Smiles came easily as Orrick Chief Executive Officer Ralph Baxter addressed Orrick workers and invited guests at its Global Operations Center. When he first saw the decrepit building on Main Street over a decade ago -- smiles like these were the farthest thing from his mind.
"It had been abandoned for 15 years," Baxter said, recalling the moments. "There was a tree growing out of the side of the building. And I didn't think it would ever work. But I had a partner with me from my law firm who was a real estate partner, and he said, 'This has got promise.' And we looked into it, and it turned out to be one of the most spectacular buildings we're in anywhere in the world."
Will Turani remembers the mood of Wheeling's city administration during that era. "At the time as City Manager, just to have a project of this magnitude come into Wheeling -- it was what we all needed, it was what we needed and wanted as a city."
88,000 square feet of industrial stamping building became suitably trendy office space. Orrick employs over a thousand lawyers, making it one of the largest law firms in the world. The firm's Wheeling operations gives the firm a comparative advantage in the legal business.
"We are able to do things -- we're able to be more agile, we're able to reduce the costs of our firm, and the fees to our clients in ways that most law firms in the world simply can't do."
Baxter also thought Wheeling's City Manager at the time could handle managing the initial 73 employees and hired him. In 2012, Turani now supervises 350. "We're all proud. It's certainly an accomplishment for us here at Orrick, but it's something great for the region."