Retired Partner
Intellectual Property


Catherine S. Kirkman retired as a partner from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in 2012 at age 50 after 20 years at the firm. As leader of the media practice, Catherine gained national recognition for her expertise in media-related transactions and counseling. Over the years, she was instrumental as media and technology counsel for countless ventures in Silicon Valley. Notably, she worked with YouTube from its inception until its sale to Google.

Catherine served as a chair of the firm's Nominating Committee and a member of its Finance Committee. She was the firm's first part-time partner, having two sons during her tenure. She also was active in pro bono matters for non-profit clients such as Creative Commons and the underserved community in East Palo Alto. Catherine served as an adjunct professor at UC Hastings College of the Law, as well as a guest lecturer at Stanford Law School and the UC Berkeley School of Law. As publisher of the Silicon Valley Media Law Blog, she was quoted frequently in news publications. Prior to joining the firm in 1992, Catherine practiced at Loeb & Loeb in Los Angeles, California, where she specialized in entertainment law transactions.

In retirement, Catherine remains active in the Silicon Valley venture and tech community, serving as a consultant, community volunteer, and research fellow for organizations related to media, privacy, and youth law.

  • J.D., Stanford Law School, 1989
    With Distinction; Member, Order of the Coif
  • A.B., Harvard College, 1986
    Magna Cum Laude; Member, Phi Beta Kappa
  • Fellow, Center for Internet & Society, Stanford Law School
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • General Counsel, pro bono, Student Equity Action Network
  • Certified Privacy Professional, International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), with CIPP, CIPP/C CIPP/G, and CIPP/IT certifications
  • Past Member, Board of Directors, Bar Association of San Francisco, Work/Life Balance Task Force, No Glass Ceiling Task Force
  • Past Member, Advisory Board, Stanford Law School Program in Law, Science & Technology
  • Named in Northern California Super Lawyers for six consecutive years prior to retirement in the area of Arts & Entertainment Law (top 5 percent of all attorneys)
  • Named one of two "standout" partners at the firm in addition to Larry Sonsini in The Legal 500 US, Volume II (2007 ed.)
  • Recipient (on multiple occasions) Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati's Community Service Award and Pro Bono Award
  • State Bar of California

Contact Information

650 Page Mill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Phone | 650-320-4721

Email | Catherine

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