Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
|Headquarters||Palo Alto, California|
|No. of offices||15|
|No. of attorneys||763|
|No. of employees||1567 (As of 03/01/2016)|
|Major practice areas||Corporate Law, Intellectual Property, Litigation, Antitrust, and Regulatory|
|Key people||Larry Sonsini|
|Revenue||$755 million (2016)|
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (WSGR) is a law firm in the United States that specializes in business, securities, and intellectual property law. The firm's Senior Partner and Founder Larry Sonsini, is well known as an attorney and advisor to technology companies.
WSGR provides legal services to technology, life sciences, and growth enterprises worldwide, as well as the venture capital firms, private equity firms, and investment banks that finance them. The firm's clients operate in a range of technology industries, including the biotech, communications, digital media, energy, financial services, medical devices, mobile, semiconductor, and software sectors.
Among the firm's clients are Amazon.com, Autodesk, Expedia, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HTC Corporation, Juniper Networks, LinkedIn, Mylan, Netflix, Tesla, Twitter, and Salesforce.com. The firm also represents companies in new, fast-growing sectors of the technology economy, including Box, CrowdStrike, Invuity, Instacart, Juno Therapeutics, Mesoblast, OnDeck Capital, Solar City, Square, Sunrun, and InWith Corp.
In total, the firm has offices in ten major cities in the U.S., including Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Los Angeles, California; New York City; Palo Alto, California; San Diego, California; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; Washington, D.C.; and Wilmington, Delaware. Outside of the United States, it has offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, China; and Brussels, Belgium.
WSGR was founded in 1961 as McCloskey, Wilson, Mosher & Martin in Palo Alto, California, with attorney Pete McCloskey and attorney John Arnot Wilson being two of the first named partners. Wilson was a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School's class of 1941, which included Supreme Court jurists Byron White and Potter Stewart as well as former President Gerald Ford. Since its launch, the firm concentrated on the representation of emerging technology companies and venture capitalists. For example, in 1969, the firm helped form Mayfield Fund, one of the first major venture capital firms. In 1970, John B. Goodrich joined the firm. Larry Sonsini and Mario Rosati joined in 1966 and 1971, respectively. In 1978, the firm takes on the name it has had since: Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, PC.
In 1980, WSGR represented Apple Inc. in its much-publicized IPO. The firm was also involved in representing companies in the semiconductor industry, like LSI Logic, Altera, Cirrus Logic, Lattice Semiconductor, and Cypress Semiconductor. These companies were among those that helped Silicon Valley earn its name.
For many years, the firm had only one office, in Palo Alto. In late 1998, the firm opened its first national office, in Kirkland, Washington, led by partner Patrick Schultheis. Within the next few years, the firm opened offices in Austin, Texas, San Francisco, Northern Virginia, New York, Salt Lake City, and San Diego.
Like other law firms representing start-up technology companies, WSGR accepted equity in its clients as a form of payment in return for deferral of fees, and also passed on stakes in its investment fund to associates and staff members as a means of retaining employees.
In 1994, WSGR represented Netscape Communications in its IPO, in addition to representing several other companies that, like Netscape, were tied to the start of the Internet Age, including Infoseek, USWeb/CKS, and Inktomi. WSGR also began to lead the nation in the number of issuer IPO transactions, completing 37 IPOs in 1995 and 44 IPOs in 1997.
In 1999, when VA Linux went public, the firm reaped $24.5 million as the value of the 100,000 shares that the firm held ballooned in value. Other IPOs that enriched the firm because of its equity stake were those of Ask Jeeves, Google, and online grocer Webvan. With the downturn in the dotcom economy, however, WSGR had to make a number of adjustments; 100 support staff and 60 associates were laid off—about 10% of its attorneys. Good times returned in 2004 when the firm advised Google on its $2.7 billion IPO.
In 2005, WSGR launched an office in China and boosted its New York office. In 2006 the firm relocated its Northern Virginia lawyers to Washington, D.C., to be closer to government regulators.
In addition to numerous professors and partners, both at Wilson Sonsini and other firms, some of the more notable current and former Wilson Sonsini attorneys include:
- Michael Arrington, Founder, TechCrunch
- Steven E. Bochner, Board of Directors, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
- William B. Chandler, III, judge, Delaware Superior Court; Chancellor, Delaware Court of Chancery (1989 - 2007)
- Peter Detkin, Managing Partner at Intellectual Ventures
- David Drummond, Chief Legal Officer and Senior Vice President at Google
- Mark Farrell, Supervisor, San Francisco Board of Supervisors (2011 –)
- Richard Frenkel, former Director of Intellectual Property at Cisco
- Vijaya Gadde, current General Counsel and Legal Director at Twitter
- Chris Kelly, first General Counsel of Facebook, Democratic Candidate for Attorney General of California
- Ro Khanna, Congressman, United States House of Representatives (2017 -); former Deputy Assistant Secretary, United States Department of Commerce;
- Lucy H. Koh, judge, United States District Court for the Northern District of California (2010 -)
- Alex Macgillivray, former General Counsel at Twitter; Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the United States (2014 -)
- Katharine (Katie) Martin, Partner and Chair of the Board of Directors, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
- Pete McCloskey, Congressman, United States House of Representatives (1967–83)
- Tamika Montgomery-Reeves, Vice Chancellor, Delaware Court of Chancery (2015 -)
- John Roos, former CEO of Wilson Sonsini; United States Ambassador to Japan (2009–13)
- Larry Sonsini, Senior Partner and Founder, "Godfather" of Silicon Valley Law
- Joshua D. Wright, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission (2013 -)
- Rivlin, Gary (2006-07-30). "A Counselor Pulled From the Shadows". New York Times. Retrieved 2006-12-05.
- "Vault - About Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati". Vault.com. Vault, Inc. 2016.
- Ryan, Greg (Jan 13, 2016). "Life sciences law powerhouse Wilson Sonsini to open office in Boston". Boston Business Journal.
- "Juniper Networks Prices $500 Million Offering of Senior Notes". February 24, 2016.
- "District Court Dismisses Lawsuit over Royalty Rates Against Muzak". March 7, 2016.
- "Amazon Web Services Announces New Renewable Energy Project in Virginia". June 10, 2015.
- "Renew Financial Raises $70 Million in Growth Capital". February 11, 2016.
- "Actus Medical Completes $75 Million Series C Financing Round". March 22, 2016.
- "Shanda Games Limited Completes $1.9 Billion Going-Private Transaction". November 19, 2015.
- "Microchip Technology to Acquire Atmel" (PDF). Jan 19, 2016.
- "Industry Practices - Software". WSGR - Practices and Industries.
- "Autodesk Prices $750 Million Note Offering". June 2, 2015.
- "Expedia Obtains Significant Ninth Circuit Victory in Consumer Class Action". May 24, 2011.
- "WSGR Obtains First-of-Its-Kind Precedent on California's Automatic Renewal Law". February 9, 2016.
- "ITC Finds in Favor of Google in Patent Dispute". July 7, 2014.
- "Northern District of California Dismisses Shareholder Complaint Against Hewlett-Packard". May 6, 2013.
- "2014 Chambers USA Guide Recognizes WSGR Practices, Attorneys for Excellence". January 31, 2015.
- Ruiz, David (March 3, 2016). "Wilson Sonsini and Davis Polk work on Juniper Networks' $500 million note offer". The Recorder.
- Coe, Erin (June 10, 2015). "Law360.com - California Powerhouse: Wilson Sonsini". Portfolio Media, Inc.
- "Mylan Obtains Federal Circuit Victory in Celebrex Litigation". June 23, 2015.
- "Ninth Circuit Affirms Netflix Victory in Antitrust Class Action". February 27, 2015.
- Kamping-Carder, Leigh (June 15, 2010). "Wilson Sonsini Reps Tesla In $178M IPO". Portfolio Media, Inc.
- "Judge strikes claim on who can be declared a founder of Tesla Motors". Tesla Corporate Blog. April 20, 2010.
- "Twitter to Acquire Whetlab". June 17, 2015.
- "Salesforce.com to Acquire ExactTarget for $2.5 Billion". June 4, 2013.
- Ruiz, David (Jan 23, 2015). "Box IPO Seen as a Hopeful Harbinger". The Recorder. (Subscription required (. ))
- "Invuity Announces Closing of Initial Public Offering". June 18, 2015.
- "Juno Therapeutics Announces Pricing of Initial Public Offering". December 18, 2014.
- "Mesoblast Announces Closing of Initial Public Offering". November 19, 2015.
- Naso, Chelsea (December 4, 2014). "Small-Biz Lender On Deck Eyes $1.19B Valuation In IPO". (Subscription required (. ))
- "WSGR Publication - The Clean Tech Report" (PDF). January 31, 2008.
- "Square Announces Pricing of Initial Public Offering". November 18, 2015.
- "Sunrun Announces Pricing of Initial Public Offering". August 5, 2015.
- "Twitter". mobile.twitter.com. Retrieved 2017-03-10.
- Phillips, Harry (April 14, 2015). "The Washington, DC antitrust bar" (PDF). GCR - USA. Global Competition Review.
- Boris Feldman, John Wilson: Legal Entrepreneur, Yale Law School Panel on "Entrepreneurs in Private Practice", November 2005, https://www.wsgr.com/publications/pdfsearch/john_wilson.pdf
- Perry Piscione, Deborah (2013). Secrets of Silicon Valley. United States: Palgrave MacMillan. pp. 143–144. ISBN 978-1-137-27917-0.
- Greene, Jay (14 June 2016). "Microsoft to Acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion" – via www.wsj.com.
- "Meet the Top Ten Lawyers / Here are the Godfather of Silicon Valley, the Odd Man Out, the attorney known as the Last Hope, the Cop, a real Perry Mason, and, among others, our own cover boy, everyone's No. 1".
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