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October 7, 2011 12:39 PM

A Corporate Lawyer Remembers Steve Jobs

Posted by Brian Baxter

The New York Times reported Friday that in the months before he died this week at age 56, Apple chairman and cofounder Steve Jobs spent a great deal of his time with family and also sought to say goodbye to certain friends and colleagues.

Others in touch with the technology visionary in his final days may not have even known that they were talking to him for the last time.

Silicon Valley corporate lawyer Larry Sonsini, chairman of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and a close Jobs confidante when it came to Apple's transactional work, was among those in contact with Jobs recently.

Saying he was "very saddened" by Jobs's death and calling him "a true giant of industry," Sonsini told the Los Angeles Times that he spoke with the Apple cofounder a week before he died and that "he was totally engaged as we discussed what was going on in the business world."

Wilson Sonsini's relationship with Cupertino, Calif.–based Apple goes back as far as the company's initial public offering in 1980, which raised $1.7 billion. Larry Sonsini told the LAT that while he and Jobs were preparing the offering—the biggest in the United States since Ford Motor Company's listing in 1956—Jobs said that personal computers would one day be as common as bicycles.

Wilson Sonsini went on to handle several other high-profile transactional matters for Apple, as well as for other companies that Jobs either launched or played a major role in, including NeXT Computer and computer-animation film studio Pixar. Jobs turned to Wilson Sonsini, for instance, when he sold Pixar to The Walt Disney Company for $7.4 billion in January 2006 in a deal that saw him become a member of the media conglomerate's board of directors and its single largest shareholder.

In other Apple-related legal news, sibling publication The Recorder reports that the company's general counsel, D. Bruce Sewell, made almost $10.2 million on September 23 by selling 25,000 restricted units of Apple stock. Sewell received 100,000 restricted stock units almost two years ago, when he joined the company from Intel.

The Recorder reports that Sewell made $7.1 million when he sold the first 25,000 Apple units after they vested last year. Sewell could be in line for a few more stock sales down the road. In addition to his $650,012 annual salary and $700,000 bonus, Sewell was awarded another 100,000 restricted stock units last year. Those shares will vest in 2014 if he remains with the company, according to The Recorder.

Apple's longtime general counsel, current Bingham McCutchen of counsel Daniel Cooperman, spoke with sibling publication Corporate Counsel this week about his experiences with Jobs.

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