PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the premier provider of legal services to technology, life sciences, and growth enterprises worldwide, announced today that the firm is opening an office in Salt Lake City, which Utah Supreme Court Justice Deno Himonas will join upon his retirement from the bench in March 2022. In the Salt Lake City office, he will join Wilson Sonsini partners Marc Porter, who comes to the firm from Holland & Hart, and Matt Squires, most recently of the firm's Seattle office.
"With today's announcement, we enhance our longstanding client relationships in the region, recognize Salt Lake City for the vibrant market it has become for emerging technology and life sciences companies, and we look forward to adding an invaluable asset to the firm in the person of Justice Himonas," said Doug Clark, managing partner of Wilson Sonsini. "Our expansion into Salt Lake City will allow us to better serve Utah's innovative companies, as well as the investors and institutions that support them."
Wilson Sonsini has advised more venture capital firms on Utah-related deals and more Utah-based issuers on IPOs than any other firm since 2016, ranking first in each category by a substantial margin. The firm ranks fourth among law firms in advising on Utah-related mergers and acquisitions in the same period. "We have been actively advising on capital markets, venture financing, M&A, and other transactions in the Utah business community for many years," said Allison Spinner, the leader of Wilson Sonsini's corporate department. "The addition of Marc Porter and relocation of Matt Squires cements our long-term presence in Salt Lake City and makes it even easier for us to address the sophisticated needs of clients in the growing Utah market."
Since 2019, Wilson Sonsini has had a physical presence in Utah through SixFifty, a software subsidiary that develops automated tools that make legal processes—like drafting employee handbooks—efficient and affordable. "The firm has recognized Utah as a site of innovation, and the opening of a firm office here just confirms that," said Kimball Dean Parker, the CEO of SixFifty and the director of LawX, a legal design lab at Brigham Young University Law School. "It's fitting that the Utah office of Wilson Sonsini will include Justice Himonas, one of the most forward-thinking members of our judiciary."
Justice Himonas will join Wilson Sonsini's litigation and appellate practices and advise companies on complex governance and regulatory issues. He served as a trial court judge in Utah for 10 years before his appointment to the Utah Supreme Court in 2015. Throughout his legal career, he has concerned himself with issues relating to the access and affordability of civil justice in the U.S. court system. Justice Himonas has received widespread acclaim, including distinction by the American Bar Association as a "Legal Rebel," for his work with Utah attorney John Lund to establish Utah's Office of Legal Services Innovation and a regulatory "sandbox" allowing entities to explore new ways of delivering legal services. More than 25 innovations are being piloted in the sandbox.
Porter has developed a leading corporate practice for technology, consumer products, and life sciences companies in Utah, where he has spent much of his professional career, and beyond. He executes a substantial volume of financings and liquidity events each year for early- to late-stage private companies as well as venture capital firms. Before entering private practice, he served a clerkship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit and graduated from Brigham Young University Law School.
Squires, a Utah native and head of the firm's Latin America practice, brings significant experience with both domestic and cross-border venture financings, mergers and acquisitions, and public and private capital markets transactions for clients in technology, software, logistics, clean energy, and other industries.
"Utah continues its rapid momentum as a great place to do business, particularly for technology companies. Wilson Sonsini's presence not only validates that fact, but makes it truer than ever," said Josh James, technology visionary and founder and CEO of Domo, a Wilson Sonsini client. "The firm is already a critical advisor to many local companies and executives, including me, and with this move, it has set the table for even greater things to come in Utah."
About Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati For more than 60 years, Wilson Sonsini's services and legal disciplines have focused on serving the principal challenges faced by the management and boards of directors of business enterprises. The firm is nationally recognized as a leading provider to growing and established clients seeking legal counsel to complete sophisticated corporate and technology transactions; manage governance and enterprise-scale matters; assist with intellectual property development, protection, and IP-driven transactions; represent them in contested disputes; and/or advise them on antitrust or other regulatory matters. With deep roots in Silicon Valley, Wilson Sonsini has offices in Austin; Beijing; Boston; Brussels; Hong Kong; London; Los Angeles; New York; Palo Alto; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; Shanghai; Washington, D.C.; and Wilmington, DE. For more information, please visit www.wsgr.com.
Representative Utah Clients
Wilson Sonsini represents more than 30 clients headquartered in Utah.
Representative Utah Matters
Recursion IPO: Wilson Sonsini represented clinical-stage biotechnology company Recursion Pharmaceuticals in its $501 million upsized initial public offering—one of the largest biopharma IPOs this year.
Entrata Private Investment: Wilson Sonsini represented Entrata, a comprehensive property management software provider, in connection with a $507 million private investment, the largest private investment round in Utah history.
Divvy Series D: Wilson Sonsini represented Divvy, a leader in spend management with corporate users including the Utah Jazz, in a $165 million funding round that valued the company at $1.6 billion.
Securities Class Action Dismissals: Wilson Sonsini has secured dismissals with prejudice of federal securities class actions in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah for ZAGG, USANA Health, Pluralsight, and Domo.
Additional Bio Details
Consistently recognized for excellence in corporate work by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America, and other outlets.
Clerked for Judge Paul J. Kelly Jr. on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.
Former lead articles editor, Brigham Young University Law Review.
J.D., Brigham Young University Law School, summa cum laude, 2000
B.A., Brigham Young University, 1995
Named a "Top Rising Star" by The Deal (2021).
Named a "Rising Star" by Washington Super Lawyers (2017-18).
J.D., New York University School of Law, 2008
M.A., English Literature, Brigham Young University, summa cum laude, 2005
B.A., Brigham Young University, magna cum laude, 2002
Fluent in Portuguese, knowledgeable in Spanish.
Justice Constandinos "Deno" Himonas
Grew up in Price, Utah.
First Greek American to serve on the Utah Supreme Court.
Served as a trial judge in Utah's 3rd District Court from 2004 to 2015.
Oversaw more than 100 jury trials.
Before leaving the bench, he was the only non-Mormon on the Utah Supreme Court.
Select presentations, panels, and publications:
South by Southwest 2019, "Adopting Online Courts in Utah's Legal System" (panel)
2019 International ODR Forum, Keynote Address
Legalweek 2020, "Utah, California, Arizona, Oh My! What Changes to Law Firm Ownership Rules Really Mean" (panel)
Himonas & Hubbard, "Democratizing the Rule of Law," Stanford Journal of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, Volume 16, Issue 2 (June 20, 2020)
Life Fellow, American Bar Foundation
Pioneers of Progress President's Award, The Days of '47
Rebuilding Justice Award (co-recipient), Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System
Judicial Excellence Award, Utah State Bar
Honorary Alumnus of the Year, University of Utah College of Law
Legal Rebel, ABA Journal
J.D., University of Chicago Law School, 1989
B.A., University of Utah, magna cum laude, 1986
Notable rulings by Justice Himonas
Authored a 4-1 decision of the Utah Supreme Court allowing transgender individuals to change the sex designation on their drivers' licenses and other state records. In the Matter of the Sex Change of Sean W. Childers-Gray, f.k.a. Jenny Pace, and Angie Rice, f.k.a. Arthur Edward Rice.
Authored a unanimous opinion ruling that state law requiring medical malpractice plaintiffs secure a "certificate of compliance" from a state agency is unconstitutional under the separation of powers doctrine. Yolanda Vega v. Jordan Valley Medical Center LP.
Authored a unanimous opinion ruling that a lawsuit brought by the family of a woman who drowned in a creek in a city-owned park should not have been dismissed under the state's recreational use statute. Feldman et al. v. Salt Lake City Corp.
Justice Himonas: "I am excited to be joining a firm that not only practices law at the highest possible level but has consistently pushed the entire profession forward. Wilson Sonsini does such a good job representing innovative clients because it has an innovative mindset itself. That's what drew me to the firm."
Marc Porter: "Wilson Sonsini has no peer, in Utah or elsewhere, in providing sophisticated counsel to emerging technology companies. I'm gratified that the firm has acknowledged the vitality of Utah's business climate with its decision to move into the city, and I'm honored to play a role in that expansion myself."
Matt Squires: "Utah is ready for Wilson Sonsini, and the firm, for its part, is equally ready to serve its existing and future clients in this growing region. Our presence on the ground will allow us to be an even more integral part of Utah's future."
Caz Hashemi, head of Wilson Sonsini's litigation department: "Justice Himonas complements the firm's appellate and investigatory practices in unique ways. He will bring a rare level of stature to any engagement he touches, the insights of a visionary, and, most importantly, a keen mind for legal analysis."
Customer base: SixFifty's many corporate customers include Nissan, Vineyard Vines, ING, Cole Haan, and Allbirds.
One-to-one model: SixFifty releases at least one free tool for every tool that generates revenue. SixFifty developed, for instance, Hello Landlord and Hello Lender tools to help renters and homeowners affected by the pandemic to access federal relief.
PIPL: SixFifty has released a tool to help organizations comply with China's Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL). SixFifty previously released products to help organizations comply with data privacy laws implemented in the European Union (the GDPR), California, and Nevada.
Employee handbook: SixFifty previously released a tool that automatically generates employee handbooks covering more than 60 different company policies (from dress codes to Family and Medical Leave Act policies) in every state, customized to the business in question.