Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Alicia Towler White
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
(212) 497-7774

PALO ALTO, CA (February 1, 2011) - Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the premier provider of legal services to technology, life sciences, and growth enterprises worldwide, is pleased to announce that it is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2011. Founded in 1961—a decade before the term "Silicon Valley" entered the world's lexicon—the firm has grown from a single, modest office in Palo Alto into one of the nation's leading law firms, with nine offices throughout the United States and in China.

"Since its inception, the firm has been privileged to play a role in the evolution of Silicon Valley," said Chairman Larry Sonsini. "We started with a handful of attorneys dedicated to serving the area's emerging technology and venture capital communities—a daring thing to do at the time. From the beginning, our emphasis has been on representing growth enterprises, as well as the financial institutions that fund them. Over the years, we grew alongside these clients, expanding our services to meet their needs as they evolved into more mature companies. Today, the firm has more than 600 attorneys and our client base encompasses thousands of national and global growth enterprises, large and small, public and private. Throughout these changes, we always have remained proud of our Silicon Valley roots and our commitment to entrepreneurialism, diversity, and growth enterprises. The Valley's spirit of innovation and many contributions to technology have been a source of inspiration and strength for our country, and we take pride in the role we have played."

The firm began in 1961 as McCloskey, Wilson and Mosher. In his notes many years later, founder John Wilson explained that "the firm was formed to carry out the 'full service plan,'" which included a passion for "interesting work," a resolve to "stay in close touch with clients" to understand their needs and solve their business objectives, a willingness to "take some risks" if the firm believed in the client, teamwork, and a commitment to diversity.

"It's amazing how true the firm has stayed to those founding principles," Sonsini said. "They have proven to be the basis for a remarkably sound and flexible business model and helped us weather many changes over the years. As we reflect back on this past half century of service, we cannot thank our clients enough for their trust and support, and we look forward to many more years of partnership."

A Brief History

In 1961, Pete McCloskey, John Wilson, and Roger Mosher opened a small office on Welch Road in Palo Alto. McCloskey left six years later to represent California in the U.S. Congress. Larry Sonsini came on board in 1966, and the firm was renamed Wilson, Mosher & Sonsini in 1973. John Goodrich and Mario Rosati joined in 1970 and 1971, respectively, and after Mosher left in 1978 to start his own enterprise, the firm was renamed Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. John Wilson remained a vital part of the firm until his death in 1999.

After several interim moves and expansions, the firm settled into its current headquarters at 650 Page Mill Road in Palo Alto in 1994. It opened its first national office in Kirkland, Washington, in 1998 (relocated to Seattle in 2004). Other national offices soon followed: Austin (1999); San Francisco (1999); Washington, D.C., area (2000); New York (2001); and San Diego (2004). The firm opened its first international office in Shanghai, China, in 2007 and one in Hong Kong in 2010.

During its 50 years of operation, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati has been privileged to work with the world's most innovative companies and financial institutions, and has had a hand in many of the most significant and high-profile deals and cases coming out of Silicon Valley and beyond. The firm is widely acknowledged as a leader in the fields of corporate governance and finance, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, securities litigation, employment law, intellectual property, and antitrust, among many other areas of law.

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