The new office will be headed by partner Wesley Watts, who is from Vinson & Elkins
Silicon Valley law firm Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian is opening an office in Austin to tap the region’s venture capital and emerging business ecosystem.
The company hired Wesley Watts, a partner specializing in tech startups, and Luke Thomas, senior partner at Vinson & Elkins, to lead the launch of the office.
David Young, Managing Partner of Gunderson Dettmer, said, “Austin’s growth is remarkable and our approach has always been to grow where our customers are. We’ve been representing businesses and venture capitalists in Austin for over a decade. We have been looking for the right opportunity in Austin for some time. Wes and Luke fit the culture and expansion plans of our business perfectly. “
Watts had been a partner at Vinson & Elkins in Austin for nearly five years, his practice focusing on representing emerging technologies and technology companies at all stages of their growth lifecycle, from financings to mergers and acquisitions. He also advises venture capital and private equity firms on their investments.
Prior to Vinson & Elkins, Watts was a senior partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati and a partner at Baker Botts before that. Thomas, meanwhile, joined Vinson & Elkins as a Capital Markets and Mergers & Acquisitions Partner in March 2016 after temporary stints with the company. Like Watts, his practice focuses on the lifecycle of emerging companies, including venture capital finance, mergers and acquisitions, and public offerings.
Watts said, “I have worked across the table with attorneys for Gunderson Dettmer on several occasions over the years. Given its size, Gunderson Dettmer has consistently outperformed its weight class and it is no wonder that it is the number one company in the world for emerging growth companies and venture capital and growth funds. “
He added, “Gunderson Dettmer is particularly focused on the same clients to whom I have dedicated my own practice. And that lens is perfectly suited to the unique and developing ecosystem of Austin and Texas. ”
The Austin launch is the company’s eighth office in the United States and 10th in the world. Earlier this month, American peer Kirkland and Ellis open in Austin to access the city’s technology and renewable energy markets. Top 50 US law firm Perkins Coie has also hired partners from Vinson & Elkins and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati move to Austin Last year.
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