Back in January, Judge Paul Watford of the Ninth Circuit announced that he would be resigning from the bench to return to private practice. The 55-year-old judge would officially call it quits on May 31, and in his resignation letter, he said stepping down was “one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in my life.”
At the time, the legal community wondered where Watford would land. He’d previously worked at Munger Tolles as a partner, and many speculated that he may be returning to his old stomping grounds. We now know where Watford is working — and it isn’t at Munger.
Earlier today, Wilson Sonsini — a firm that brought in $1,354,000,000 gross revenue in 2022, putting it at No. 33 in the most recent Am Law 100 — announced that Watford had joined the firm’s litigation practice as a partner. The recently retired judge will work out of the firm’s Los Angeles office, where he’ll focus on appellate and complex commercial disputes.
What does Watford have to say about his move from the bench to Biglaw? Here’s the scoop in a press release from the firm:
“Throughout my time serving as a Ninth Circuit judge, I had the opportunity to work with amazing people in a collegial and professionally rewarding environment, and to be directly involved in the disposition of interesting and important matters,” said Judge Watford. “In joining Wilson Sonsini, I will be able to continue working with talented lawyers and professionals in a collaborative culture that places high value on diversity and teamwork. I look forward to taking on challenging and engaging matters for the firm’s clients, which include many of the world’s most innovative and dynamic companies.”
Congratulations to Judge Paul Watford on landing at a law firm that he loves, and congratulations to Wilson Sonsini on adding a former federal appellate judge to its roster. Best of luck!
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.