Wilson Sonsini hire boosts funds group

Silicon Valley giant Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is expanding its fund services group with a former general counsel from the Bank of America.

The group, which concentrates on forming and servicing venture capital and private equity funds, has taken on Robert Fore as part of a plan to move into acting for buyout funds.

The group does not advise the funds on their investments, only on startups and then day-to-day legal work to keep them running.

Fore is currently an investment banker with Banc of America Securities, the investment banking arm of the Bank of America, which he joined a year ago. Before that he was general counsel for Bank of America in its worldwide private equity business.

He is the third partner in Wilson Sonsini’s fund services group, which plans to dramatically increase in size to start servicing buyout clients – traditionally the clients of top-tier firms such as Kirkland & Ellis and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

Wilson Sonsini’s head of fund services Jonathan Axelrad says: “We’ve put a lot of emphasis on helping with the formation of funds, and this practice was relatively small when the funds were small. Our practice has had to expand dramatically to meet the needs of our clients.”

He says that while there has been a slowdown in venture capital work generally, the practice is still turning away clients because it lacks numbers.

The firm’s venture capital fund clients include Mayfield Fund, Polaris Venture Capital and Sequoia Capital.

Axelrad says: “Part of our business plan is to expand our client base and start servicing the buyout funds, so we need additional manpower to do that. Robert’s spent as much time on buyout funds as he has on venture capital funds.”