Brobeck partner leaves for venture capital firm

San Francisco giant Brobeck Phleger & Harrison is losing one of its top Silicon Valley rainmakers to a venture capital firm.

Therese Mrozek has been the firm’s relationship partner for Cisco Systems since 1995 and has worked closely with the group through a mass of mergers and acquisitions.

She is leaving to join the San Francisco office of Massachusetts-based Weston Presidio Capital, until recently a client of the firm, but the Cisco relationship is unlikely to be affected. Brobeck took Cisco public 10 years ago, and senior business and technology partner Chris Vejnoska, a member of the firm’s policy committee, will take over the relationship.

Mrozek headed Brobeck’s Silicon Valley office for two years before standing down 18 months ago. Her departure comes as salaries are raised across the board after announcing record profits for the year 2000 (The Lawyer, 15 January). Partner profits topped $1m for the first time, coming in at $1.17m (£800,000).

This has sparked a salary war. Associates have received $10,000 (£6,790) pay rises. First years see pay upped from between $125,000 (£84,880) and $155,000 (£105,251) or between $135,000 (£91,670) and $170,000 (£115,436).

Managing partner Tower Snow says: “We had an extraordinary year and one of our creeds is that we share our success. We wanted to thank all of our associates.” He says the hikes had nothing to do with recruitment. The recruitment market in Silicon Valley has calmed since the collapse of the IPO market in April, but while dotcoms have become less attractive, venture capitalists are still hungry for the most senior corporate partners.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati has lost senior corporate rainmaker Judith O’Brien, who will set up her own venture capital firm. But Wilson Sonsini has won one back: former rainmaker Jonathan Axelrad returns to lead the fund services group after joining idealab! in February last year.