On Labor Day weekend 23 years ago, a group of six former Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison partners subleased office space on Hansen Way in Palo Alto, California, from a small intellectual property firm.
The group of Brobeck defectors created a first-of-its-kind outfit that now focuses solely on the venture capital and emerging technology marketplace. During the last two decades, Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian has grown from its boutique beginnings in Silicon Valley to a 240-lawyer firm with nine offices across the U.S. and Asia.
Robert Gunderson and Scott Dettmer, along with fellow founding members Brooks Stough, Thomas Villeneuve and Steven Franklin, all remain partners at the firm. The firm’s modern, chic workplace in downtown Redwood City is worlds away from the “air tank”-size office that helped Gunderson Dettmer get off the ground in 1995.
The firm’s Redwood City headquarters has adopted “the optimal work environment” that its technology industry clients often use, explained partner Ivan Gaviria, who led the search for new office space.
“For us, the key has been the right balance of traditional law firm space with private offices … and adding the element of flexible, collaborative and open space,” Gaviria said.
The new Silicon Valley outpost, located at 550 Allerton St. in Redwood City, does not have corner offices, but does have ample open space to encourage collaboration. It is also easily accessible via public transportation, no easy feat in the Bay Area.
That new space, which Gunderson Dettmer officially moved into last week, comes as the firm has mostly remained out of the legal business media spotlight following its landmark decision in 1999 to raise first-year associate salaries to $125,000.
Tune back in next week for a more in-depth look at the Silicon Valley firm and its unique business model.