2019 Vault Rankings
“Early opportunities are superb”
“Colleagues are supportive”
“At the forefront of Silicon Valley”
“Long and unpredictable hours”
“Lack of transparency and development”
“Not enough mentoring/informal training”
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.
Rising with a Valley
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 financings and 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 14 other offices across the United States, China, and Europe.
The Go-to Guy
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 served as the firm’s chairman until 2017, and continues to serve in his role as senior and founding partner.
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, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Infosys. It has also advised on M&A and other transactions, including Hewlett-Packard's merger with Compaq, Salesforce.com’s $2.5 billion acquisition of ExactTarget, and LinkedIn’s $26.2 billion sale to Microsoft.
Every Tech You Can Imagine
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, fintech, social media, biotech, medical device, data storage and cloud, 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 helped create.
IN THE NEWS
WSGR was ranked No. 3 on The American Lawyer’s 2018 Diversity Scorecard. In addition, the firm ranked No. 2 for the highest percentage of minority partners and No. 3 for the highest percentage of Asian-American attorneys.
On March 28, 2018, WSGR attorneys filed the respondents’ brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical and North China Pharmaceutical Group (NCPG) in the closely watched case concerning vitamin C exported from China. WSGR’s Jonathan Jacobson argued before the Supreme Court in April 2018.
In March 2018, Dropbox announced the pricing of its initial public offering. WSGR advised Dropbox in the offering. According to multiple press reports, the Dropbox IPO is the largest Bay Area technology offering since 2013.
On July 21, 2017, following a two-week trial, a federal jury in the District of Massachusetts returned a verdict for Amphastar Pharmaceuticals in a patent infringement suit. WSGR represented Amphastar at trial. The plaintiffs, Momenta Pharmaceuticals and Novartis AG's Sandoz unit, sued Amphastar for more than $900 million in damages, alleging that Amphastar's testing of its generic enoxaparin sodium drug product infringed U.S. Patent No. 7,575,886. The jury returned a verdict finding that the patent was invalid for lack of enablement and lack of adequate written description.
For the second year in a row, WSGR was ranked as the Best Life Sciences Law Firm on litigation finance firm Lake Whillans’ Life Sciences Law Firm Index. In addition, the firm was ranked No. 2 in the Life Sciences Patent Category for Q3 2017.
Dow Jones VentureSource's legal rankings for 2017 issuer-side venture financing deals ranked WSGR ahead of all other firms by the total number of rounds of equity financing raised on behalf of clients. WSGR is credited with 205 rounds of financing; its nearest competitor advised on 158 rounds. According to VentureSource, WSGR ranked first for 2017 issuer-side U.S. deals in the following industries: business and financial services, cleantech, communications and networking, electronics and hardware, energy & utilities, healthcare, industrial goods and materials, information technology, medical devices and equipment, and software.
Our Reputation: The Powerhouse Corporate Firm for Start-Ups and Tech
Headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is a leading legal advisor to technology, life sciences, and growth enterprises worldwide, as well as to the venture firms, private equity firms, and investment banks that finance them. From historical roots in Silicon Valley, we now work with innovative and world-changing companies globally.
Two of our notable accomplishments:
650 Page Mill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Phone: (650) 493-9300
Employer Type: Private
Board Chair: Katharine Martin
Managing Partner: Douglas Clark
Hiring Partners: Andrew Hoffman, Maura Rees, Lisa Stimmell
Total No. Attorneys 2018: 750
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
9th year+: $350,000
Summer associate: $3,654 per week
55 out of 57 (2Ls) (2017)
Palo Alto, CA (HQ)
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA (Financial District)
San Francisco, CA (SOMA)
Board and Internal Investigations
Class Action Litigation
Employee Benefits and Compensation
Energy and Infrastructure
Export Control and Sanctions
Federal Trade Commission
Finance and Structured Finance
Intellectual Property Litigation
Internet Law and Strategy Litigation
Mergers & Acquisitions
Patents and Innovations
Privacy & Data Protection
Securities and Governance Litigation
Start-Ups and Venture Capital
Tax and Tax Equity
Trade Secret Litigation
Trademark and Copyright