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Wilson Sonsini

Our Survey Says


 Having an entrepreneurial attitude will go a long way in trying to land a spot at Wilson Sonsini, as will an interest in the firm’s industries and tech clients. Candidates should brush up on behavioral interviewing and come prepared with their own questions. The firm has a hardworking yet friendly culture, where hanging out after work or on Zoom (during the pandemic) happens regularly. Transparency is positive—Wilson Sonsini has regular town hall meetings, with an opportunity for associates to ask questions. Some wish there was more insight into promotion early on. For those not seeking the partnership route, in-house positions are abundant, given the firm’s tech client base. Associates agree that the firm’s 1,950 billable-hour requirement is reasonable, and the firm’s hours coordinator helps distribute work. But like most large, elite firms, workload can be overwhelming at times. Associates are compensated handsomely for their hard work with market compensation and bonuses, as well as special bonuses and spot bonuses for exceptional work. Plus, the firm offers a host of wellness offerings, including the Ginger app and an extra two weeks of vacation during the pandemic—40 hours of which are billable. Associates also receive support via training and mentoring—new associates have a first-year guide to assist them and receive in-depth training, like “Litigation 101.” Some lament that they don’t have enough time to take advantage of these trainings, however. Pro bono is part of life at Wilson Sonsini, and associates can count unlimited pro bono hours to their billables. In terms of diversity, the firm has a diversity and inclusion team, and associates rave about the firm’s commitment.


Firm Culture

  • “Our firm, and particularly our office, has done a great job with communicating through the pandemic. Through regular Zoom meetings, including social events and informal check-ins, we have been able to maintain some of our firm culture even during a pandemic. We're all working remotely, but we are still working together as a team.  There is definitely a sense that those managing the firm and our office do genuinely care about our well-being during the period of isolation we are experiencing.”
  • “People work hard but everyone is friendly and helpful.”
  • “Lawyers socialize in the office and after hours. Pre-pandemic, partners and associates would regularly eat lunch together or grab coffee. The firm also offers regularly scheduled snack breaks. After-hours socialization (again pre-pandemic) include associate happy hours and women's group activities.”
  • “… Zoom mentorship and check-ins have been plentiful.”

Associate/Partner Relations

  • “Individual partners I work with are excellent. Firm leadership is fairly transparent. Town halls are organized in the virtual space at times to try and keep everyone informed.”
  • “We have partner mentors and partners are always happy to discuss career development. We have annual reviews and monthly feedback worked into our program for first and second years.”
  • “Reviews are annual but partners are open to listening from associates and answering questions. [The] firm is pretty transparent as it has town hall meetings and anyone can send questions in advance.”
  • “Our teams are leanly staffed, so associates of all levels (including fall associates/1st years) work directly with partners. Partners provide feedback and grant associates as much responsibility as they prove they can handle. Partners also reach out and make an effort to get to know associates through virtual coffee breaks, teams calls, etc. …” 


  • “I have a lot of autonomy and flexibility, although the work is (of course) very demanding at times. The billable-hour requirement is quite reasonable, and the firm's policy of counting 100% of pro bono hours towards the billable requirement is fantastic.”
  • “It's is very busy right now, which is good and bad. You can take on as much responsibility as you want/can.”
  • “Our yearly goal is 1,950 [hours], which is very manageable. We get those hours organically (e.g. partners/senior associates we've worked with before reaching out to ask if we'd like to work on another project with them) and through our hours coordinator, who makes sure everyone has work and no one is overloaded. Our hours coordinator also makes sure that the work we're getting aligns with our interests (e.g. litigation, mergers, etc.). …”
  • “This is going to depend on the associate's ability to accept or turn down work depending on their current bandwidth. When I've been swamped with work, I have been able to say ‘no’ to assignments without any issue.”


  • “We receive full market salary and bonuses (including all special bonuses). There are also spot bonuses given out on occasion to associates who have performed exceptional work on a matter. The firm also provides a pretty sizable referral bonus if you recommend someone who ends up working at Wilson. The firm also provides a health subsidiary to cover expenses incurred for your physical health (gym memberships, etc.).”
  • “Firm salary is market, bonuses and hours requirement are market, and the firm has given all extra bonuses offered in 2020 and will do the same in 2021. We are offered re-imbursements for office related expenses like paper and printing ink, which is nice as well. No complaints.”
  • “I really appreciate that the firm pays market compensation in all offices.” 

Quality of Work

  • “I find my work fascinating. Within my first week in my role (as a junior attorney), I was drafting memos and letters/disclosure to government agencies.”
  • “Associates are often given work that is above what would normally be expected. For example, I'm a second year, but I regularly communicate with clients about substantive matters, work with vendors, etc. There's also the substantive work that one would expect at this level (legal research, drafting memos, redlining objections and responses, etc.). Also, there is some less exciting work (looking at you, document review), but that work is still a great learning experience.”
  • “The work I perform is substantive and appropriate for my level. In addition to having a lot of opportunity for substantive work, I also shadow higher level projects to prepare myself for more complex projects.”
  • “I do very substantive work for a first year and little due diligence. I directly interact with the client and the opposing counsel on every deal I've been on so far.”


  • “Firm technology is overall very good and the firm has adapted very well to a remote working environment, especially from a communication standpoint.”
  • “One of the great aspects of the firm is their commitment to improving the technology they use to improve workflows and try and automate tasks where possible, like signature pages.”
  • “The firm has provided a stipend to help subsidize the cost of a work from home setup.”

Wellness Efforts

  • “The firm provided two weeks of additional vacation, including 40 billable hours, for both 2020 and 2021 as a result of the Covid pandemic. They have also provided various platforms for feedback regarding wellness.”
  • “The firm provides a subscription to Ginger, a mental health app, as well as 12 free therapy sessions per year.”
  • “Wellness app subscriptions, such as Calm and Ginger Emotional Support; additional time off; mindfulness and exercise classes; health eating classes; panel on mental health with partners discussing personal experience with mental health crises; work from home related expense reimbursement.”

Training & Mentoring

  • “Every incoming associate is linked with a First Year Guide to field questions, concerns, etc. Also, we had a ton of ‘Litigation 101’ presentations within the first several weeks at the firm to introduce us to the nuts and bolts of litigating a case.”
  • “Training is available to each associate to the extent they want to take advantage of it. The firm offers all associates a plethora of formal training experiences, portals, exercises, presentations, and guides. It is up to the associate to take advantage of these resources since no one will force you to do it. I have found them to be tremendously helpful. Mentoring is similar, in that you are assigned a mentor and in my experience that mentor has been more than willing to help answer questions, guide me on deals, and serve as a sounding board for ideas. Again, it's available to the extent the associate wants to take advantage of it.”
  • “There are plenty of trainings, but I am usually too busy to attend. You also do not get billable hours credit for a training even if it is mandatory, which I know some people find frustrating. I learn most from the brilliant partners I work for, who are always willing to take time to help me grow as a lawyer.”
  • “Partners are very interested in mentoring and in my experience, this turns into active sponsorship. The firm regularly solicits ideas for trainings in addition to its already robust program.”

Career Outlook

  • “Promotion seems realistic for those who want to stick it out. It's a lot of work. There are senior counsel roles for associates who like working at a law firm but don't want to make partner. Associates have the whole world of in-house positions at technology companies open to them. Partnership is not too transparent.”
  • “The firm has an excellent reputation among its client base, and moving in-house seems to be a viable exit opportunity. Our office is smaller, but it does seem like there are realistic paths to partnership for those who are on that track, and senior counsel roles for those who are not.”
  • “Partnership is a realistic path for those who would like to make partner, though the process becomes more transparent the more senior you get. There are a few non-partner roles, including counsel, to which senior associates can transition. Associates from my firm exit to clients including tech, bio tech, pharma and energy companies from ground up and also to banks and government entities.”


Pro Bono Commitment

  • “The firm is committed to pro bono. Pro bono hours count as billable hours with no limits. The firm's pro bono program includes regular small business clinics and domestic violence clinics, [as well as] litigation, immigration, environmental, and family matters.”
  • “Pro bono is promoted throughout the year, including through a pro bono listserv of available pro bono opportunities. Each office has an annual celebration of the pro bono efforts in the office. Pro bono hours count as billable hours, with no cap. I am currently acting as a guardian ad litem for a child in foster care, and this past fall, I worked on formation documents for two nonprofits and logged several shifts on an election protection hotline.”
  • “… I have worked on immigration applications, corporate governance review and incorporation of nonprofits, and involvement with election protection programs.”
  • “The firm puts its money where its mouth is. I'm working on an innocence evaluation, a conservatorship case, an immigration case, and a lawsuit by a nonprofit.”

Diversity Efforts

  • “The firm is very committed to diversity.”
  • “We're extremely diverse, and the firm makes a conscious, effective effort to promote and grow that diversity. Our chair is a woman and more than half of this year's partner class are women. We also have a firmwide and office-specific women's group, which meets monthly. There's also a yearly women's summit, which focuses on challenges women face and strategies for overcoming and eradicating those challenges. There are similar groups/programs for different ethnicities, LGBTQ+ individuals, those with disabilities, etc. We also offer a generous parental leave (for all parents) and provide back-up childcare. We dedicate a large amount of pro bono hours and money to funding equity-serving opportunities and we offer billable hours credit for diversity-related work/activities.”
  • “There is a diversity and inclusion team that handles awareness and outreach. It was created in the last few years, and I think it was a big step for the firm. I'm glad it exists. The firm recently began to offer billable credit for diversity-related activities.”
Wilson Sonsini

650 Page Mill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Phone: (650) 493-9300

Firm Stats

Board Chair: Katharine Martin
Managing Partner: Douglas Clark
Hiring Partners: Wendy Devine, Andrew Hoffman, John McGaraghan, Kathy Rothman, Libby Weingarten, Lou Lieto
Total No. Attorneys (2022):
1K - 1.5K
No. of Partners Named 2022:
Billable-Hour Requirement:

Base Salary

1st year: $215,000
2nd year: $225,000
3rd year: $250,000
4th year: $295,000
5th year: $345,000
6th year: $370,000
7th year: $400,000
8th year: $415,000
Summer Associate: $215,000

Employment Contact

Elizabeth Pond
Senior Manager, Firmwide Law School Recruiting
(650) 493-9300
Cherie Beffa
Director, Attorney Recruiting
(650) 493-9300

No. of U.S. Offices: 13

No. of International Offices: 5

Major Office Locations

Austin, TX
Boston, MA
Boulder, CO
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Palo Alto, CA (HQ)
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA (Financial District)
San Francisco, CA (SOMA)
Salt Lake City, UT
Seattle, WA
Washington, DC
Wilmington, DE I Beijing
Hong Kong

Major Departments

Capital Markets
Corporate Governance
Emerging Companies
Employee Benefits & Compensation
Employment Litigation
Energy & Infrastructure
Export Control & Sanctions
Finance & Structured Finance
Fund Services
Greater China
Intellectual Property
Mergers & Acquisitions
Patents and Innovations
Patent Litigation
Privacy & Data Protection
Regulatory & Compliance
Complex Litigation & Investigations
Tax & Tax Equity
Technology Transactions
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.