Inside the Corporate Department: What’s a Neighborhood?

An Inside Look
Two story houses in neighborhood aerial with cars in driveways and the street

Every firm has its own insider knowledge base—the quirks and ways of working that are hard to understand until you actually work there. Wherever possible, we try to tell you about those quirks as you’re researching us so that you can get a better understanding of how we operate. Which leads us to answer the question:

Neighborhoods are specific to the Corporate department, and they all practice general corporate and securities law. They are subgroups of our Corporate department, with each one covering a range of practice areas within Corporate, and sometimes representing certain types of clients or industries. You can tell the difference between a neighborhood and a practice group by their names—practice groups are named things like Real Estate or Fintech and Financial Solutions, while neighborhoods are named things like Sierra, Redwood, or Cypress. We started calling them neighborhoods because each group’s members typically sit close together.

We don’t talk that much about neighborhoods when we talk about careers at Wilson Sonsini because they can be hard to explain. In our Palo Alto and San Francisco offices, there are several neighborhood groups in each office, and they all essentially do the same thing – represent start-ups to public companies on general corporate and securities matters. We developed our Launch program to allow our entry-level associates in Palo Alto and San Francisco to work across the neighborhood groups in their office for their first two years to find the neighborhood that is the best fit for them. Over your time in Launch, you’ll get to understand what each neighborhood does and work closely with our Career Development Team to ensure that you get the experiences you are looking for from Launch. At the end of Launch, you’ll join a neighborhood within Corporate, or a practice group that participates in Launch, to continue your professional path with us.

Outside of Palo Alto and San Francisco, we also have neighborhood groups, but typically there is only one neighborhood per office. For example, in Seattle, there is the Seattle Corporate group, and in Austin, the Austin Corporate group. Launch does not extend to these offices because the entry-level Corporate associates in those offices will join the only neighborhood in that office.

As you can tell, neighborhoods aren’t something you need to worry about much unless and until you join Launch or lateral into our Corporate department in Palo Alto or San Francisco. But if you’re curious, just remember that our neighborhoods practice general corporate and securities work for start-ups, late-stage private companies, public companies, venture capital funds, investment banks, etc. Some groups focus on technology companies, while others focus on life sciences or medical device clients. Some groups have more public company clients, while others focus entirely on company-side representation of start-ups. Our Career Development Team will guide you as you get more familiar with the neighborhoods as an associate at the firm.

Our associates tell us that the biggest benefit of our neighborhood groups is that you have partners who are focused on your development because you are a part of their neighborhood. The partners in your neighborhood are your mentors, your supervisors, and your champions. The other associates in your neighborhood are your closest colleagues with whom you’ll work on different clients and matters. Our neighborhoods have frequent team meetings and social gatherings. And they collaborate with other neighborhoods, so you’ll have an opportunity to work with attorneys and legal professionals in other neighborhoods and practice groups across the firm.

Interested in the work of one of our practice groups or neighborhoods? Want to learn more about Launch or one of our practice groups? Check out the resources on our website, come meet us on campus or at another event, or reach out to us directly and we’ll connect you with an attorney for a conversation.