Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has hired a trio of corporate partners by recruiting from rival Big Law firms Kirkland & Ellis, Cooley, and Cravath, Swaine & Moore.
Private equity-focused Leah Recht joins in San Francisco from Kirkland, where she made partner in 2015. Edward Dyson, a London-based capital markets partner, heads to Orrick from Cooley. And New York-based capital markets partner Mark Mushkin is making the jump from Cravath, where he was a senior attorney.
The hires are focused on building young, rising talent in the firm’s M&A and capital markets practices, Orrick said in a statement. And they come on the heels of a year that saw record levels of activity in capital markets practices, which Matthew Gemello, leader of Orrick’s corporate practice, said helped lead to a “very good” year for the firm.
“Our corporate practice performed incredibly well and there’s a tremendous amount of demand from clients,” Gemello said in an interview. He added, “We’ve got over 3,500 clients in our emerging company portfolio, they are all going through significant capital raising and transactions.”
Orrick has active practices in mid-market and private equity transactions, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The firm in 2020 handled 112 deals valued up to $50 million and 77 private equity deals valued to $500 million, good for 15th and 13th most, respectively, among all law firms, Bloomberg-compiled data show.
Orrick advised electric vehicle maker Fisker Automotive in its merger with Spartan Energy Acquisition Corp., a SPAC sponsored by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management. In another SPAC merger, Orrick advised Luminar Technologies, Inc., which makes technology for self-driving cars. The firm also advised Clover Health in a SPAC deal. All three companies were valued near or above $3 billion when they went public through those transactions.
The emergence of special purpose acquisition vehicles, or SPACs, has added to the options for exit strategies available to Orrick’s young, tech company clients, Gemello said. He noted the firm represented six companies in the second half of last year that were acquired by a “blank check” company in what is known as a “de-SPAC transaction.”
“We all saw differing levels of activity in that March time frame last year and then it just sprung back in full force,” he said, referring to the onset of the pandemic. “And our teams and clients have been incredibly busy ever since.”