2022 Vault Rankings
- Firm Culture#23
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 dotcoms 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; licensing, strategic partnering, and commercial 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. 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. More recently, the firm made a splash when it was early to match 2021 special bonuses. According to the firm, “almost half of associates earning bonuses above the scale set by other major firms.” And even pre-COVID, the firm had a progressive view on flexible work arrangements, including remote working technology available to all attorneys and collaborative workspaces in several offices, similar to that of their startup clients.
News & Awards
- 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
Why Work Here
Since our inception in 1995, Gunderson Dettmer has maintained its leadership and reputation for being the premier firm in venture capital and technology law. As the firm whom works with the next class of innovation, Gunderson counsels emerging growth companies and investors at various stages and serves the venture capital market globally.
We have been recognized by Chambers International, The Legal 500, FinanceAsia, and U.S. News, and were nominated for the LMG Life Sciences Venture Capital Firm of the Year. Additionally, Gunderson was ranked by PitchBook as the #1 law firm globally for high-growth technology and life sciences companies and investors for seven years in a row.
With offices across major venture hubs such as Silicon Valley and San Francisco, Boston, Ann Arbor, Los Angeles, New York, Beijing, Singapore, San Diego, and Austin, Gunderson continues to make an indelible mark across the globe. Join us and make a lasting impact by being part of a firm at the center of emerging growth and venture communities worldwide.
550 Allerton Street
Redwood City, CA 94063
Phone: (650) 321-2400
Administrative Partner: David Young
Hiring Partners: Wes Watts (Austin); 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: $205,000
2nd year: $215,000
3rd year: $240,000
4th year: $275,000
5th year: $305,000
6th year: $330,000
7th year: $350,000
8th year: $365,000
9th year: $375,000
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