By Casey Sullivan
Oct 30 (Reuters) - The San Francisco law firm Orrick,
Herrington & Sutcliffe announced Tuesday that it had selected
Silicon Valley partner Mitchell Zuklie, 43, to succeed the
firm's longtime chairman, Ralph Baxter.
Zuklie, the head of the firm's corporate business unit,
specializes in advising technology start-ups and has worked with
companies such as eHarmony, Zoom Systems and Upstart. He will
take over as chairman in January 2014, after Baxter has
transitioned him into the role over the course of 15 months.
Baxter, 65, has served as chairman for 22 years and has
overseen the expansion of Orrick from a 300-lawyer San Francisco
firm that specialized in municipal bond work into a diversified
international operation with 1,100 lawyers.
Baxter helped start a law firm trend in 2002 when he opened
administrative offices in Wheeling, West Virginia, where wages
and living costs were much lower than San Francisco and New
York. Dozens of other firms attempting to save on accounting,
word processing and similar work have followed suit.
In an interview, Baxter said he hasn't made up his mind
about what he will do next, but said he has considered seeking a
role in public service.
Other candidates considered for the position of chairman
included James Stengel, a New York mass torts and product
liability lawyer, Alan Benjamin, a Los Angeles banking and debt
lawyer, and Walt Brown, a San Francisco white collar lawyer,
Baxter said. The American Lawyer first reported the news earlier
None of the candidates were immediately available for
While Baxter gave up his role at Orrick as a practicing
attorney when chosen to lead the firm, Zuklie will continue to
work as a corporate lawyer, according to a firm spokesman.
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