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If the San Jose, Calif.’s sprawling oddity, the Winchester Mystery House, were more tastefully decorated, it could look a lot like some of the law firms in Silicon Valley. After all, they never seem to stop building. Take Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, for example. It’s losing its ongoing race for office space in Palo Alto. The 750-lawyer firm has had to double up its first- and second-years for the past few years, and the incoming class of freshman lawyers won’t get special treatment either. Keeping up with growth has been a struggle to be sure. Fenwick & West, for example, has even taken all six floors of a new office tower to be built in Mountain View, Calif., to increase its space in Silicon Valley. And firms are growing their San Francisco outposts as well. Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, for example, is taking over six new floors in its office tower on Spear Street. Donna Petkanics, Wilson’s managing director of operations, said ramping up to accommodate growth is an ongoing process. “We’re always striving not to have to do it,” she said. On California Street in Palo Alto, where Wilson already has several buildings, the firm is constructing new offices to house 90 lawyers. The newest space will be open next fall, but it’s too soon to tell whether the next freshman class will get their own offices. Looking on the bright side, Petkanics said the younger lawyers have responded positively to sharing space. “It’s like having a roommate and having someone they can bounce stuff off of,” said Petkanics, who herself has an office in a California Street building instead of the main one on Page Mill Road. Petkanics said associates don’t seem to mind — as long as its temporary. That could be. After all, associates really don’t need privacy until the third year — when they start job hunting.

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