Patricia K. Gillette

Patricia K. Gillette

Partner, Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe LLP Co-Founder, Opt-In Project

Patricia Gillette, a partner in Orrick’s San Francisco office, is a member of the employment law group. Orrick’s Employment Law and Litigation group was recently named Labor & Employment Department of the Year in California by The Recorder, the premier source for legal news, in recognition of their significant wins on behalf of leading multinational companies on today’s most complex and challenging employment law matters.

Ms. Gillette’s practice focuses on all aspects of employment law, including litigation of wrongful discharge and discrimination class actions and individual/multi-plaintiff cases in both state and federal court, representation of employers before administrative agencies, and counseling and training employers on preventive personnel practices. She is an experienced trial lawyer and regularly handles complex employment litigation. She is a frequent lecturer to management employment groups across the country.

Before joining Orrick, Ms. Gillette was head of Heller Ehrman LLP’s Labor and Employment Practice Group for 10 years. Prior to joining Heller Ehrman, Ms. Gillette was in private practice and served six years as in-house counsel for Bank of America, where she was in charge of the Personnel Advice Section of the Legal Department.

Throughout her career, Ms. Gillette has been actively involved in national projects focusing on the retention of women in the legal industry and, as a result, is a frequent writer and keynote speaker on these issues. Her articles have been widely published in state and national publications. Ms. Gillette’s focus recently has been on rainmaking.  She was actively involved in creating the recently published Rainmaking Study on the personal characteristics that make rainmakers successful.

Ms. Gillette is the co-founder of the Opt-In Project, a nationwide initiative focused on changing the structure of law firms to increase the retention and advancement of women in the workplace. She served for three years as a Commissioner on the ABA Commission for Women in the Profession, she co-chairs the San Francisco Bar Association’s No Glass Ceiling Initiative, she served on the board of the National Association of Women Lawyers Foundation, and she is a member of the ABA’s Gender Equity Task force, having co-chaired the Model Compensation Committee of that Task Force. Ms. Gillette is chairing Development for Direct Women, a non-profit dedicated to placing women attorneys on boards of public companies. Ms. Gillette is a member of the Consortium for Advancing Women Lawyers, a national group of thought leaders on women’s issues in the legal profession. At Orrick, Ms. Gillette chairs the Women’s Affinity Group.

Ms. Gillette has been recognized for contributions to women in the profession as the recipient of the Fay Stender Award from the California Women Lawyers Association, the San Francisco Bar Association’s Award of Merit, and the Transformational Leadership Award in 2012 as a top Woman Rainmaker.

Ms. Gillette serves as an elected official in her home town of Kensington, California and is on several non-profit boards.

Admitted in

  • California


  • American Bar Association
  • State Bar of California
  • Bar Association of San Francisco, Board of Directors
  • National Employment Law Institute, Advisory Committee
  • Lawyer Metrics Rainmaking Study, Advisory Board
  • ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, Commissioner

Related Practice Areas

  • Employment Law & Litigation


  • J.D., cum laude, University of San Francisco School of Law, 1976
  • A.B., Occidental College, 1973


  • The Recorder‘s California Labor & Employment Department of the Year (2013-2014)
  • The Recorder‘s California Litigation Department of the Year (2013-2014)
  • Recipient of the Fay Stender Award, the highest award given by the California Women Lawyers Association
  • Recipient of the Transformational Leadership Award as the Top Woman Rainmaker (2012)
  • Recipient of the San Francisco Bar Association Award of Merit for her work as C0-Chair of the No Glass Ceiling Initiative (2010)
  • The Recorder Leading Employment Lawyer (2012)
  • Consistently named among “The Best Lawyers in America,” Chambers USA
  • American Registry‘s Top 50 Women Attorneys in Northern California
  • Daily Journal‘s Top Labor and Employment Lawyers in California (2010 and 2012)
  • Named as a Super Lawyer in Employment Law and Litigation for more than 20 years
  • The International Who’s Who of Management Labour and Employment Lawyers