SF/SV firm practice area strengths

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rosemi

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SF/SV firm practice area strengths

Post by rosemi » Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:45 am

I'm a rising 2L at a T6 looking to break into norcal biglaw, with a preference for SF. Could someone give me a quick market breakdown of the reputations of each of the top firms in the region - Cooley, WSGR, MoFo, Fenwick, Latham etc?

Specifically looking for insight into which practice areas are particularly strong for each firm. (I'm interested in tech transactions and general corporate.) Any knowledge would be greatly appreciated.

The Lsat Airbender

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Re: SF/SV firm practice area strengths

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:36 am

Have you looked at Chambers?

lawlo

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Re: SF/SV firm practice area strengths

Post by lawlo » Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:05 pm

rosemi wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:45 am
I'm a rising 2L at a T6 looking to break into norcal biglaw, with a preference for SF. Could someone give me a quick market breakdown of the reputations of each of the top firms in the region - Cooley, WSGR, MoFo, Fenwick, Latham etc?
Specifically looking for insight into which practice areas are particularly strong for each firm. (I'm interested in tech transactions and general corporate.) Any knowledge would be greatly appreciated.
WSGR, Cooley, Fenwick. Mofo and Latham SF not great for transactional.

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JusticeHarlan

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Re: SF/SV firm practice area strengths

Post by JusticeHarlan » Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:43 pm

The Lsat Airbender wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:36 am
Have you looked at Chambers?
This was going to be my response, too, but I went over to check out the NoCal tiers there after not having looked at their site in a while and . . . Chambers kind of sucks now? They have rankings for "California: Northern" but only for real estate and tax. Then the also have "California: San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Surrounds" but only for Corporate/M&A and Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation. Like, they don't break it down by traditional M&A, emerging company/venture capital, etc. for that market, so Skadden is ranked alone in Tier 1 for Corporate/M&A, and then the traditional Silicon Valley powerhouse firms are lower, like WSGR and Fenwick at Tier 2, Cooley at Tier 3, Gunderson didn't even make Tier 4, etc. Then in New York, they have seven different subcategories of tier rankings for "Media and Entertainment", including one for "Film, Music, Television and Theater" and then separate ones for each of "Television and Film," "Music," and "Theater" but they don't have any rankings in New York for Capital Markets, Banking & Finance, Private Equity, or big and important practice areas. What's going on there, did they recently get bought by Harrison Barnes too or something?

SamuelDanforth

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Re: SF/SV firm practice area strengths

Post by SamuelDanforth » Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:44 pm

lawlo wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:05 pm

WSGR, Cooley, Fenwick. Mofo and Latham SF not great for transactional.
This seems like too strong of a statement. Doesn't WSGR, for example, have a sizeable chunk of its Bay Area M&A team in SF? It seems fair to say that WSGR and Fenwick have stronger practices in SV, but not that their SF offices aren't great. MoFo also has a very strong Tech Trans practice in SF if memory serves.

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hangtime813

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Re: SF/SV firm practice area strengths

Post by hangtime813 » Sat Jul 25, 2020 11:15 pm

Foley and Pillsbury have solid technology transactions practices in SF based on my experience with them for outside counsel.

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the lsat failure

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Re: SF/SV firm practice area strengths

Post by the lsat failure » Sat Jul 25, 2020 11:48 pm

Probably easier to separate tech trans and general corporate:
TT: Cooley/Mofo, WSGR/Fenwick, Gunderson/Goodwin (in that order, IMO, but always hazier than people want to admit)
Corporate: Depends on the kind of corporate work. Typical NorCal corporate work with native tech companies largely goes to the aforementioned firms. I suggest looking into which firms represented certain clients in their financings/IPOs. If you're looking for more NYC-style finance/M&A, it's going to be your Skadden/DPW/STB/KE/L&W types. SF leans more litigation, Palo Alto leans more corporate (but not always the case).

Gunderson is a huge player in the ECVC space (especially on the VC side), and I have many friends that chose to go to Gunderson over the traditional Bay Area firms because of the early GC-type work they're exposed to. People sleep on Gunderson, but it's a great fit for those who really jive with early-stage company advising.

Skadden/L&W PA = usually large public M&A
DPW = surprisingly strong Cap Markets work
STB/KE = mainly driven by PE clients (funds, debt, M&A), with the former doing larger deals with less volume, the latter doing middle market with more volume.

Being hired directly into tech trans can be quite difficult, as the group @ each firm tends to hire only a handful of students each year. It's always popular as it's often seen as the gold standard for going in-house.

rosemi

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Re: SF/SV firm practice area strengths

Post by rosemi » Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:38 am

Thank you all so much! Yes - I did look at Chambers but found the rankings lacking in specifics, so the above breakdowns were very helpful.

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Re: SF/SV firm practice area strengths

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:31 pm

How does lit break down among firms in SF? Summered at the SF satellite office of a more lit-heavy V50 and am interested in what the big players in the area are.

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franny90

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Re: SF/SV firm practice area strengths

Post by franny90 » Sun Aug 02, 2020 4:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:31 pm
How does lit break down among firms in SF? Summered at the SF satellite office of a more lit-heavy V50 and am interested in what the big players in the area are.
the big native CA firms - gibson, latham, OMM - are pretty dominant in areas like class actions and white collar. MoFo and Cooley if tech focused lit. for non-big law, Keker is excellent and Munger but their SF office is small.

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