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Overview

Introduction

A leader in venture capital work and top ranked for intellectual property, Wilson Sonsini is a go-to firm for tech industry clients. Lawyers at the firm have an entrepreneurial mindset and strike the right balance between hard work and affability. With 950 attorneys across 16 offices around the world, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is a global player with very deep tech roots. The firm has become a leader in tech licensing transactions, technology financings and M&A, and intellectual property.

Firm Stats


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Total No. Attorneys (2021)


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No. of Partners Named (2021)


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Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100...


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No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2020)



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No. of Summer Associates (2021)



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Base Salary

1st year: $205,000...

Vault Verdict

 Having an entrepreneurial attitude will go a long way in trying to land a spot at Wilson Sonsini, as will an interest in the firm’s industries and tech clients. Candidates should brush up on behavioral interviewing and come prepared with their own questions. The firm has a hardworking yet friendly culture, where hanging out after work or on Zoom (during the pandemic) happens regularly. Transparency is positive—Wilson Sonsini has regular town hall meetings, with an opportunity for associates to ask questions. Some wish there was more insight into promotion early on. For those not seeking the partnership route, in-house positions are abundant, given the firm’s tech client base. Associates agree that the firm’s 1,950 billable-hour requirement is reasonable, and the firm’s hours...

About the Firm

 

With 950 attorneys across 16 offices around the world, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is a global player with very deep tech roots. The firm has become a leader in tech licensing transactions, technology financings and M&A, and intellectual property.

Running Circles Around Everyone

Wilson Sonsini began as a simple three-man shop in Palo Alto under the name McCloskey, Wilson & Mosher. 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 Wi...

Associate Reviews


  • “Our firm, and particularly our office, has done a great job with communicating through the pandemic. Through regular Zoom meetings, including social events and informal check-ins, we have been able to maintain some of our firm culture even during a pandemic. We're all working remotely, but we are still working together as a team.  There is definitely a sense that those managing the firm and our office do genuinely care about our well-being during the period of isolation we are experiencing.”
  • “People work hard but everyone is friendly and helpful.”
  • “Lawyers socialize in the office and after hours. Pre-pandemic, partners and associates would regularly eat lunch together or grab coffee. The firm also offers regularly scheduled snack breaks. After-hours socialization (again pre-pandemic) include associate happy hours and women's group activities.”
  • “… Zoom mentorship and check-ins have been plentiful.”
  • “Individual partners I work with are excellent. Firm leadership is fairly transparent. Town halls are organized in the virtual space at times to try and keep everyone informed.”
  • “We have partner mentors and partners are always happy to discuss career development. We have annual reviews and monthly feedback worked into our program for first and second years.”
  • “Reviews are annual but partners are open to listening from associates and answering questions. [The] firm is pretty transparent as it has town hall meetings and anyone can send questions in advance.”
  • “Our teams are leanly staffed, so associates of all levels (including fall associates/1st years) work directly with partners. Partners provide feedback and grant associates as much responsibility as they prove they can handle. Partners also reach out and make an effort to get to know associates through virtual coffee breaks, teams calls, etc. …”
  • “I have a lot of autonomy and flexibility, although the work is (of course) very demanding at times. The billable-hour requirement is quite reasonable, and the firm's policy of counting 100% of pro bono hours towards the billable requirement is fantastic.”
  • “It's is very busy right now, which is good and bad. You can take on as much responsibility as you want/can.”
  • “Our yearly goal is 1,950 [hours], which is very manageable. We get those hours organically (e.g. partners/senior associates we've worked with before reaching out to ask if we'd like to work on another project with them) and through our hours coordinator, who makes sure everyone has work and no one is overloaded. Our hours coordinator also makes sure that the work we're getting aligns with our interests (e.g. litigation, mergers, etc.). …”
  • “This is going to depend on the associate's ability to accept or turn down work depending on their current bandwidth. When I've been swamped with work, I have been able to say ‘no’ to assignments without any issue.”
  • “We receive full market salary and bonuses (including all special bonuses). There are also spot bonuses given out on occasion to associates who have performed exceptional work on a matter. The firm also provides a pretty sizable referral bonus if you recommend someone who ends up working at Wilson. The firm also provides a health subsidiary to cover expenses incurred for your physical health (gym memberships, etc.).”
  • “Firm salary is market, bonuses and hours requirement are market, and the firm has given all extra bonuses offered in 2020 and will do the same in 2021. We are offered re-imbursements for office related expenses like paper and printing ink, which is nice as well. No complaints.”
  • “I really appreciate that the firm pays market compensation in all offices.”
  • “I find my work fascinating. Within my first week in my role (as a junior attorney), I was drafting memos and letters/disclosure to government agencies.”
  • “Associates are often given work that is above what would normally be expected. For example, I'm a second year, but I regularly communicate with clients about substantive matters, work with vendors, etc. There's also the substantive work that one would expect at this level (legal research, drafting memos, redlining objections and responses, etc.). Also, there is some less exciting work (looking at you, document review), but that work is still a great learning experience.”
  • “The work I perform is substantive and appropriate for my level. In addition to having a lot of opportunity for substantive work, I also shadow higher level projects to prepare myself for more complex projects.”
  • “I do very substantive work for a first year and little due diligence. I directly interact with the client and the opposing counsel on every deal I've been on so far.”
  • “Firm technology is overall very good and the firm has adapted very well to a remote working environment, especially from a communication standpoint.”
  • “One of the great aspects of the firm is their commitment to improving the technology they use to improve workflows and try and automate tasks where possible, like signature pages.”
  • “The firm has provided a stipend to help subsidize the cost of a work from home setup.”
  • “The firm provided two weeks of additional vacation, including 40 billable hours, for both 2020 and 2021 as a result of the Covid pandemic. They have also provided various platforms for feedback regarding wellness.”
  • “The firm provides a subscription to Ginger, a mental health app, as well as 12 free therapy sessions per year.”
  • “Wellness app subscriptions, such as Calm and Ginger Emotional Support; additional time off; mindfulness and exercise classes; health eating classes; panel on mental health with partners discussing personal experience with mental health crises; work from home related expense reimbursement.”
  • “Every incoming associate is linked with a First Year Guide to field questions, concerns, etc. Also, we had a ton of ‘Litigation 101’ presentations within the first several weeks at the firm to introduce us to the nuts and bolts of litigating a case.”
  • “Training is available to each associate to the extent they want to take advantage of it. The firm offers all associates a plethora of formal training experiences, portals, exercises, presentations, and guides. It is up to the associate to take advantage of these resources since no one will force you to do it. I have found them to be tremendously helpful. Mentoring is similar, in that you are assigned a mentor and in my experience that mentor has been more than willing to help answer questions, guide me on deals, and serve as a sounding board for ideas. Again, it's available to the extent the associate wants to take advantage of it.”
  • “There are plenty of trainings, but I am usually too busy to attend. You also do not get billable hours credit for a training even if it is mandatory, which I know some people find frustrating. I learn most from the brilliant partners I work for, who are always willing to take time to help me grow as a lawyer.”
  • “Partners are very interested in mentoring and in my experience, this turns into active sponsorship. The firm regularly solicits ideas for trainings in addition to its already robust program.”
  • “Promotion seems realistic for those who want to stick it out. It's a lot of work. There are senior counsel roles for associates who like working at a law firm but don't want to make partner. Associates have the whole world of in-house positions at technology companies open to them. Partnership is not too transparent.”
  • “The firm has an excellent reputation among its client base, and moving in-house seems to be a viable exit opportunity. Our office is smaller, but it does seem like there are realistic paths to partnership for those who are on that track, and senior counsel roles for those who are not.”
  • “Partnership is a realistic path for those who would like to make partner, though the process becomes more transparent the more senior you get. There are a few non-partner roles, including counsel, to which senior associates can transition. Associates from my firm exit to clients including tech, bio tech, pharma and energy companies from ground up and also to banks and government entities.”
  • “The firm is committed to pro bono. Pro bono hours count as billable hours with no limits. The firm's pro bono program includes regular small business clinics and domestic violence clinics, [as well as] litigation, immigration, environmental, and family matters.”
  • “Pro bono is promoted throughout the year, including through a pro bono listserv of available pro bono opportunities. Each office has an annual celebration of the pro bono efforts in the office. Pro bono hours count as billable hours, with no cap. I am currently acting as a guardian ad litem for a child in foster care, and this past fall, I worked on formation documents for two nonprofits and logged several shifts on an election protection hotline.”
  • “… I have worked on immigration applications, corporate governance review and incorporation of nonprofits, and involvement with election protection programs.”
  • “The firm puts its money where its mouth is. I'm working on an innocence evaluation, a conservatorship case, an immigration case, and a lawsuit by a nonprofit.”
  • “The firm is very committed to diversity.”
  • “We're extremely diverse, and the firm makes a conscious, effective effort to promote and grow that diversity. Our chair is a woman and more than half of this year's partner class are women. We also have a firmwide and office-specific women's group, which meets monthly. There's also a yearly women's summit, which focuses on challenges women face and strategies for overcoming and eradicating those challenges. There are similar groups/programs for different ethnicities, LGBTQ+ individuals, those with disabilities, etc. We also offer a generous parental leave (for all parents) and provide back-up childcare. We dedicate a large amount of pro bono hours and money to funding equity-serving opportunities and we offer billable hours credit for diversity-related work/activities.”
  • “There is a diversity and inclusion team that handles awareness and outreach. It was created in the last few years, and I think it was a big step for the firm. I'm glad it exists. The firm recently began to offer billable credit for diversity-related activities.”

Why Work Here


What You May Not Know About Us

WSGR fosters an entrepreneurial and collaborative environment across its attorney ranks. We understand the importance of mentorship and strive to promote career growth and help our attorneys build leadership and relationship skills with clients and colleagues. We want to inspire them to think about the best strategies to enhance their practices.

WSGR’s culture encourages independence and responsibility from an early stage. We motivate our attorneys at each step of the way, helping them to contribute at a sophisticated level across all work areas and increase accountability and ownership levels.

In addition to having a robust M&A and capital markets practice, we represent and advise clients on a broad array of other legal matters, including litigation, intellectual property, employment law, taxation, employee benefits, and more. Some details: 

Diversity at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

"Wilson Sonsini is committed to the principle that diversity and inclusion are vital components of a thriving organization. We incorporate diversity considerations into all talent management practices, including recruiting, hiring, reviews, partner promotions and retention. Diversity of thought, experience, identity, and background, as well as an inclusive culture, enable our firm to deliver greater value to our clients, provide a richer work experience to our employees, and make meaningful, lasting contributions to our communities...."

Getting Hired Here


  • “Specifics vary by office, but the firm typically looks for persons with interest in tech and evolving markets (like crypto) and who have the ‘entrepreneur spirit.’”
  • “The firm recruits from all over, including T14s, but definitely hires a fair amount of summer associates from local California schools. In my opinion, it is looking for enthusiastic individuals with good attitudes who have done their research about the firm and have a demonstrated interest in the technology companies that Silicon Valley is known for (and who make up most of our clients).”
  • “In my office, the hiring is mostly lateral. It is very competitive. We recently hired an associate, but it took a significant amount of time and many interviews before we extended an offer. My group is looking for someone with prior firm experience, who can hit the ground running and does not need a lot of training. Great credentials are a must. …”
  • “They asked about specific research I had done and market trends I was interested in.”
  • “We have a scripted set of behavioral questions, [and] each interview is assigned one.”
  • “Tell me about yourself. What questions do you have for me? Give me an example when you took initiative. Have you ever lead a project—tell me about that.”
  • “Each lateral hire is assigned a ‘lateral link’ who for me was a great resource on a lot of basic questions on expectations and firm policies.”
  • “Tough during the pandemic but everyone has done their best. I don't have any complaints. I have formed good relationships with team members. And the firm provided a lateral link associate in the same practice area to ease the transition.”
  • “The firm has a program to assign a mentor associate and mentor partner. There are training events. The firm ensures that you attend one of the appropriate academies to socialize with peers and partners.”

Practice Area Q&A’s


Brady Berg

Partner

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Wendy Huang Waszmer

Partner

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Shannon Delahaye

Partner

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Ali R. Alemozafar

Partner

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Jamillia Ferris

Partner

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Perks & Benefits