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Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Chairman Larry Sonsini turned down the job as interim head of the embattled New York Stock Exchange, the firm announced early today. The exchange board offered Sonsini, head of the Silicon Valley firm, the post late Wednesday after it had accepted the resignation of Richard Grasso. Grasso quit following controversy over his $139 million pay package. Sonsini’s nomination took Wilson Sonsini partners by surprise and many hadn’t heard their chairman was offered the job even as the firm’s top management scrambled to discuss it with Sonsini. Sonsini was not available for comment. Many securities lawyers in the Bay Area predicted that Sonsini — who sits on the exchange’s board of directors — would take the job given its prestige. The current board members, however, are facing some of the same critics who had called for Grasso’s resignation. It is unclear what prompted Sonsini to turn down the offer or whether he may reconsider at a later date. The New York Times reported today that Sonsini was one of the few who supported Grasso in recent days.

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