Matthew Sonsini
Matthew Sonsini ()

SAN FRANCISCO — Matthew Sonsini—son of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati chairman Larry Sonsini—returned to the family business Monday. He had been away for almost eight years.

“It feels like coming home,” Matthew Sonsini said.

Matthew Sonsini rejoins Wilson Sonsini as a partner in the firm’s Palo Alto office. His practice focuses on advising private-company clients on venture financing and private-equity matters. For the past eight years, Matthew Sonsini served in multiple roles at The Sobrato Organization, which includes real estate development and investment businesses as well as a philanthropic arm.

Matthew Sonsini said two things spurred his return: first, an evolving tech company landscape that could allow him to rebuild his practice in a new way. Matthew Sonsini said that he has seen the marketplace change into a landscape where “every company is a tech company.” He said that his firm has always matched the growth that it saw in its clients, and as technology and Wilson Sonsini get larger, now is the right time to come back. He said he missed his practice and his colleagues.

The second factor in getting Matthew Sonsini back home was the completion of his work at The Sobrato Organization.

“I wore about every hat and I had a hand in everything,” Matthew Sonsini said. During his tenure at The Sobrato Organization, Matthew Sonsini served as executive vice president, chief operating officer and, most recently, chief investment officer. Under his recent title, he directed the strategy behind Sobrato’s investment arm—Sobrato Capital—handling investments in private and public equity and venture capital. “Part of [my work] was professionalizing the securities investment platform, … and that work, of professionalizing the management team, which are now world class, has really been completed.”

Matthew Sonsini said that working at The Sobrato Organization gave him a new perspective on what clients need when working with outside counsel. He said his experience on matters like securities investments, governance and tax—especially from a nonlegal position—will help him understand and connect with his clients and help steer them through company growth. He will continue to serve as a board member for The Sobrato Organization. The company is not a client of his and never has been in the past.

Matthew Sonsini started his legal career at Latham & Watkins after earning his law degree from UC-Berkeley School of Law. He later lateraled to Cooley, where he became partner in 1999. He joined Wilson Sonsini in 2001 and spent seven years with the firm as a partner, joining The Sobrato Organization in 2008.

There was a family tie to the Sobrato job, too: Matthew Sonsini is married to Lisa Sobrato Sonsini, the daughter of John A. Sobrato, the chairman and founder of The Sobrato Organization. Lisa Sobrato Sonsini is the board president and trustee of the Sobrato Family Foundation, a philanthropic arm that she created in 1996. Her brother, John M. Sobrato, is the chief financial officer.

Contact the reporter at druiz@alm.com.