WSGR (SV) or Latham (SV/SF)?

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rubyhenrietta

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WSGR (SV) or Latham (SV/SF)?

Postby rubyhenrietta » Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:35 pm

I am currently a corporate associate looking to lateral and have narrowed my options down to Wilson Sonsini (SV) and Latham (SV/SF). I am hoping to eventually go in-house to a public company (not very interested in EC/VC work although I am open to working on this type of work at either firm). Would appreciate any advice/thoughts on this.

I have been talking to associates at both firms but wanted to get a view outside of that... The questions I have are:
- Exit options: which firm has the best exit options for public companies in the Bay Area? It seems like WSGR has more "cool" SV clients/more recognized name in the Bay?
- Billable hours: Requirement is slightly higher at WSGR (1950 vs. 1900) but I am wondering if that really makes a difference? A lot of people I know at non-SV/SF Latham offices do not make their bonus, but maybe that just depends on the office.
- Culture: Latham gave me a better vibe but curious if that was just about the people I happened to meet?

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Re: WSGR (SV) or Latham (SV/SF)?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:13 pm

Ex Latham associate here with friends at Wilson. My take is to go Wilson if you want to exit to a company in the bay area.

1. Exit ops are better at Wilson, full stop. It's not even close. Latham doesn't have any big pubco clients outside of broadcom and american airlines and I havent heard of anyone exiting to those companies in a long time. The exception seems to be TTG tech and IP lit at Latham, where there seems to be a strong pipeline to Facebook.
2. Billable hours requirements don't matter. You will work a shitload at LW, as much or more than at Wilson.
3. Culture is hit or miss at Wilson. The caveat is Wilson SV is big enough that you could find someone that you enjoy working with. If you don't like working with the 2 or 3 rainmakers at latham SV, you are SOL (a lot of people around Latham don't like working with a these rainmakers).

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Re: WSGR (SV) or Latham (SV/SF)?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:51 am

Based on your questions, probably WSGR. A lot of people think, for better or worse, WSGR has transitioned to less early stage work and more capital markets/large SV public co representation. Probably a much better path to Facebook in-house at WSGR than Latham. I don’t even know how much Latham SV/SF really plays in that space - anecdotally I haven’t seen them there.

1950 vs 1900 is a wash, and don’t know enough about the two cultures (or what a good culture is to you).

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Re: WSGR (SV) or Latham (SV/SF)?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 20, 2020 2:56 pm

Having spent time at/worked across these firms, WSGR is a better choice given your goals. They have a deeper bench of "sexy" pubco clients (think Tesla, Square, Lyft vs. a bunch of small biotech companies) and a greater share of IPO work.

The billable requirement doesn't mean anything. You will work a lot at both firms. At WSGR, your quality of life will depend heavily on the group that you join, so do your diligence beforehand.

Re: culture, see the note about WSGR's groups above. That said, Latham SV seems to have an tough culture overall, which I suspect has something to do with the economics of that office. This is purely speculation as I don't know how profitable that office is, but they do a lot of startup work and their rates for that kind of work undercut the other firms in the area. At the same time, they've aggressively poached partners from other firms in the past few years, which generally is a risky move since lateraling partners demand high comp but can't guarantee that their clients will move with them. These are factors that do not tend to improve the associate experience.

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Re: WSGR (SV) or Latham (SV/SF)?

Postby rubyhenrietta » Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Having spent time at/worked across these firms, WSGR is a better choice given your goals. They have a deeper bench of "sexy" pubco clients (think Tesla, Square, Lyft vs. a bunch of small biotech companies) and a greater share of IPO work.

The billable requirement doesn't mean anything. You will work a lot at both firms. At WSGR, your quality of life will depend heavily on the group that you join, so do your diligence beforehand.

Re: culture, see the note about WSGR's groups above. That said, Latham SV seems to have an tough culture overall, which I suspect has something to do with the economics of that office. This is purely speculation as I don't know how profitable that office is, but they do a lot of startup work and their rates for that kind of work undercut the other firms in the area. At the same time, they've aggressively poached partners from other firms in the past few years, which generally is a risky move since lateraling partners demand high comp but can't guarantee that their clients will move with them. These are factors that do not tend to improve the associate experience.


Could you give me more background on the groups? Unfortunately as a lateral I don't get to "choose" one, so I would sit with the one I interviewed for.

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Re: WSGR (SV) or Latham (SV/SF)?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:47 pm

Not poster above, but the group with the toughest culture is probably saper. They seem to have great exit ops tho.

Pacific is pretty large, so their culture is kind of all over the place.

No idea on presidio and the rest.

Mods please leave Anon. My post history would easily identify me.

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Re: WSGR (SV) or Latham (SV/SF)?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:40 am

My understanding is that Presidio is even larger than Pacific, so same issue applies.

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Re: WSGR (SV) or Latham (SV/SF)?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:16 pm

Not the previous Saper poster...but mods, this would also out me, so please leave anon.

I am ex-Saper, and ex-Latham. I would choose WSGR. Latham is very large, very global and not necessarily corporate-focused. WSGR is comparatively much smaller (as a firm), but is still enormous and has a huge client base. WSGR is also very corporate-focused, and if that's what you want to do, the level of collaboration cross-firm, precedents, and alumni all over the Valley is high. My network is insane. Cosign that your experience at WSGR will vary considerably by group, but even within groups, there are different partners. WSGR does have great exit opps, an incredible training program, and a strong focus on precedents and form base to make your work more efficient (e.g. you don't have to spend time finding stuff--you can just do the work).

Latham has a few true ogre partners (cough, Pohlen, cough) and, as a firm, I saw some ethical lapses that made me deeply uncomfortable. The best part about Latham was the really physically lovely SV office, leaving, followed only by the great alumni group (also strong). I will note that the GC and AGC Corporate of Tesla are friends...from my time at Latham. I am not sure if they now use WSGR (I haven't been at WSGR for a few years). That said, there are some really, really awesome Latham SV partners--I loved them.

I'd also like to say, as a Saper group alum...I have so many "hilarious" Jeff stories. One of my favorites was when he walked into a group meeting, realized he knew almost none of his associate's names (even though some of them had been there more than a year, and then said, "Wow, you all are one of my favorite groups of Saper associates in a while." because he couldn't think of what else to say. It really made us feel like we were known and special. The rest of the partners in the group are very good, especially Steve Bernard and Rezwan Pavri, (but Rez is a beast in terms of how hard he works--but his clients are amazing.)

Either way, you're going to be able to get in-house. And BTW, many young law school grads find VC work more sexy (it's not, but there's a perception), so having public company skills is very highly in demand on the in-house side, because there's less folks floating around the Valley who have a strong skillset in that looking to go in-house.

Good luck.

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