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June 11, 2009 4:34 PM

Who Succeeds Larry Sonsini?

Posted by Zach Lowe

John Roos, the current CEO of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich Rosati, has been tapped for a spot as the Obama administration's ambassador to Japan, so the firm suddenly has an opening in its number two spot behind chair Larry Sonsini, according to the Recorder, an Am Law Daily sibling publication. 

A source at the firm tells the Recorder the race will likely come down to corporate rainmaker Steven Bochner and litigation partner Douglas Clark, with Bochner the current favorite, considering the firm's historic bent toward corporate partners, the paper says. Bochner has also been at the firm for nearly 30 years, while Clark arrived in 1993 from Jones Day. Both are well liked, the story says, though some consider Clark a "curmudgeon." (For the record, The Am Law Daily enjoys curmudgeons.) 

But sources are divided over whether the new CEO will be the chairman-in-waiting for the day when Larry Sonsini, the longtime firm chair, eventually steps down. Sonsini is 68 and healthy, and apparently has no plans to retire soon; he offered to take over as interim CEO during the election process, an offer that was not met with universal enthusiasm at the firm, sources told the Recorder. 

The decision-making process isn't exactly known, the Recorder says. It appears the firm's management committee will make the choice along with several higher-ups, including Sonsini. 

In any case, between this race and the one unfolding at Reed Smith, we've got some juicy internal firm stories to monitor. 

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