Business of Law

Wilson Sonsini Leases Hipper Offices, Offers Free Advice in Push to Attract Start-Ups

Lawyer Yoichiro Taku acknowledges his firm’s new offices in a warehouse in San Francisco’s SoMa district have a marketing benefit.

The offices could be those of a high-tech company, with exposed lighting and unusual decorations, including a British telephone booth, the New York Times DealBook blog reports. “It definitely makes us hipper,” says Taku, a partner with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Wilson Sonsini counseled Google when it went public, but the firm is facing increasing competition in the high-tech market, the story says. Though the firm still dominates venture capital deals, “its once-absolute grip on the market has slackened,” according to the Times.

As a result of the competition, Wilson Sonsini and other law firms are trying new tactics to gain credibility with technology companies. The story offers an example: Wilson Sonsini joined with AngelList to post standardized deal documents online. The firm will help start-ups process the forms for free if they agree to become a client.

The firm recently co-hosted an event at its SoMa offices for 30 start-ups to pitch their ideas to potential investors. Free pizza was served along with California-brewed beer called Trumer Pils.

Wilson Sonsini’s efforts “are critical,” the story says. “While early-stage ventures represent just 20 percent of the firm’s business, those companies can generate hefty fees as they mature.”

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