While Dow Jones ranked firms by total number of deals, private equity and venture capital, V.C. deals tend to have smaller price tags. Counting only private equity work, the top 10 list is led by Latham & Watkins.



Larger firms with established East Coast practices, like Latham; Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker; and O’Melveny & Myers, scooped up a lot of the private equity work. More Silicon Valley-centered firms like Wilson Sonsini and Cooley Godward Kronish kept busy with hundreds of venture capital deals.

On the private equity side, deals often climbed into the billions and even tens of billions last year. One of the biggest was the buyout of Harrah’s Entertainment � a deal worth $27.8 billion. The casino giant hired Latham, capping a banner year for the firm’s private equity practice. Latham’s Kerman attributed the flurry of buyouts to a good economy, the success of private equity firms and debt availability being “as prevalent as it’s ever been.”

DLA Piper’s “middle and upper middle market” private equity practice has been developing over the past five years to rival more established venture capital practices, said Anthony Rickert, co-chairman of the firm’s private equity practice.

O’Melveny lawyers were also busy with private equity and venture capital deals. The firm finished fifth overall in deals done, completing 116 private equity deals and 249 venture deals.

“I don’t think most Valley firms can do both,” said Warren Lazarow, O’Melveny’s Silicon Valley managing partner. “They don’t have as big of a New York institutional client base as we have � I think we’re unique in that way.”

VENTURES AND GAINS

Valley firms far outstripped the nation in venture deals in 2006, as evidenced by Wilson Sonsini and Gunderson Dettmer leading the list. Cooley; Fenwick & West; and Heller Ehrman, whose corporate practices focus on startups and venture funds, made the top 15, with the vast majority of their deals in the venture category.

Having Funds

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