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Restored Factory Sees Shift from Tin Works and Kerosene Lamps to Back-Office Support

Posted Aug 13, 2012 11:16 AM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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More than a hundred years ago, the sprawling building in Wheeling, W.Va.'s once-thriving coal and steel area, housed factory workers making tin products and kerosene lanterns.

Now, after a top-to-bottom restoration that pays homage to the building's industrial past, the building is home to a busy back-office-support operation for San Franscisco-based Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

In an article about how the operation has revitalized Wheeling's downtown, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette describes the building as an "exquisitely restored factory" where more than 300 employees do e-discovery work, conduct legal research and manage back-office functions including payroll, human resources and billing. The Post-Gazette article includes photos of the restored building, including the massive four story open-air lobby.

The consolidated off-site operation reportedly saves Orrick about $5 million a year. In addition to support staff, the global operations center employs 17 career associates who handle witness prep and prepare drafts for associates and partners throughout the 1,100 attorney firm. Another 26 lawyers work in document review, the Post-Gazette reports.

In addition to an available talent pool and attractive real estate prices, Wheeling is just 40 miles from the hometown of Ralph Baxter, Orrick's chairman and chief executive.

Wheeling won the center in 2001 and opened for its first 73 employees in 2002.

A story last month marking the operation center's 10th year in Wheeling, Baxter said Orrick plans to continue expanding operations in Wheeling, according to The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register.

Baxter said at the time that the Wheeling center is an example of how American companies can grow operations without outsourcing jobs to foreign countries.

"What has happened here is proof that we can compete with anybody in the world," he is quoted saying. "Any employer could do this."

Also see:

Legal Rebels: "Ralph Baxter: The Re-Engineer"

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