2021 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“The people and culture.”
“The work is interesting, and the clients are enthusiastic entrepreneurs and brilliant VC investors.”
“The long and unpredictable hours.”
“Lack of transparency.”
“Juggling a lot of clients and client demands at once—you have to be able to triage.”
About Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP
Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian is a Silicon Valley firm at heart, and it has already outgrown its status as a premier “boutique” for the technological world. The firm has expanded in the U.S. and internationally over the last few years. With offices in Ann Arbor, Boston, Beijing, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Singapore, the firm is an international specialist in emerging growth market matters for corporate and venture capital clients.
Emerging Growth Market, Boom or Bust
In 1995, Bob Gunderson, Scott Dettmer, and four other partners jumped ship from the now-defunct Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison and started a Silicon Valley firm, just before the region's technology boom. In the next five years, the firm exploded alongside the region's dot-coms and startups, growing to 130 attorneys by the year 2000. Gunderson Dettmer maintained an impressive client list and a reputation as a go-to high-tech firm in a climate that did not treat other tech-focused firms so gently. Its success was at least partially achieved by riding another boom in growth equity and venture capital. The firm now enjoys a leading share of the market for venture capital fund legal work. PitchBook, Chambers International, The Legal 500, FinanceAsia, and U.S. News have all recognized the firm for both its venture capital and technology law practices.
Today, Gunderson Dettmer serves the venture capital market and counsels startups through its corporate and securities, executive compensation, intellectual property and tech transactions, labor and employment, mergers and acquisitions, public offerings/public companies, tax, and venture capital and growth equity fund formation and representation practices. The firm prides itself in representing clients “in every stage of a company’s lifecycle—from formation through maturity, acquisition or transition into public equity markets, and beyond.”
In the acquisitions market, the firm has helped negotiate the sale of companies to tech goliaths like Apple, Cisco, Google, and Microsoft; pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lily, Allergan and Roche; and retail giants like Walmart and Amazon. Gunderson Dettmer clients have included companies like Doordash, Foursquare, Alimera Sciences, Palantir, Qlik Technologies, Veeva, and Harry’s, and venture funds such as Accel, Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital, and Sequoia Capital.
A Summer Surprise
Earlier in its history, Gunderson Dettmer made a name for itself as a leader in the high-starting salary war. Though the firm may have lost its title as Silicon Valley's salary leader, it still maintains competitive pay. The firm is among those who gave summer bonuses in 2018, and in May 2019, the firm announced that it would once again pay summer bonuses in 2019.
News & Awards
LMG Life Sciences shortlisted Gunderson Dettmer for Venture Capital Firm of the Year and corporate partner Tim Ehrlich for Venture Capital Attorney of the Year. The Life Sciences Awards highlight the firms, individuals and companies behind the most innovative and challenging Life Sciences legal work of the past year, as well as those driving the international market.
Natalie A. Pierce joined the firm as a partner and chair of its Labor & Employment practice. Pierce has rich experience guiding technology, life sciences and other high-growth technology companies from startup through their lifecycles. She adds keen insights into the workplace issues at play in venture funding and M&A activities, as well as how those issues impact international transactions.
Gina Marek, the hiring partner in the firm’s Silicon Valley office, was named the Northern California head of the Licensing, Strategic Partnering & Commercial Transactions practice group.
PitchBook ranked Gunderson Dettmer as the most active law firm globally for its venture capital and growth equity deals in 2019.
- The firm represented Kavak, an online platform for buying and selling secondhand cars, in its Series C financing that has led the company to become Mexico’s first tech unicorn after reaching a $1.15 billion valuation in this latest funding round.
- The firm represented Velodyne Lidar, the pioneer developer of lidar technology, in its merger with Graf Industrial Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The business combination values the combined company at an enterprise value of approximately $1.8 billion.
- The firm represented Wish, an internet retail platform, in its $300 million Series H financing. Gunderson has represented Wish in all of its previous financings, totaling more than $1.8 billion.
- The firm represented Andreessen Horowitz in its sixth flagship fund of $750 million and its LSV Fund I of $2 billion. Gunderson represents Andreesssen Horowitz in its fund formations as well as in a variety of financings.
- Most Active Venture Law Firm Globally 2014 - 2019 (most recent year)—PitchBook
- Band 1, Startups & Emerging Companies, 2020—Chambers
- Band 1, Investment Funds: Venture Capital: Fund Formation, 2020—Chambers
- Band 1, Venture Capital - California, 2020—Chambers
- Top-listed firm in Securities/Capital Markets Law, 2020—Best Law Firms
550 Allerton Street
Redwood City, CA 94063
Phone: (650) 321-2400
Administrative Partner: David Young
Hiring Partners: Nevin Fox (Boston); Melissa Marks and Ryan Purcell (NY); Jared Grauer and Gina Marek (Redwood City); Mike Heath (LA); John Tolpa (San Diego); Marcia Hatch (Ann Arbor)
Total No. Attorneys 2020:
250 - 500
No. of Partners Named 2020:
1st year: $190,000
2nd year: $200,000
3rd year: $220,000
4th year: $255,000
5th year: $280,000
6th year: $305,000
7th year: $325,000
8th year: $340,000
Summer Associate: $3,653.85/week
Legal Recruiting Manager
No. of U.S. Offices: 7
No. of International Offices: 2
Ann Arbor, MI
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Redwood City, CA (HQ)
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Corporate & Securities
Labor & Employment
Licensing, Strategic Partnering, & Commercial Transactions
Mergers & Acquisitions
Venture Capital & Growth Equity Fund Formation and Representation