Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati built its
reputation advising some of the major tech and life sciences
industries as well as the banks and venture capitalists keeping
those bold experiments flush with greenbacks. It follows, then,
that the firm is known for its deep roots in the tech sector and
for its prominence in the historic IPOs, mergers and litigation
that shook and shaped a new economy.
The Valleyspeak that made Wilson Sonsini's name
wasn't the "like, totally!" variety. Rather, it was the firm's
thorough comprehension of its clients' businesses and its capacity
to talk the talk of Silicon Valley's burgeoning industries. As
these fields gradually took form, the firm began representing
companies in all phases of growth. Since its founding in 1961,
Wilson Sonsini has become a leader in tech licensing transactions,
technology M&A and securities class actions.
The firm began as a simple three-man shop in
Palo Alto. It was founded by John Wilson, Pete McCloskey and Roger
Mosher; McCloskey departed shortly thereafter in order to take a
seat in Congress. Larry Sonsini became a name partner in 1973 after
working at the firm for seven years. John Goodrich and Mario Rosati
came on board in the early 1970s, and after Mosher's departure, the
firm took its current name of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
Its head office is still in Palo Alto, though it has grown
selectively with several offices across the United States, China
It was Larry Sonsini who carved the firm's
modern path, visualizing its IT future and aggressively cultivating
its client base. Described by one private equity client quoted in
Fortune magazine as "the Larry Bird of Silicon Valley," "the go-to
guy … the ice-in-his-veins, blue-collar, scramble-for-the-ball,
great-teammate, no-ego, championship-caliber guy," Sonsini enjoys
great loyalty from clients, many of whom are charter members of the
West Coast tech illuminati. The resident expert on tech issues for
the NYSE's board of directors since 2001, Sonsini smoothed the way
for Google's 2004 IPO and led Pixar's $7.4 billion acquisition by
Disney in 2006. Though Sonsini stepped down as CEO in 2005, he
continues to hold rank as the firm's chairman.
Sonsini has led the firm in advising on some of
the biggest tech deals around. The firm helped launch the IPOs of
Apple, Sun Microsystems, Netflix, Rackspace and Infosys. It's also
advised on M&A and other transactions, including
Hewlett-Packard's merger with Compaq, Google's $4.1 billion
acquisition of DoubleClick, and Sun Microsystems' $7.4 billion sale
Wilson Sonsini's technology experience has
become as diverse as the industry itself. The firm now works with
clients in the semiconductor, software, renewable energy,
networking, media, biotech, medical device and consumer tech
sectors. It also has a strong corporate finance practice that works
closely with financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs and
Morgan Stanley. Last but hardly least, the Wilson Sonsini venture
capital practice has grown in tandem with early clients like
Sequoia Capital, Mayfield, and Oak Investment Partners. To date,
Wilson Sonsini has worked with thousands of companies and has
helped raise billions of dollars. The firm has represented over a
hundred venture capital and private equity firms-many of which it
Scoring High in Diversity
In 2013, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati ranked No. 3
on American Lawyer's Diversity Scorecard. The result
continues WSGR's history of high rankings, including three
consecutive years in which the firm ranked No. 1 overall.
Google, YouTube and Wilson
For the second time in three years, Judge Louis Stanton of the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of New York granted
Google's motion for summary judgment in a $1 billion copyright
lawsuit filed by Viacom International against Google's YouTube.
Judge Stanton previously granted Google's motion for summary
judgment in June 2010, but in 2012, the U.S Court of Appeals for
the Second Circuit remanded for consideration of a handful of
specific issues. On remand, Judge Stanton decided each of those
issues in Google's favor, ruled that YouTube is protected by the
Digital Millennium Copyright Act's Section 512(c) safe harbor, and
rejected Viacom's copyright infringement claims. Wilson Sonsini
Goodrich & Rosati has represented Google and YouTube from the
start of the landmark case.
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati announced that it has
significantly expanded its patent litigation practice by hiring a
team of IP litigators in Los Angeles and Palo Alto headed by
nationally recognized trial lawyer Edward Poplawski. The five
partners all join the firm from Sidley Austin; the majority will be
based in the firm's new Los Angeles office.
Searching for Victory
The Federal Trade Commission announced that it has closed
its 19-month investigation of Google, with the five commissioners
unanimously voting that the company's handling of its search
results had not violated U.S. antitrust laws on any grounds. Wilson
Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati represented Google in connection with
the FTC's investigation.
A Great Place to Work
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati was named one of
America's "National Top Workplaces" by WorkplaceDynamics, an
employee survey provider. Overall, the firm was ranked No. 134
nationwide among 872 organizations with more than 1,000 employees
that participated in regional top workplaces programs. Earlier, the
firm was recognized by Bay Area News Group as one of the San
Francisco Bay Area's top workplaces for 2012.
Booming in Beijing
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati announced that it has
opened an office in Beijing to further enhance its China practice.
The new office is the third in Greater China for the firm, which
already has offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong.