THE ORRICK YEARS
Ralph served as Chairman & CEO of Orrick for nearly a quarter century, leading the firm as it expanded, diversified and extended its geographic reach, transforming from a domestic firm with California origins to become one of the world’s most prominent global law firms, with more than 1,100 lawyers in 25 offices across the United States, Europe and Asia.
Ralph launched several groundbreaking initiatives that modernized the way Orrick operated and served its clients, including establishing the legal industry’s first on-shore operations center in Wheeling, West Virginia in 2001, affirmatively embracing technology, and instituting non-traditional talent and pricing models, distinguishing the firm as a bold innovator.
The American Lawyer named Ralph one of the “Top 50 Big Law Innovators of the Last 50 Years.” In naming Ralph among the “Most Innovative Managing Partners,” Law360’s editors said Ralph “has left an indelible mark not only on [Orrick]… but also the larger practice by upending traditional career models, rejiggering payment structures and transforming the business of law in many other innovative ways.”
Recognized as one of America’s “100 Most Influential Lawyers” by The National Law Journal, Ralph has long been a frequent speaker on business leadership and the evolution of the legal profession. He is the founder of the Law Firm Leaders Forum, one of the most significant gatherings of law firm leaders that annually examines the critical issues facing the legal profession.
Before becoming Chairman and CEO, Ralph practiced employment law and led Orrick’s highly regarded Employment Law Department, which he founded as a second year associate. He was recognized as one of the “Nation’s Best Litigators in Employment Law” by The National Law Journal, acting as trusted advisor to Fortune 50 clients. During his years as a practicing lawyer, he lectured and wrote extensively on developments in the law, and testified on employment law issues before the California State Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.
2014 TO PRESENT
Since 2014, Ralph has engaged in a comprehensive set of activities in which he continues to influence the modernization of legal service. His work extends across the legal ecosystem: legal education, law firms, law departments, legal technology companies, public interest projects, and regulatory reform. He also devotes time to thought leadership, hosting a podcast, writing a blog, speaking at seminars and events. Ralph’s current and recent roles include:
Ralph received his J.D. from the University of Virginia, where he served as an editor of The Virginia Law Review; he received his M.A. in Education from the Catholic University of America; and he received his A.B. in History from Stanford University.
Prior to his career in the law, Ralph taught sixth grade at the Scott Montgomery Elementary School in Washington, D.C.
Harvard’s David Wilkins and Host Ralph Baxter examine why law firms struggle to hire, retain, and promote black lawyers and how they can do better.
Ralph Baxter hosts key players in Utah’s move to reshape the delivery of legal services, revealing the aha moment that sparked the movement.
Ralph Baxter hosts Hotshot co-founder Ian Nelson and Harvard’s Sara Dana and Morrison’s Rick Jenney to discuss how Hotshot’s videos teach practical skills lawyers need.
Host Ralph Baxter welcomes Gillian Hadfield to talk about reinventing law and how it can benefit the people.
Host Ralph Baxter welcomes Heidi Gardner to talk about why she chose her career researching collaboration and how collaboration has changed in response to COVID-19.
Ralph Baxter talks with Mitch Zuklie, CEO of Orrick, who gives his tips on how to manage and lead your firm during this pandemic.
Margaret Hagan talks about how design impacts the legal profession and her involvement with Stanford's Legal Design Lab.
Mary O’Carroll shares her experience serving in the legal operations role, the role’s growing importance to the legal industry, and the impacts she’s had at the tech giant Google.
Jason Barnwell, Peter Krakaur, and Basha Rubin discuss the obstacles to the creation and adoption of new legal service delivery models.
Zach Warren shares highlights from Legalweek 2020.
Cynthia Brown, Michelle Dewey, and Jennifer Mendez discuss the benefits of robotic process automation in law firms.
Michele DeStefano, Bill Garcia, and Ari Kaplan share insights on the elements of successful change management in law firms.
Rose Walker, Zach Abramowitz, David Lat, and Chris Wilson discuss the growing opportunities for nontraditional careers in law.
Nicholas Bruch, Luis Fernando Guerra, Gina Passarella, and Karl Kong share insights from their panel on the large law firm shift toward providing alternative legal services.
Entrepreneur, author, and attorney Steven Brill discusses his career, the motivations that brought him to start his companies, and his take on future developments in the law.
Legalweek panelists Rebecca Sandefur, Vice Chief Justice Ann Timmer, Andrew Arruda, and Justice Deno Himonas share highlights from their panel discussion on current reforms that aim to enable greater access to justice.
Ralph Baxter sits down with Professor Richard Susskind OBE to discuss Richard’s latest book, Online Courts and the Future of Justice.
Judy Perry Martinez shares an overview of current projects and activities at the ABA.
Bill Henderson offers insights from his career journey and discusses the drivers behind the development of the Institute for the Future of Law Practice.
Panelists from London-based law firm Bird & Bird discuss the implications of Brexit for US companies operating in the UK.
Patricia Lee Refo, new president-elect of the American Bar Association, shares her background and talks about current projects at the ABA.
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