Irell & Manella litigator and a former winner of the reality TV show “The Amazing Race” Victor Jih has joined Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in its Los Angeles office.
The Palo Alto-based law firm snagged Jih as a partner in its litigation department. He’ll be a member of the firm’s internet strategy and litigation practice.
Jih, who had been at Irell & Manella since 2015, is just the latest departure from the firm which last month announced a pivot toward litigation, particularly IP and complex business matters, and away from “non-core practice areas.”
Though Jih initially joined the litigation boutique with the thought of staying there, this period of transition presented him with an opportunity to think about his future.
“The reality is Irell is going through a period of transition—of figuring out what their focus going forward is going to be and there’s no question that they’re an amazing IP platform,” he said.
But given his breadth practice, he considers himself a generalist litigator. “This was the right time for me to think about what I want to do going forward and what’s the best platform for me,” Jih said.
Jih began his legal career in 1996 at O’Melveny & Myers, becoming partner in 2003, where he specialized in entertainment and media litigation, before heading to Irell.
During that time, Jih competed on the 14th season of CBS reality-adventure series, “The Amazing Race.”
He and his sister Tammy Jih Murray, a former litigator at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan who now works at Google, became the first Asian American contestants to win the competition in 2009.
Jih represents clients ranging from start-ups to motion picture studios to leading technology companies in First Amendment, unfair competition, consumer privacy, class action defense, and other commercial litigation. He also works with clients in the internet, software, and retail sectors.
He has represented Hulu LLC in several lawsuits including its successful dismissal in 2015 of claims the video streaming service violated privacy laws by sharing viewers’ histories.
But as Irell contemplated its future, Wilson Sonsini approached Jih with the opportunity to launch the firm’s presence in Southern California forward, focusing on the intersection of media and technology, he said.
“I feel very fortunate that the right moment of thinking about leaving coincided with the moment where I suddenly learned about this opportunity,” he said.
Wilson Sonsini managing partner Doug Clark said in a statement that Lih’s addition “enhances our Southern California presence and adds even greater experience to our highly successful internet strategy and litigation practice.”
Jih said his goal is to build on what the firm already has and grow a robust Southern California generalist litigation practice. The firm’s Los Angeles office, which opened in 2013, has 32 attorneys.
“The goal is to grow,” he said, “what it looks like, it’s a little too early to tell.” Jih said the firm is also given serious consideration to moving to Century City in a few years.
As Jih and his former firm Irell face new futures ahead, he is very optimistic at the prospects for both.
“I think great things are ahead for them and I think great things are ahead for me,” he said.