Sonsini Leaves Father's Firm to Join Real Estate Co.

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In a surprise to many in Silicon Valley, Matthew Sonsini is leaving the firm his father founded to become executive VP of the The Sobrato Organization, a local real estate company founded by his father-in-law.

Many had speculated that Sonsini, a member of the policy and nominating committees at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, would eventually become a firm leader, the Recorder reports.

“I’m surprised—he’s one of the people that I certainly considered to be integral to the firm,” David Saul, a former Wilson Sonsini lawyer now at Ropes & Gray, is quoted saying. “I believed that his roles and responsibilities reflected the expectation that he would be one of the future leaders of the firm.”

It’s unclear, however, whether Sonsini is indeed giving up his shot at firm leadership. He told the Recorder that he is not resigning from the partnership and may return at some point.

“I don’t know how long the leave is going to extend and what it’s going to lead to,” Sonsini is quoted saying. “This experience is going to make me a more effective attorney, and a more effective leader.”

His father left the door open too.

In a release about his son’s move, Larry Sonsini offered nothing but praise. “He has made a significant contribution to the firm, both in serving clients and in exhibiting management leadership. It goes without saying that he has been, and always will be, part of the firm, and the door always will be open for his return.”

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