Freshfields Hires Another Wilson Sonsini Partner as Firm Grows in Silicon Valley

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer on Monday said it has hired Brandon Gantus, continuing its expansion in Silicon Valley two years after the London-founded law firm’s arrival there.

Gantus, who advises technology companies on the employee benefits and compensation pieces of transactions, joins 2,800-lawyer Freshfields as a partner after 14 years at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, a Palo Alto-founded firm with a large stable of tech industry clients. Freshfields also added corporate partner Andrew Hill from Wilson Sonsini in May.

Gantus, who focuses on M&A and capital markets transactions, represented software company CA Technologies in its $18.9 billion acquisition by Broadcom Inc in 2018 and biotech company Pharmacyclics Inc in its $21 billion acquisition by AbbVie Inc in 2015, according to Freshfields. Earlier in his career Gantus helped advise on longtime Wilson Sonsini client Twitter Inc’s 2013 initial public offering. He has also advised companies including Samsara Inc, DoorDash Inc and Lyft Inc on IPOs, Freshfields said. A Wilson Sonsini spokesperson said the firm wishes Gantus well.

Freshfields launched in Silicon Valley in July 2020 with seven partners, mainly recruited from U.S. law firms. By June the firm said it had nearly 40 lawyers there and had moved into a new office with a 10-year lease in Redwood City. Other major law firms have also opened new outposts in the Bay Area in recent years, hoping to increase their share of technology-related legal work.

Gantus, who helps companies draft equity-based compensation plans, said that as capital markets activity in particular has slowed down over the past six months companies have started to “think creatively” about how to retain employees. He joins Freshfields’ U.S. employee benefits and executive compensation practice, which gained co-leader Nicole Foster from Cravath, Swaine & Moore in January. The firm lost one of the practice leaders, Maj Vaseghi, who returned to Latham & Watkins in March.

Freshfields, which also has offices in New York and Washington, D.C., has grown its lawyer headcount by 55% in the U.S. since 2019 to nearly 300 lawyers, according to a spokesperson.