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Palo Alto, Calif.’s Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati chairman Larry Sonsini scored another notch in his power belt, landing a new spot as a director of the world’s largest stock market. The New York Stock Exchange board of directors elected Sonsini last week as one of five new members to its 26-member governing body. Sonsini, whose two-year term begins immediately, is filling one of 12 seats reserved for representatives of the public. The board also consists of 12 seats for securities industry professionals and two for NYSE officials. Each member may serve up to three consecutive terms. Sonsini said he is honored by the post and hopes to represent the interests of the technology industry to the Big Board, as the NYSE is known. “My interest is in really being the voice of technology and representing the technology sector worldwide at the Big Board,” Sonsini said. He said he hopes to serve on the board’s committee that emphasizes the quality of the markets, saying the efficiency of the NYSE is a driver for all companies. Sonsini may have his work cut out for him. Most tech companies are too small to be traded on the NYSE and stage an initial public offering on the competing Nasdaq instead. Before the mid-1990s, technology companies would trade on Nasdaq until they could qualify for the Big Board. In recent years, many tech companies like Sun Microsystems Inc. have chosen to remain on Nasdaq. Over the past year, however, that’s been changing. In that time, some high-profile tech companies like E-Trade Group Inc., Global Crossing Ltd. and Sybase Inc. have made the jump to Big Board trading. With Sonsini, the NYSE gets a fast track to the most influential securities law firm in Silicon Valley. Wilson Sonsini has taken public more tech companies in recent years than any other law firm, though most of those offerings were on the Nasdaq. New members elected to the board alongside Sonsini were Jean-Marie Messier, chairman and CEO of Vivendi Universal, William Harrison Jr., president and CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., both of whom also sit in seats reserved for the public. From the securities industry, the new directors are Michael Carpenter, chairman and CEO of Salomon Smith Barney Holdings Inc. and Christopher Quick, CEO of Fleet Meehan Specialist Inc. Sonsini also will be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Leon Panetta, former President Clinton’s chief of staff who is now director of the Leon and Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy at California State University-Monterey Bay.

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