SAN FRANCISCO, CA, June 24, 2009
Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP Partner William H. Orrick has been appointed as counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, effective today. Orrick, who has practiced at the Coblentz firm for 25 years, joins A. Marisa Chun, a former firm partner, who was tapped for the U.S. Department of Justice in May.
Richard R. Patch, Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass’ litigation chairman, said, “As a firm with a rich history of public service and a devotion to the advancement of civil rights, we are honored that the Obama administration has hand-picked two of our very own civil litigation partners, Bill and Marisa. We wish them the best and are proud they are serving the nation.”
The position of Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division at the U.S. Department of Justice is newly created. Orrick expects to focus on the affirmative litigation brought by the Civil Division, among other things. Orrick’s father, a federal district judge in the Northern District of California who died in 2003, ran the Civil Division in the Kennedy administration.
“I am excited about this opportunity to serve the country, help the President and advance the mission of the DOJ’s Civil Division,” said Orrick. “This position is at the intersection of the work I did at Coblentz and before that as a civil rights lawyer in Georgia. I will miss Coblentz enormously, and am I am particularly appreciative of my partners, who have always supported me.”
At Coblentz, Orrick practiced general civil litigation, emphasizing employment, complex commercial, real estate and construction matters. For the past sixteen years, he served as outside general counsel to the Episcopal Diocese of California, for which he was chancellor. An active supporter of pro bono work, Orrick has been recognized as an “outstanding lawyer in public service” by the San Francisco Bar Association. His non profit service experience also includes work as president of the Board of Trustees of the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, the North Fork Association and the Katherine Delmar Burke School.
Orrick received his B.A. from Yale University, cum laude, in 1976. He graduated from Boston College Law School, cum laude, in 1979, where he received the Susan Grant Desmarais award for public service. Before joining Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, he worked as a civil rights lawyer in Savannah, Ga., where he brought class action and other impact cases to desegregate classrooms, improve jail conditions and rezone neighborhoods to benefit low-income people.