Cooley vs Wilson Sonsini (Silicon Valley)

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Cooley vs Wilson Sonsini (Silicon Valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:55 pm

Wanted to get people's opinions on WSGR/Cooley. I know historically they've been seen as peers (or maybe WSGR as stronger in the past), but wanted to get an idea on where they currently stand in the emerging companies/VC space in SV and what their respective cultures are like.

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Re: Cooley vs Wilson Sonsini (Silicon Valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:05 pm

YMMV, but people from Cooley have been generally more pleasant to work across from on deals. Seem to be a bit more practical about issues. The two are comparable in terms of quality of work.

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Re: Cooley vs Wilson Sonsini (Silicon Valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:37 pm

There's a lot of misinformation about WSGR's corporate culture. If someone brings up anything about "siloing" off juniors, then you know they're offering dated information, based on whatever's been circulating on TLS about WSGR years ago. WSGR currently has a central work coordinator who assigns work to corporate juniors. Partners generally don't approach juniors directly, which makes managing one's workload easier. You might not be able to appreciate the significance of this until you enter biglaw.

Cooley just announced that they acquired several prominent WSGR EC/VC partners. If you're really dead set on EC/VC (which I would caution you against if you're a 2L looking at summer associate positions), then that's something important to consider. Cooley also has a reputation for a positive culture.

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Re: Cooley vs Wilson Sonsini (Silicon Valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Cooley just announced that they acquired several prominent WSGR EC/VC partners. If you're really dead set on EC/VC (which I would caution you against if you're a 2L looking at summer associate positions), then that's something important to consider. Cooley also has a reputation for a positive culture.


What should I be wary about re: EC/VC work? Also how do these firms prepare in other practice areas like M&A/Cap Markets/PE?

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Re: Cooley vs Wilson Sonsini (Silicon Valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:There's a lot of misinformation about WSGR's corporate culture. If someone brings up anything about "siloing" off juniors, then you know they're offering dated information, based on whatever's been circulating on TLS about WSGR years ago. WSGR currently has a central work coordinator who assigns work to corporate juniors. Partners generally don't approach juniors directly, which makes managing one's workload easier. You might not be able to appreciate the significance of this until you enter biglaw.

Cooley just announced that they acquired several prominent WSGR EC/VC partners. If you're really dead set on EC/VC (which I would caution you against if you're a 2L looking at summer associate positions), then that's something important to consider. Cooley also has a reputation for a positive culture.


+1 to the quote above. I'm Team WSGR myself but you can't go wrong with Cooley. Assuming you're weighing these as SA offers, congrats!

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Re: Cooley vs Wilson Sonsini (Silicon Valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Cooley just announced that they acquired several prominent WSGR EC/VC partners. If you're really dead set on EC/VC (which I would caution you against if you're a 2L looking at summer associate positions), then that's something important to consider. Cooley also has a reputation for a positive culture.


What should I be wary about re: EC/VC work? Also how do these firms prepare in other practice areas like M&A/Cap Markets/PE?


I'm the anon you quoted. I'm actually at neither of these firms. But I know many people at both, since I'm in the Bay Area. Off the top of my head, WSGR has a very strong M&A practice, but they split the work up between their SF and PA offices. SF handles the bigger deals. Cooley also has a strong M&A group, and they seem to do most of it in the PA office. WSGR and Cooley both have strong cap markets practices. I don't think either WSGR or Cooley has a strong PE practice. You'll probably have to look at the NYC satellites for that.

As far as EC/VC work goes, it really plays to different strengths. Even though the work might be arguably more interesting and you get to be more hands-on with the clients, the exit options won't be as strong as they would be if you worked with mature companies. You may have to bank on one of your start-ups making it big. Both WSGR and Cooley have solid relationships with major Bay Area tech players, so you're turning down the possibility of making important relationships with these companies' in-house counsel by focusing primarily on EC/VC.

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Re: Cooley vs Wilson Sonsini (Silicon Valley)

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Cooley just announced that they acquired several prominent WSGR EC/VC partners. If you're really dead set on EC/VC (which I would caution you against if you're a 2L looking at summer associate positions), then that's something important to consider. Cooley also has a reputation for a positive culture.


What should I be wary about re: EC/VC work? Also how do these firms prepare in other practice areas like M&A/Cap Markets/PE?


I'm the anon you quoted. I'm actually at neither of these firms. But I know many people at both, since I'm in the Bay Area. Off the top of my head, WSGR has a very strong M&A practice, but they split the work up between their SF and PA offices. SF handles the bigger deals. Cooley also has a strong M&A group, and they seem to do most of it in the PA office. WSGR and Cooley both have strong cap markets practices. I don't think either WSGR or Cooley has a strong PE practice. You'll probably have to look at the NYC satellites for that.

As far as EC/VC work goes, it really plays to different strengths. Even though the work might be arguably more interesting and you get to be more hands-on with the clients, the exit options won't be as strong as they would be if you worked with mature companies. You may have to bank on one of your start-ups making it big. Both WSGR and Cooley have solid relationships with major Bay Area tech players, so you're turning down the possibility of making important relationships with these companies' in-house counsel by focusing primarily on EC/VC.


Agreed. I thought I might want to do EC/VC work until I realized the exit ops aren't really my goal of going in house and chilling. The GCs I work with at startups/slightly more mature companies work a ton.

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Re: Cooley vs Wilson Sonsini (Silicon Valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:25 am

Anonymous User wrote:Wanted to get people's opinions on WSGR/Cooley. I know historically they've been seen as peers (or maybe WSGR as stronger in the past), but wanted to get an idea on where they currently stand in the emerging companies/VC space in SV and what their respective cultures are like.


I think WSGR's negative reputation on here, at least with respect to general corporate, is either outdated or overblown. In my view, you'd be hard-pressed to find three more similar firms, generally, than WSGR/Cooley/Fenwick.

These days Cooley and WSGR really seem to be battling it out for the late stage private financings and IPOs. I think Fenwick and WSGR tend to battle it out more on the big tech mergers. I think of those three as kind of the prestige/money generating practices in the Valley. But with both points I'm talking about a dozen or so data points over the last few years, so that can change quickly and has over the years. And really all three have strong practices in each of the three. Back when Fenwick did Facebook's IPO in 2012 they were hot shit. And Cooley did Snap this year, that may partially explain why they're hot now. Also this doesn't really encapsulate the more EC/VC practices, which are harder to quantify. WSGR didn't do much VC work for a while but I think that has been changing a little bit lately. They still do less than others, I think. I think for truly early-stage company stuff WSGR/Cooley/Fenwick/Gunderson are all much the same.

Cooley recently raided the shit out of WSGR, particularly on the east coast but also had quite the comeup recently with 3 bay area partners. Above information is slightly off. Only one of the three was EC/VC. The other two mostly do capital markets (i.e. IPOs) and late-stage private companies. We'll see how portable their business is but one of the partners in particular was a pretty big loss to WSGR I think.

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Re: Cooley vs Wilson Sonsini (Silicon Valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:34 pm

General question for those that might have insight to one of these SV firms: for someone that wants to start out in SV with Cooley/Wilson Sonsini for corporate but maybe lateral to NYC later (for family reasons), how easy is that to do? Particularly if I wanted to move to a top NYC m&a practice

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Re: Cooley vs Wilson Sonsini (Silicon Valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:13 am

Anonymous User wrote:General question for those that might have insight to one of these SV firms: for someone that wants to start out in SV with Cooley/Wilson Sonsini for corporate but maybe lateral to NYC later (for family reasons), how easy is that to do? Particularly if I wanted to move to a top NYC m&a practice


I left Cooley within the last year or so, but that disclaimer aside, the only reason I could see you having trouble making a move would be if there isn't a lot of office space in the NYC office/if the particular partner you work with is bad with working with people remotely (I wasn't in corp so I can't tell you to what extent that would be the case in the corp side).

Generally-speaking a lot of people in the firm make moves for all sorts of reasons and are still able to maintain their workloads; some groups do a lot more cross-collaboration than others, but overall the firm is pretty good at bringing the offices together when possible. So I wouldn't worry about starting in the BA and then, say, having to give up your docket when you go to NY. You just have to make sure you've built good relationships with the partners who will have to supply you with work, before you make the switch.

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Re: Cooley vs Wilson Sonsini (Silicon Valley)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I left Cooley within the last year or so, but that disclaimer aside, the only reason I could see you having trouble making a move would be if there isn't a lot of office space in the NYC office/if the particular partner you work with is bad with working with people remotely (I wasn't in corp so I can't tell you to what extent that would be the case in the corp side).

Generally-speaking a lot of people in the firm make moves for all sorts of reasons and are still able to maintain their workloads; some groups do a lot more cross-collaboration than others, but overall the firm is pretty good at bringing the offices together when possible. So I wouldn't worry about starting in the BA and then, say, having to give up your docket when you go to NY. You just have to make sure you've built good relationships with the partners who will have to supply you with work, before you make the switch.


Given that you have experience w/ Cooley - do you know how common it is for associates to make the move from the Palo Alto office to the San Francisco office full-time? I assume that there are always a number of associates probably want to make that move at some point right?

Thanks!




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