Bethany College Announces 2013 Commencement Speaker

BETHANY, W.Va. — Ralph Baxter, chairman and chief executive officer of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, has been announced as Bethany College’s 2013 Commencement speaker. This will mark the college’s 173rd Anniversary Commencement Weekend.

Commencement will be held at 10 a.m. on May 18 in the Tilock Amphitheatre in the Pennington Quadrangle.

Baxter has held his position since 1990, during which he expanded Orrick, diversifying and extending its geographic reach and transforming the company from a domestic firm with California origins to one of the world’s largest and most prominent law firms, with more than 1,100 lawyers in offices across the United States, Europe and Asia.

“Mr. Baxter is a highly respected leader in his field, his professional accomplishments and services to his community are laudable.  We are pleased to welcome Mr. Baxter to campus for this very special day for our students,” said Dr. Scott D. Miller, president of the college.

Baxter has also launched several transformative initiatives that have more closely aligned Orrick with its clients, including the firm’s new talent and pricing models, distinguishing the firm as a bold innovator in the legal industry.

He has been recognized as one of America’s “100 Most Influential Lawyers” by The National Law Journal and is also the founder of the Law Firm Leaders Forum, a gathering of law firm leaders that annually examine issues facing the profession. In addition, he was named a California Lawyer of the Year by California Lawyer magazine, an award that recognized his decision to consolidate all of the firm’s finance, technology and other operations into one dedicated facility in Wheeling, West Virginia, which is Orrick’s global operations center.

Baxter received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University in 1968; his Master of Arts in 1970 from Catholic University of America; and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1974. Currently, Baxter serves on the Advisory Board of Harvard Law School’s Center on Lawyers and the Professional Services Industry and is active in numerous civic leadership and public interest organizations, particularly in California and West Virginia.

Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.