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Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP

At a Glance

“Quality and ownership of work”

“The people are outstanding”

“It maintains a startup culture [and] has prestigious clients and lots of work to go around”


“Uncertainty regarding partnership track”

“Lack of transparency”

“The hours can be intense”

About Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP

Although Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian is a Silicon Valley firm at heart, it has already outgrown its status as a “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, and 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-com startups, growing to 130 attorneys by 2000. The firm 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, the firm 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 Lilly, 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.

The Lives of Valley Venture Capitalist Counsel

In addition to pleasing clients, the firm seems to make its employees happy. Gunderson Dettmer has repeatedly achieved a ranking in the top ten of the American Lawyer’s annual summer associate surveys. Earlier in its history, the firm made a name for itself as a leader in the high-starting salary war. It still maintains competitive pay. Almost half of associates earn bonuses above the scale set by other major firms. The firm also has a progressive view on flexible work arrangements, including remote working technology available to all attorneys and collaborative work spaces in several offices, similar to that of their startup clients.

Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP

550 Allerton Street
Redwood City, CA 94063
Phone: (650) 321-2400


Employer Type: Private
Administrative Partner: Dan O'Connor
Hiring Partners: Nevin Fox & Marna Pattaropong (Boston); Melissa Marks & Ryan Purcell (NY); Gina Marek, Andrew Thornborrow, & Glen Van Ligten (Northern California); John Tolpa (San Diego); Marcia Hatch (Ann Arbor)

Total No. Attorneys 2019: 265

Base Salary

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

Summer Associate Offers

14 out of 14 (2018) (2Ls only)

Major Office Locations

Redwood City, CA (HQ)
Ann Arbor, MI
Boston, MA
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Silicon Valley, CA | Beijing

Major Departments & Practices

Corporate & Securities
Executive Compensation
Intellectual Property & Technology Transactions
Labor & Employment
Mergers & Acquisitions
Privacy & Data Security
Public Offerings/Public Companies
Venture Capital & Growth Equity Fund Formation and Representation