Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian - The Inside View

Looking to capitalize on your first career venture? This West Coast wonder is a good place to start (up) with.

It goes without saying that you’ll need an interest in startups if you’re looking to join California-born Gunderson. The firm was founded during the boom of the dot-com era and has since built a reputation for itself as one of the go-to firms for anything related to emerging companies and venture capital work (as exemplified by its top Chambers USA accolades in these areas). “We are a boutique but also compete with the large full-service firms that do this kind of work,” a proud junior beamed. “I like that we’re not a full-service firm and that we all chose to come here because we were interested in this particular area.”  

“You get to work closely with company founders."

There were other immediate perks that our sources noted. First, in the startup space, “you get to work closely with company founders, and I liked the idea of being able to say that I’m interested in, say, clean energy or biotech and getting to connect with founders in those spaces.” Second, Gunderson’s smaller size means early access to “quality work – they are honest about how you will get thrown into the work quite early on. It’s kind of intimidating but also attractive!”  

TOP READ: Becoming a venture capital lawyer - the view from Gunderson 

Gunderson is a West Coaster at heart and its Bay Area office (Silicon Valley) held the most associates on our list. However, the firm’s New York and Boston offices also took on a significant chunk of juniors, so there are plenty of opportunities for aspiring Gunderson associates to carve out a career for themselves on the East Coast. The remaining associates on our list were split between the LA, San Francisco, San Diego, Austin and Ann Arbor offices. Alongside its overseas bases in Beijing and Singapore, the firm recently launched an outpost in Sao Paulo to bolster its extensive Latin America practice. Partner Brian Hutchings tells us, the new office “serves as the firm's hub for our thriving Latin America practice and underscores our confidence in the growth potential of the region’s venture ecosystem.” 

Strategy & Future 

“Our business experienced unprecedented growth, which introduced new challenges over the past year,” Katherine Gardner, partner at Gunderson tells us. “It is no secret that the technology sector has been facing economic headwinds given a number of macroeconomic events. In response to these changed market conditions, we reduced our headcount in order to maintain our commitment to delivering outstanding service to our clients and to providing exceptional career development opportunities for our lawyers.”  

But despite headwinds, the sector is fighting strong and making breakthroughs: “Most exciting right now is the exponential acceleration of development in the area of artificial intelligence, especially generative AI,” Gardner details. “We will look back on 2023 as a pivotal time, as AI advancements will disrupt and influence every industry and may profoundly alter society.” 

Read more from Hutchings and Gardner on the Get Hired tab. 

The Work  

New associates typically join one of three main practice groups: corporate, tech/IP, or fund formation. However, at the moment, we heard that “unless you're really strongly leaning towards funds or IP, they tend to put you in corporate as they need most of the people to go there.” There are also smaller practices at the firm, including dedicated labor and employment and M&A groups, which “the firm is trying to grow.”  

“...from inception to growth to exit – you work with a range of clients from the beginning.” 

The corporate department is reportedly home to the most “charismatic, outgoing people in the firm,” according to one interviewee. With the focus very much on startups, sources were keen to point out that “this is a volume practice with hundreds of clients,” which bodes well for early responsibility that juniors can snap up. Sources added that the service offered to clients is tailored to all points in a company’s life cycle, “from inception to growth to exit – you work with a range of clients from the beginning, including those that are at the growth stage and raising money; those that are going through mergers and acquisitions; and those that are going through a liquidation process.” We were told that “there's lots of work outside of the country and we have a strong Latin America practice.” Alongside startups, sources were also working for venture capital funds “that are investing in companies every year – we're doing the due diligence and making sure all the documents are in a row at the corporate level.”  

TOP READ: Working with emerging companies - the view from Gunderson

Corporate clients: Anaplan, BetterCloud, UserZoom. Represented Anaplan during its $10.4 billion acquisition by Thoma Bravo.  

“I actually use my clients’ products!” 

The tech group isn’t a practice “filled with patent prosecutors or anything – it's essentially a tech transactions group and the team takes a deeper look into the contracts and agreements between a company and third parties. They evaluate those to see, for example, if a company owns IP rights.” The people here were affectionately dubbed “the high EQ folk, because they have to read between the lines and find out if there are any potential ping points to be aware of.” The group works closely with the corporate department to provide support on deals that are going through, but also takes on its own assignments. Juniors here said there were three main types of work: “There’s financing matters, where clients are investing, then there’s M&A work, and finally there’s a general catch-all commercial strand to what we do. I like the latter because you get to work with company founders and be integrated in a way that’s exciting. On the product side of things, you get to see how products are created – I actually use my clients’ products!” The fund formation group, meanwhile, is in “its own ivory tower” and contains “the smart ones at the firm. I say ivory tower because it is higher stakes in the sense that you're forming venture capital funds that are worth millions or billions of dollars.” The work was said to incorporate partnership and tax law and involves working on client transactions for months at a time where “the paperwork must have all its i's dotted and its t’s crossed.” 

Technology clients: Tiger Global, Course Hero, The Athletic Media Company. Represented Tiger Global during several Series D and H investments into various tech platforms worth billions of dollars.  

Fund formation clients: Newpath Partners II, Spark Capital, Flybridge. Represented Munich Re Ventures, the San Francisco-based venture arm of Munich Re Group, in the formation of its $500 million second fund, Munich Re Fund II. 

“...definitely a place for self-starters and people who are responsive.” 

Across the board, “the learning curve is steep,” with a source emphasizing that “you’re expected to jump in and help, as you’re sitting in on board meetings and getting face-to-face interaction with the client.” Given the volume of work that Gunderson undertakes, “it falls on senior associates or you as a junior to really run a process to the extent you're comfortable with.” Another junior elaborated on this and stated that “it very quickly becomes a question of: ‘Are you competent to do this? If yes, then do it and if not, reach out.’” Despite this, there is plenty of support in the office, as “you can turn to the person sitting next to you." An LA source told us: "We have an open bullpen where associates sit, which provides a good way to get questions answered quickly.” Bear in mind that “for law students preferring a more structured environment, it can be challenging,” with this source highlighting that Gunderson’s “definitely a place for self-starters and people who are responsive and can think ahead to what their next two tasks are going to be – those are the people who thrive here.” 

Career Development  

“Gunderson is very relationship-driven when it comes to development.” 

Another skill needed to thrive at Gunderson is the ability to understand a wide breadth of legal topics, as this associate made clear: “Our knowledge as corporate lawyers is a mile wide and a few inches deep. There are lots of aspects of law we have to be comfortable with, so there are times when we need to dive a bit deeper.” Fortunately for incoming Gunderson associates, “you get hit with a lot of training and there's a lot thrown in your face.” Another newbie agreed that “the firm does offer a ton of training sessions,” and we heard about a ‘book club’ series that “takes a deep dive into the corporate partner manual, so we can understand why things are the way they are,” alongside monthly workshops and office hours where juniors can speak to a partner one-on-one. In terms of mentor relationships, we were advised that “Gunderson is very relationship-driven when it comes to development, so you need to be comfortable asking senior associates questions like, ‘What is the problem here?’” Another source added that “if you're passive and reserved and don’t feel comfortable asking questions it will be harder to develop those relationships.” 

In general, our interviewees felt that the path to partnership was clear in terms of timelines: “As you get more senior, they're looking for you to keep progressing and if you're making it to the 7th, 8th and 9th year, then the expectation is that you will stay here!” One associate did caveat this with an observed trend of “some people wanting to go in-house sooner rather than later, because while Gunderson is one of the best in BigLaw in terms of work-life balance, it's still BigLaw!” 


It’s not just the work that has the Silicon Valley touch, as the office culture itself is “West Coast tech-y – it's not a New York or Chicago buttoned-up firm!” Associates are typically dressed down in the office, as “it’s not a ‘wear a suit to work’ place.” The more casual vibe is further demonstrated by the existence of a large screen in one of the offices with video games on the go: “Mario Kart is definitely a thing!” one interviewee happily pointed out. On top of that, we heard about a ‘record room’ where you can sit and listen to music, and big communal spaces where many associates choose to work instead of their more siloed-off offices: “We really are a bunch of social people, and we chat to each other – it is very collaborative here.” 85% of our survey respondents agreed that the firm has an active social scene, which was a mighty 25% higher than the average market score we record. One associate summed it up as “a little more friend than colleague culture here, and I hang out with colleagues on weekends and text them outside of work.” Working relationships with partners were also spoken highly of, with one associate noting that “partners walk about and joke around the office. They put themselves out there and recognize that we are all working in a high-stress, fast-paced job, but they're trying to avoid that carrying through into the overall culture.” 

“...almost like the Oscars, but hosted by two partners.” 

As the job market navigates this brave new hybrid world, we were told that Gunderson is “trying to set up more recurring events to increase interactions,” and it was acknowledged that when the firm does put on events, it goes all out. We heard of a tiki bar crawl around San Francisco, plus a California retreat to the Ritz-Carlton, which was “almost like the Oscars, but hosted by two partners.” On a more regular basis, the tech group hosts lots of training sessions with lunches, while the corporate folks organize a monthly breakfast, and the funds people gather for a weekly lunch together. 

Hours & Compensation 

Billable Hours: 1,950 target 

Average associate hours at the firm are a little tricky to quantify, owing to the fact that the pattern of work at Gunderson is different to some BigLaw firms. One associate reflected: “We don’t do a lot of mega projects with lots of block billing. For example, I'm working on ten different client matters in a day and each one requires a small discrete task that results in a smaller amount of billable time. It’s a bit more of a patchwork project where you put the hours together.” Another junior divulged that “the most I've billed in the day is around 15 hours, but there are also days where I've billed one hour.”  

At the end of the day, the volume of work is “so dependent on macroeconomic conditions in the market,” but the firm does recognize this as it still gives a percentage of the annual bonus to associates who fall short of the 1,950 target. “It was tricky for the firm to figure out bonuses on a down year, but I got close to a full bonus and I’m just happy that I kept my job and got any kind of bonus at all!” a relieved source told us. Interviewees also appreciated that they could count up to 100 firm investment hours (spent on activities like recruiting, training, knowledge management, and DE&I) towards their target, as well as an unlimited amount of pro bono. 

Pro Bono 

One associate acknowledged that “the thing with Gunderson is that lots of pro bono tends to be litigation-focused and we don’t really have that work.” However, we were told that the firm has been making strides in finding pro bono opportunities for associates: in addition to the pro bono committee, "some third-year associates started a committee with a partner and they work really hard to reach out to organizations and set up a pro bono network. It’s in its early stages, but we’re excited about where it’s going.” 

When it comes to opportunities, “some associates will work with law school startup clinics, and we recently did a big workshop that was focused on helping immigrant survivors,” a source noted. Associates also flagged that the lack of any cap on billable pro bono work acted as an incentive to get people involved. 

Pro bono hours 

  • For all US attorneys: undisclosed
  • Average per US attorney: undisclosed

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion  

Associates generally felt that their intake and others on the junior side were diverse: “If you look at the makeup of recent cohorts it does look like the firm has done a lot and that’s reflected in our lateral recruiting, too.” Another source added that “we are getting there – it is tough, but the firm is committed. They look at other areas beyond racial and gender diversity, like first generation professionals and those with military backgrounds, too.” There’s a diversity committee and D&I manager in place, and in 2021 Gunderson added a diversity fellowship for a 1L summer in any of its US offices as part of its ongoing efforts to recruit and retain diverse associates. 

“...well publicized events that are well attended.” 

We were also told that there’s a good array of affinity groups on offer, including those for Asian-American and Pacific Islander, Black, Latinx, international, LGBTQIA+, and women lawyers, as well as designated groups for people of color, veterans, and parents and caregivers. The groups were said to host “well-publicized events that are well attended.” Another junior elaborated on this and explained that “as far as events go, they make them very approachable. They're usually in the office at lunchtime and catered in a conference room, so the barrier to attending is very low.” One source told us about a recent event that was hosted by the Black Lawyers affinity group: “We had a movie night where we went to watch Wakanda Forever, which was a cool thing. The people in the group do make themselves available and they do try to reach out to others.” A good degree of inclusivity was noted here, as joining affinity groups is open to anyone in the firm as “they want allies in there as well.” 

Get Hired

The first stage: recruitment on and off campus  

OCI applicants interviewed: 563 

Interviewees outside OCI: 65 

Gunderson Dettmer conducts OCIs at a variety of law schools, including those with robust business law societies or entrepreneurship clinics, as well as those that are geographically close to the firm's offices. These include Boston College, Boston University, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Fordham, Georgetown, Harvard, Howard, Northwestern, NYU, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Law SF, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of San Diego, University of Texas and USC Gould. Gunderson also makes an appearance at the Bay Area Diversity Career Fair, Boston Lawyers Group Diversity Job Fair, and Lavender Law. 

OCIs are usually conducted by a partner and associate team. Hiring sources at the firm explain that candidates “do not need to have prior work experience with startups or in venture capital, but it is best when they’re able to articulate why they think working with startups would be exciting and why they want to speak to us.” Specifically, candidates will probably be quizzed about what they did in the previous summer. Hiring sources explain that interviewers will be looking to see if interviewees “can express themselves clearly in a professional setting and also have a conversational feel while doing so, especially when taking a legal concept and relating it to someone who may not have the background.”   

Top tips for this stage:   

“Demonstrate interest in working with startups and knowing what we do. Our firm is very focused so when someone comes in saying they’re interested in a practice that we don’t have, it doesn’t work.” – hiring sources at the firm   

“They don’t need to know our full history of the firm, but at least have a sense of what we do and why they want to do it too.” – hiring sources at the firm   


Applicants invited to second-stage interview: 234 

Candidates who make it to the callback stage will meet with six attorneys. If the interview is in the morning it is often followed by a lunch with junior associates, while afternoon interviews may finish up with a coffee. At this stage, interviewers are looking to confirm the impression the candidate made at the OCI stage and expect them “to have done more research and have thoughtful questions for us about the practice.”   

Top tips for this stage:   

“If you get your interview schedule in advance, look at their firm profile and LinkedIn page. You don’t need anecdotes, but it will help you demonstrate that you’re interested in speaking to those attorneys about our firm, clients, or their practice.” – hiring sources at the firm   

“Expect some of the standard questions: Why Gunderson? Why startups? Why tech? The work is specialized so they want to make sure you’re interested.”– a second-year associate   

Summer program   

Offers: 54 

Acceptances: 26 

During Gunderson’s summer program, work assignment coordinators in each office keep in touch with summers throughout the program and keep in mind their areas of interest for work. Although there is no formal rotation process, summers are encouraged to try their hand at assignments across the board. Social events differ office to office, but associates informed us of weekly happy hours and the occasional dinner hosted by partners.   

Gunderson tells us most summers return to the firm as first-year associates. “We begin having discussions about practice area interest throughout the summer program,” hiring sources explain, “so we generally know who will be in which practice by the end of the summer.”   

Top tips for this stage:   

“Act as though you’re a first-year associate and already an associate at the firm. We don’t expect the work quality and knowledge to be the same, but we expect you to act in regard to your peers, associates, partners, non-attorneys, and clients as though you’re a professional in the firm.” – hiring sources at the firm   

And finally….   

Hiring sources say it’s a good idea for students to get in touch sooner rather than later: “It makes a difference if you’re on our radar before you walk into the OCI interview room.”  

Interview with firm partners Brian Hutchings and Katherine Gardner

Chambers Associate: How would you define your firm’s current position and identity in the legal market? 

Brian Hutchings, partner: Gunderson Dettmer is the established market leader for the innovation economy – guiding both high-growth companies and the venture capital and growth equity firms investing in them. It is the only law firm in the world dedicated entirely to serving that clientele, and every GD attorney spends 100% of their time on those types of companies and funds. As technology and life sciences continue to dominate the global economy, our deep industry experience enables us to anticipate and navigate the unique challenges and opportunities faced by our clients. Our steadfast commitment to the innovation economy worldwide allows us to provide best-in-class service, skill, and expertise. 


CA: Have there been any developments at the firm over the past year that you would like our readers to know about?   

Katherine Gardner, partner: Our business experienced unprecedented growth, which introduced new challenges over the past year. It is no secret that the technology sector has been facing economic headwinds given a number of macroeconomic events.  In response to these changed market conditions, we reduced our headcount in order to maintain our commitment to delivering outstanding service to our clients and to providing exceptional career development opportunities for our lawyers. While those were difficult decisions to make, we are confident in our strategy and remain dedicated to being the industry-leading law firm of choice for venture capital investors and technology and life sciences companies. 

Entrepreneurs continue to build. Most exciting right now is the exponential acceleration of development in the area of artificial intelligence, especially generative AI.   We will look back on 2023 as a pivotal time, as AI advancements will disrupt and influence every industry and may profoundly alter society.  As legal advisors to companies and investors developing the most cutting-edge products and tools, we are participating in this technological revolution and the novel legal challenges it brings. These client experiences require forward thinking and creative solutions to untested questions that have propelled us to be thought leaders for our clients and the industry.   


Hutchings: We also see opportunities beyond the US. In a development that I am especially focused on as a partner in the Latin America practice, we opened our newest office in São Paulo, Brazil in 2022. It serves as the firm's hub for our thriving Latin America practice and underscores our confidence in the growth potential of the region’s venture ecosystem. We believe that innovation will continue to drive the Latin American economy, and we are committed to being at the forefront of legal services in this dynamic market. 


CA: Are there any domestic or international events/trends (legal, economic, political, social) affecting the work conducted by the firm or the way in which it is structured and run?  

Hutchings: A number of factors, including lower technology stock valuations, higher interest rates and the war in Ukraine, have led to a sharp decrease in the availability of capital for private, emerging companies. As a firm deeply rooted in the innovation economy, we have been through similar contractions in the past, such as following the bubble in 2001 and the financial crisis in 2008. We draw from this experience to help our clients navigate market volatility and adapt to the changed landscape, providing strategic advice, education and other support.  A law firm’s depth of expertise becomes even more important in times such as these, because financings and acquisitions are often more difficult to arrange and come with a greater number and complexity of terms and conditions. The banking crisis that began in March also had a substantial impact on our clients. In its aftermath, we have helped companies and funds strengthen their cash management practices and find new, non-traditional sources of lending.  

Just as importantly, in response to the evolving legal landscape and the increasing demand for efficiency and cost-effectiveness, we continue to make significant investments in technological tools that enhance our capabilities in due diligence, document automation, contract management, and data analysis. As a firm, we are committed to staying at the forefront of legal practice innovation, ensuring that we harness the power of both technology and deep human expertise to streamline processes, enhance client service, and provide impact.  This technology has the additional benefit of making lawyers’ work more interesting.  As we automate routine and repetitive tasks, we free up time for lawyers to focus on critical business and legal issues requiring judgment and deep analysis.  


CA: What is your firm's strategy and how do you expect the next year to unfold?  

Gardner: We built a firm focused on the future and haven’t looked back. We’ve always represented “what’s next” and will continue to do so.  

 We remain laser-focused on being the market leader in our space by representing more venture-backed private companies and private venture and growth funds globally than any other law firm.  We continue to recruit and hire the best and the brightest and are dedicated to recapturing our pre-Covid office culture which differentiated us from so many other law firms and made us the employer of choice for the most talented attorneys. 

 In addition to AI, we expect to see significant growth and change in other sectors, including climate/green tech, web3, bioengineering, fintech, healthtech, domestic chips/semiconductors, and computing.  We will be at the forefront of the technology developments and investment dollars fueling this growth. 

 In the midst of change, we never lose focus on growing our core competencies, specifically: 

  • Nurturing growth-minded innovative companies: We will continue to represent a diverse range of private and public companies, helping them navigate complex corporate issues, strategic transactions, licensing, executive compensation, employment, M&A, and public offerings. 
  • Venture and growth equity funds: We will continue to represent top-tier venture capital and growth equity funds in their fund formation, fundraising, operations, and investment activities. We are proud to represent 2/3 of the Forbes Midas List of top venture capitalists.  
  • Venture and growth equity financings: We will maintain our leadership in closing venture capital and growth equity financing transactions, enabling substantial capital to flow into high-growth companies worldwide. 
  • M&A and IPO Transactions: We will continue to guide our high-growth company clients in M&A and IPO transactions. Mergers and acquisitions have long accounted for roughly 90% of all venture-backed exit activity, and we begin positioning our clients appropriately at their earliest stages to establish strategic options. We’ve handled thousands of domestic and cross-border M&A transactions worth tens of billions of dollars for clients across a wide range of technology and life sciences industries. For our clients entering the public markets, our deep focus on technology and life sciences industries keeps us at the cutting edge of the market dynamics and trends most relevant to our clients.  

 Geographically, we anticipate opportunities both domestically and internationally. In the past two years, we opened up new offices in Sao Paulo and Austin, and will continue to evaluate our footprint in response to market demand.  


CA: How is the firm evolving to accommodate the needs/expectations of the next generation of lawyers? 

 Hutchings: We recognize the importance of evolving to meet the needs and expectations of the next generation of lawyers. Our firm is committed to being the employer of choice for lawyers who want to focus their careers on the innovation economy. Here are a few key ways we are doing this: 


  • Professional development and mentorship: We provide numerous professional development programs and mentorship opportunities to help the next generation of lawyers thrive in their careers. Our experienced attorneys serve as mentors and provide guidance, support, and opportunities for growth. 
  • Embracing technology and innovation: We understand that the next generation of lawyers expects cutting-edge technology and innovative tools to support their work. We invest in state-of-the-art legal technology and provide training and resources to ensure our lawyers can leverage these advancements effectively. 
  • Diversity and inclusion: We actively promote diversity in our hiring practices, leadership positions, and throughout the firm. We believe that diversity enhances our ability to deliver innovative solutions and better serve our clients. 
  • Work-life balance and flexibility: We prioritize work-life balance and offer flexible work arrangements to accommodate the evolving expectations of lawyers. We understand the importance of achieving a healthy work-life integration and encourage a supportive and inclusive culture. 


We aim to create an environment where our lawyers can excel, grow, and make meaningful contributions to the firm and our clients.  


Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian

550 Allerton Street, Redwood City,
Silicon Valley,
CA 94063

Main areas of work
Corporate: Gunderson’s corporate lawyers focus exclusively on the emerging technology and life sciences market, guiding entrepreneurs through early stage issues, helping them to scale their companies, accelerating their businesses, and preparing for an M&A or capital markets exit.

Licensing, Strategic Partnering & Commercial Transactions (Tech): The firm’s technology team works on strategic transactions to leverage unmatched business knowledge and sophisticated insights to develop, acquire and monetize technologies, even creating new business models to bring products to market. Our practical guidance and sophisticated perspectives become more valuable as our clients mature and grow.

Venture Capital & Growth Equity (Corporate and Fund): Gunderson is the recognized leader in the venture capital and growth equity fund formation marketplace. We routinely negotiate close to one-third of every venture capital dollar raised worldwide. We serve as general counsel to more than 500 venture capital and growth equity firms, representing many of today’s most prominent venture capital firms since their inception; facilitating their ascent to household names and their exploration of new investment strategies, emerging economies and international expansion.

Tax: From formation to financing to exit, the firm’s tax lawyers advise founders, executives and investors on tax matters at each stage of the business growth cycle. Gunderson’s tax team provides guidance on structuring transactions and ongoing counsel for tax planning and compliance issues. The firm recognizes that tax advantages and business purposes often conflict, and the tax team is adept at figuring out how to achieve the right balance to serve its clients. We advise clients on financings, restructurings, spin-offs, and exits, with an emphasis on IPOs and taxable and tax-free M&A.

Executive Compensation: We have worked with thousands of companies to design, draft and administer equity compensation plans, executive agreements, severance and change in control arrangements, incentive bonus programs and other incentive based plans that are essential to emerging growth and maturing companies’ abilities to attract and retain top talent.

Firm profile
Gunderson Dettmer is the only international corporate law firm singularly focused on the global venture capital and emerging companies marketplace. We serve market-leading venture capital and growth equity investors and pioneering companies through inception, growth and maturity, as well as groundbreaking public companies that result from the global venture capital ecosystem. We are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment in which each employee can excel and thrive. We seek to enrich our firm by recruiting, retaining and promoting lawyers, paralegals and professional staff from diverse backgrounds, and with wide-ranging experiences. We believe that a workforce comprised of individuals with a broad set of backgrounds, experiences and beliefs who openly and fully engage with each other is essential to advising our clients effectively and providing fresh and innovative solutions.

With 400 attorneys in 11 offices—Silicon Valley, Ann Arbor, Austin, Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Beijing, São Paulo, and Singapore—we represent high-growth technology and life sciences companies from a broad range of industries and at every stage of development. We provide our clients with counsel on general corporate and securities law, mergers and acquisitions, financings, intellectual property and commercial agreements, strategic alliances, executive compensation, employment, privacy, public company and tax matters.

Our market approach gives us the insight and networks to provide practical advice and guidance that is of critical importance to emerging companies looking to grow, scale and expand. We support companies at every stage of their life cycle by leveraging industry relationships, embedded market knowledge, and strategic business insights tailored to our clients’ needs.

The firm is also a recognized international leader in representing venture capital and private equity investment funds. With extensive international experience, our attorneys provide general counsel, fund formation and investor representation services to hundreds of the world’s leading venture capital and private equity firms.

We are consistently recognized as the leader in venture capital and growth equity fund formations and equity financings, routinely earning the highest industry rankings from PitchBook, Chambers & Partners, Legal 500, Best Lawyers, and others. 

Law Schools attending for OCIs in 2023:
Boston College Law School, Boston University School of Law, Columbia University Law School, Cornell Law School, Duke University School of Law, Fordham University School of Law, Georgetown Law, Harvard Law School, Howard University School of Law, New York University School of Law, Northwestern University School of Law, Stanford Law School, University of California, Berkeley School of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law, UCLA School of Law, University of California, College of the Law, San Francisco, University of Chicago Law School, University of Michigan Law School, University of Southern California Gould School of Law and The University of Texas School of Law

Recruitment outside OCIs:
Bay Area Diversity Career Fair, Lavender Law and The Boston Lawyers Group Annual Diversity Job Fair.

Summer associate profile: We look for candidates who have a demonstrated record of academic success, excellent interpersonal skills, strong business judgment and an entrepreneurial spirit. Prior work experience, especially in a technology or life sciences area at a startup or in a VC environment, and/or participation in transactional and/or entrepreneurship clinics or student organizations is a plus. JD/MBA candidates are encouraged to apply.

Summer program components: Our Summer Program is offered in our Ann Arbor, Austin, Bay Area, Boston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Diego offices. It is designed to give you hands-on experience and better insight into life as a junior associate at Gunderson Dettmer. You’ll work directly with partners and associates in our three core practice areas: Corporate, Fund Formation, and Licensing, Strategic Partnering and Commercial Transactions (“Tech/IP Group”).

As a Summer Associate, you will take on a variety of work assignments on projects that may include: venture financings, commercial transactions, mergers and acquisitions, technology licensing, privacy compliance, venture fund formation and a range of other impactful and substantive work for our clients. Throughout the summer, you will participate in a robust training program to enable you to take on meaningful assignments and participate in a variety of social events to further acquaint you with the firm and our attorneys. By the end of our program you will have gained direct experience with the emerging technology marketplace and insight into building a career at Gunderson Dettmer.

Social media:
Recruitment website:
Twitter: @gundersonlaw
Linkedin: gunderson-dettmer

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2023

Ranked Departments

    • Technology: Transactions (Band 3)
    • Venture Capital (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 3)
    • Private Equity: Fund Formation (Band 3)
    • Private Equity: Venture Capital Investment (Band 2)
    • Technology (Band 3)
    • Private Equity: Fund Formation (Band 3)
    • Startups & Emerging Companies (Band 1)
    • Technology (Band 4)

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