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Wilson Sonsini to Open in Boulder for Life Sciences, Technology

Feb. 1, 2022, 9:22 PM

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati will open an office in Boulder, Colo., one of the fastest-growing U.S. markets for life sciences and technology, the firm said Tuesday.

Vern Norviel, a patents and innovation partner, and Tony Jeffries, a corporate partner, are among lawyers who will practice at the new location that will open this quarter. More than 700 Colorado-based life sciences companies raised $2.4 billion in financing last year, the firm said.

“We opened in Boulder because we’ve seen the opportunity,” Jeffries said in an interview. “It’s always been a place with talented and great entrepreneurs and people doing interesting things, but the scale—the volume—has really gone up in the last three to five years.”

The Boulder location follows Wilson Sonsini’s announcement last November that it was opening an office in Salt Lake City, Utah. State Supreme Court Justice Deno Himonas will practice in that office as a partner after he retires from the bench in March.

With nearly 900 lawyers, the firm reported $1.13 billion in gross revenue in 2020, according to AmLaw data. Colorado-based life sciences and technology clients include Edgewise Therapeutics, Foresight Diagnostics, Solid Power and Cerebral Therapeutics.

“Opening in Boulder reinforces our interest in expanding our life sciences and technology practice in that important market,” said Wilson Sonsini managing partner Doug Clark in the statement.

Boulder is Wilson Sonsini’s 18th office overall. It has 13 locations in the U.S., three in China, and two in Europe. The firm is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif.

Norviel will split time between Colorado and California after the office opens, the firm said. The new office also will include associates and staff from Wilson Sonsini and those hired from elsewhere, according to the firm.

Though hiring was not a key strategy in the decision, Jeffries said the office is “an opportunity for some really great people to come back to the firm or others to join.”

Washington-based Crowell & Moring announced a new office in Denver, Colo., last October. New York legal recruiter Erica Bernstein said new offices help firms stay close to clients and to keep or attract partners.

“At least right now firms really are working with their people, not just the rainmakers, but also the service partners,” Bernstein said. “We will continue to see openings in somewhat surprising places, including those that are often thought of as vacation locations.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Ruiqi Chen in Washington, D.C. at rchen@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com