Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

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Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:44 pm

Looking to get a job in silicon valley. Curious if people have strong opinions for either firm.

I'd like to get emerging tech exposure, with bigger companies too (=exit options, diversifying my practice) and I'm also aware that there are other things to consider like exit options due to prestige, national presence etc .

I think Wilson feels more entrepreneurial and business-like; however, it seems to get panned as a low morale sweatshop. Didn't feel that when I visited though. Latham seems a bit more boring and uptight. Review-wise, Latham seems to get much better press - other than the obvious layoff period.

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:Looking to get a job in silicon valley. Curious if people have strong opinions for either firm.

I'd like to get emerging tech exposure, with bigger companies too (=exit options, diversifying my practice) and I'm also aware that there are other things to consider like exit options due to prestige, national presence etc .

I think Wilson feels more entrepreneurial and business-like; however, it seems to get panned as a low morale sweatshop. Didn't feel that when I visited though. Latham seems a bit more boring and uptight. Review-wise, Latham seems to get much better press - other than the obvious layoff period.



Spoke with a 4th year associate there recently. He mentioned WSGR is/has been losing out to other firms for a fair number of clients due to their relationship with Google. Associate is on the corporate side. He also confirmed your "sweatshop" thoughts.

I think WSGR is the clear choice for emerging tech, just realize what you're getting.

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 24, 2011 2:31 pm

I'm in a similar position:

From talking to the people at Latham, it seems like they represent more companies on the public side as opposed to small startups.

Latham, by virtue of being a smaller office and not having the pod system, seems to have more collegial atmosphere. Plus with the undeclared system at Latham, it seems like you could really work on a bunch of different areas your first couple of years. Also it obviously is a more national firm so if you think you might ever leave the Bay Area (where Wilson probably still have the better rep)

Wilson still feels like the king of SV, as far as working with emerging companies is concerned. I have asked my friends who are in the tech industry and the one firm everyone seems to know is WSGR. Although WSGR does seem to have that sweatshop reputation, I feel maybe that's a function which partners you end up working with and also the nature of working with a lot varied startups who are working around the clock...

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:00 pm

I agree with some of the above, but I had the choice and chose Wilson, and this is why:

1. Exit options - If you want to go to a VC or in-house with a startup, Wilson is the way to go. If you want to go in-house for a public company, Latham may have the edge. I chose the former because you can make the switch sooner to a VC or startup and it can be very lucrative earlier (if the VC or startup is successful) than entering a large public company as an Associate GC. Plus (little known fact), I am told Wilson has an in-house career counselor who helps you find a job (while you remain anonymous in your search in case you don't find anything). I'm told Wilson does this because they want you to leave on good terms so you'll refer business back to the firm.
2. MUCH more emerging tech/VC stuff - this allows you to get involved in higher-level work earlier in your career. Are you going to do one-on-one client counseling with a public company as a first or second year at Latham? Almost certainly not, but I've heard straight from the horses' mouths that this happens at Wilson with startups. This makes you more valuable either to the firm (as a partner) or to your future exit option (whatever it may be).
3. Palo Alto HQ - it's better not to be at a branch office, as it's easier to make partner at a HQ. Plus, as was mentioned previously, it's still king of SV.
4. Larger office = more resources

Truth be told, they're both great places to work. But I chose Wilson because of the above factors, among others. And I wouldn't listen too much to the "X firm is a sweatshop" talk. Better off talking to people who have actually worked there, past summer associates, etc.

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:I agree with some of the above, but I had the choice and chose Wilson, and this is why:

1. Exit options - If you want to go to a VC or in-house with a startup, Wilson is the way to go. If you want to go in-house for a public company, Latham may have the edge. I chose the former because you can make the switch sooner to a VC or startup and it can be very lucrative earlier (if the VC or startup is successful) than entering a large public company as an Associate GC. Plus (little known fact), I am told Wilson has an in-house career counselor who helps you find a job (while you remain anonymous in your search in case you don't find anything). I'm told Wilson does this because they want you to leave on good terms so you'll refer business back to the firm.
2. MUCH more emerging tech/VC stuff - this allows you to get involved in higher-level work earlier in your career. Are you going to do one-on-one client counseling with a public company as a first or second year at Latham? Almost certainly not, but I've heard straight from the horses' mouths that this happens at Wilson with startups. This makes you more valuable either to the firm (as a partner) or to your future exit option (whatever it may be).
3. Palo Alto HQ - it's better not to be at a branch office, as it's easier to make partner at a HQ. Plus, as was mentioned previously, it's still king of SV.
4. Larger office = more resources

Truth be told, they're both great places to work. But I chose Wilson because of the above factors, among others. And I wouldn't listen too much to the "X firm is a sweatshop" talk. Better off talking to people who have actually worked there, past summer associates, etc.


Great input. you make some strong points, but here are some counter-concerns -

1. you're gambling hoping to find the next Facebook to go in-house with; seems a lot safer to go in-house with a public company, and for every superstar start-up you probably have more senior associates gunning for that same position, or want people with expertise in IPOs, M&A, which seems of lesser quality at WSGR.
2. higher-level work in terms of responsibility, but I'm assuming Latham will give higher level work in terms of dealing with more sophisticated deals, known clients, etc. plus you get some start-up work.
3. Latham's office is not really a branch in the sense of satellite, since Latham is so dispersed and located everywhere. Hence I feel if you ever want to move, you could probably try within the firm and if not, at least the market you'd go to would have heard of and respected the firm.
4. larger office vs. multinational network of offices.
5. WSGRs name partners will probably retire in the next few years - leaving a possible vacuum in guidance/culture control, etc.
6. WSGR's team structure means you don't even know who you will be assigned (imprisoned with?) until you take the real job.
7. generally, it seems like Wilson is under constant attack - you have Gunderson, Fenwick, Cooley taking away the smaller company biz and you have the NY firms taking away the fancy M&A/IPO work.

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:03 pm

To be clear, i am not the original poster to whom you were responding, though i do agree with his/her general thoughts on WSGR. To respond to your own points;

1. WSGR has done more IPO's than any other firm, including Apple, Google, Netflix, Tesla, Netscape, LinkedIn, Pixar, etc. As for M&A, WSGR handles almost (though not all) of Google's M&A, works on the sell-side of tons of PE acquisitions, and looking at Marti Korman's bio as a quick cross-section we see his representative deal reps as;

Isilon Systems in its sale to EMC Corporation
Sun Microsystems in its merger with Oracle
Genentech in its acquisition by Roche
Freescale Semiconductor in its going-private transaction
Hewlett-Packard in its merger with Compaq
Sun Microsystems in its acquisition of StorageTek
Pixar in its merger with Disney
VMware in its sale to EMC Corporation
Netscape in its sale to America Online
Overture Services in its sale to Yahoo!
Palm in its merger with Handspring
Represented in excess of 10 companies in sale transactions to Cisco Systems

2. See above.

3. You don't make partner at a FIRM...you make partner in an OFFICE of the given firm.
4. See above.
5. Given WSGR;s size, this is not a huge issue, as Larry Sonsini has already largely passed the reins to a couple generations of managing partners.
6. This concern is real. The key is know what you want to do and proactively target the groups that do what you want. If you do that, you'll get the group you want. If you want to rotate, look elsewhere.
7. To be fair, this is a concern...more so on the upper end. Cooley and Gunderson have been around forever and have not caused significant problems for WSGR on the smaller end. More concerning is competition from Simpson, Davis Polk, etc on the bigger stuff. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.




Anonymous User wrote:Great input. you make some strong points, but here are some counter-concerns -

1. you're gambling hoping to find the next Facebook to go in-house with; seems a lot safer to go in-house with a public company, and for every superstar start-up you probably have more senior associates gunning for that same position, or want people with expertise in IPOs, M&A, which seems of lesser quality at WSGR.
2. higher-level work in terms of responsibility, but I'm assuming Latham will give higher level work in terms of dealing with more sophisticated deals, known clients, etc. plus you get some start-up work.
3. Latham's office is not really a branch in the sense of satellite, since Latham is so dispersed and located everywhere. Hence I feel if you ever want to move, you could probably try within the firm and if not, at least the market you'd go to would have heard of and respected the firm.
4. larger office vs. multinational network of offices.
5. WSGRs name partners will probably retire in the next few years - leaving a possible vacuum in guidance/culture control, etc.
6. WSGR's team structure means you don't even know who you will be assigned (imprisoned with?) until you take the real job.
7. generally, it seems like Wilson is under constant attack - you have Gunderson, Fenwick, Cooley taking away the smaller company biz and you have the NY firms taking away the fancy M&A/IPO work.

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:59 pm

WSGR is a sweatshop that bills at lower rates than Latham. If you want to be more of a factory-worker type of lawyer, WSGR is your best bet. If you want to work more like a white shoe lawyer, go Latham.

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:38 pm

Pretty sure almost every firm talked about on this website has been referred to as a sweatshop at some point in time.

If you aren't willing and prepared to sacrifice a lot in your life, you probably aren't fit for a professional career such as law, or at least to the extent that it puts you in these positions.

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Pretty sure almost every firm talked about on this website has been referred to as a sweatshop at some point in time.

If you aren't willing and prepared to sacrifice a lot in your life, you probably aren't fit for a professional career such as law, or at least to the extent that it puts you in these positions.


There are firms that hire people who naturally work hard all the time (Latham) and firms that have a culture where you are encouraged/forced to work hard all the time (WSGR). I'm sure they overlap to some extent in these respects, but everyone you ask in SV will confirm this distinction to one degree or another.

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:06 pm

Julio_El_Chavo wrote:WSGR is a sweatshop that bills at lower rates than Latham. If you want to be more of a factory-worker type of lawyer, WSGR is your best bet. If you want to work more like a white shoe lawyer, go Latham.


Lol at calling Latham "white shoe."

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Julio_El_Chavo wrote:WSGR is a sweatshop that bills at lower rates than Latham. If you want to be more of a factory-worker type of lawyer, WSGR is your best bet. If you want to work more like a white shoe lawyer, go Latham.


Lol at calling Latham "white shoe."


definitely more white shoe than WSGR. a bunch of WSGR consists of TTT patent prosecutors

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby Old Gregg » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:35 pm

Julio_El_Chavo wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Julio_El_Chavo wrote:WSGR is a sweatshop that bills at lower rates than Latham. If you want to be more of a factory-worker type of lawyer, WSGR is your best bet. If you want to work more like a white shoe lawyer, go Latham.


Lol at calling Latham "white shoe."


definitely more white shoe than WSGR. a bunch of WSGR consists of TTT patent prosecutors


You are insufferable.

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:47 pm

If you decide on Latham, just know what you're getting into. Latham is a firm that is known for levering up when times are good, and ruthlessly downsizing when times are bad. Latham's associate pool was decimated in the tech-bubble recession, and decimated in the Great Recession. Maybe they've learned their lesson, maybe they haven't; at the beginning of ITE I've been told that Latham advised its associates that it had learned its lesson about downsizing during the tech-bubble-- and apparently that lesson was full steam ahead. In addition, Latham has opened new offices since 2008 (e.g. Boston), showing that the boom and bust mentality is still present.

I can't tell you about Latham vs. WSGR in particular, but I do know that Latham is ruthless about protecting PPP at the expense of even first-year associates.

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby Old Gregg » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:24 pm

Maybe they've learned their lesson, maybe they haven't


The only lesson there is to learn is for law students, not Latham. The partners got rich just the same, and I think they know exactly what they're doing.

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby IAFG » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:53 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:
Maybe they've learned their lesson, maybe they haven't


The only lesson there is to learn is for law students, not Latham. The partners got rich just the same, and I think they know exactly what they're doing.

Agreed. The lesson Latham learned: law students have short memories, no reason not to bone first years.

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:41 am

If push comes to shove, any firm would do what Latham did. Latham just over-invested in their New York office at exactly the wrong time. Other firms didn't do this and, therefore, didn't have to layoff hundreds of junior associates. I'm sure other firms would have (and some did) laid off plenty of associates if they had made the same (unlucky) investment decision about New York that Latham made.

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby sundance95 » Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:44 am

Julio_El_Chavo wrote:If push comes to shove, any firm would do what Latham did. Latham just over-invested in their New York office at exactly the wrong time. Other firms didn't do this and, therefore, didn't have to layoff hundreds of junior associates.

So your argument is that Latham isn't ruthless, but is just incompetent? Not sure how that's supposed to make anyone less leery.

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:33 am

sundance95 wrote:
Julio_El_Chavo wrote:If push comes to shove, any firm would do what Latham did. Latham just over-invested in their New York office at exactly the wrong time. Other firms didn't do this and, therefore, didn't have to layoff hundreds of junior associates.

So your argument is that Latham isn't ruthless, but is just incompetent? Not sure how that's supposed to make anyone less leery.


Latham was just as incompetent as all the other MIT quants, biglaw attorneys, hedge fund managers, private equity titans, etc. who didn't predict the financial crisis. You, of course, predicted the crisis unlike any of these idiots.

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby IAFG » Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:34 am

Julio_El_Chavo wrote:
sundance95 wrote:
Julio_El_Chavo wrote:If push comes to shove, any firm would do what Latham did. Latham just over-invested in their New York office at exactly the wrong time. Other firms didn't do this and, therefore, didn't have to layoff hundreds of junior associates.

So your argument is that Latham isn't ruthless, but is just incompetent? Not sure how that's supposed to make anyone less leery.


Latham was just as incompetent as all the other MIT quants, biglaw attorneys, hedge fund managers, private equity titans, etc. who didn't predict the financial crisis. You, of course, predicted the crisis unlike any of these idiots.

I find this defense of Latham rather bizarre. You can't see the difference between Latham's management/layoff strategies and their peers?

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:57 pm

IAFG wrote:
Julio_El_Chavo wrote:
sundance95 wrote:
Julio_El_Chavo wrote:If push comes to shove, any firm would do what Latham did. Latham just over-invested in their New York office at exactly the wrong time. Other firms didn't do this and, therefore, didn't have to layoff hundreds of junior associates.

So your argument is that Latham isn't ruthless, but is just incompetent? Not sure how that's supposed to make anyone less leery.


Latham was just as incompetent as all the other MIT quants, biglaw attorneys, hedge fund managers, private equity titans, etc. who didn't predict the financial crisis. You, of course, predicted the crisis unlike any of these idiots.

I find this defense of Latham rather bizarre. You can't see the difference between Latham's management/layoff strategies and their peers?


I made it clear that I do see the difference between Latham's strategies and its peers' strategies.

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Re: Wilson Sonsini vs. Latham (silicon valley)

Postby Old Gregg » Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:37 pm

Latham was just as incompetent as all the other MIT quants, biglaw attorneys, hedge fund managers, private equity titans, etc. who didn't predict the financial crisis. You, of course, predicted the crisis unlike any of these idiots.


Whether or not Latham predicted the financial crisis is irrelevant to their competence. Latham was clearly competent in terms of stabilizing and maximizing revenue. You're viewing this from the lens of an associate, but associates are interchangeable cogs. No one cares about them. From the perspective of a partner, Latham did well. So did Cadwalader, and so did many others.

Hopefully, at this point, you'll begin to realize the disconnect between associate welfare and overall firm welfare.




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