orrick Pillsbury. However, news this week indicates that despite positive intentions of both the law firms, the merger cannot take place due to conflicts of interests involving major clients.

Reuters first covered the story in an exclusive.


Though the identities of the clients have not been disclosed, a statement from Pillsbury stated, “Orrick and Pillsbury have ended talks about a potential combination …”

Without mentioning any other reasons the statement read, “We mutually determined that we will not be able to proceed due to prospective client conflicts that we have not been able to resolve …”

In a joint interview by Orrick Chairman Mitch Zulkie and Pillsbury Chairman James Rishwain, Zulkie said, “We are disappointed that we are not able to bring this over the goal line.” Rishwain added, “Ultimately we could not come up with a workable solution.”

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If the merger had taken place, it would have created an entity within the 10 largest law firms in the country.

However, client conflicts or no, the spate of law firm mergers this year shows law firms gearing up for change, consolidating or strengthening practices, and acquiring new business by merging with other firms when the flow of new business is low.

It is not known whether either Orrick or Pillsbury would be merging with other law firms, but the possibility cannot be ruled out.

Before Pillsbury, Orrick had considered and had entered into merger talks with Akin Gump, Dewey Ballantine, Coudert Brothers, Venture Law Group and Swidler Berlin Shereff Fiedman.

At least with Dewey and Coudert, Orrick was able to narrowly escape disaster.



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