Catherine S. Kirkman retired as a partner from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in 2012 at age 50 after 20 years at the firm. As leader of the media practice, Catherine gained national recognition for her expertise in media-related transactions and counseling. Over the years, she was instrumental as media and technology counsel for countless ventures in Silicon Valley. Notably, she worked with YouTube from its inception until its sale to Google.
Cathy has extensive expertise in social media, digital copyright, privacy, and Internet law. She regularly advises clients on new business models, content rights issues, copyright and DMCA issues, online contracts and e-commerce, privacy, spam, and spyware, as well as patent and technology licensing issues related to digital rights management and content delivery standards. Her broad experience has included providing media law advice to companies and venture capitalists, ranging from Google and YouTube in the areas of film and video, Amazon and Napster in the area of music, Scribd and Expedia in the area of text, VG Holdings (Battlefront) and Tapulous (Tap Tap Revenge) in the area of video games, Linden Research (Second Life) in the area of virtual worlds, and eBay in the areas of Internet advertising and e-commerce.
Catherine served as a chair of the firm's Nominating Committee and a member of its Finance Committee. She was the firm's first part-time partner, having two sons during her tenure. She also was active in pro bono matters for non-profit clients such as Creative Commons and the underserved community in East Palo Alto. Catherine served as an adjunct professor at UC Hastings College of the Law, as well as a guest lecturer at Stanford Law School and the UC Berkeley School of Law. As publisher of the Silicon Valley Media Law Blog, she was quoted frequently in news publications. Prior to joining the firm in 1992, Catherine practiced at Loeb & Loeb in Los Angeles, California, where she specialized in entertainment law transactions.
In retirement, Catherine remains active in the Silicon Valley venture and tech community, serving as a consultant, community volunteer, and research fellow for organizations related to media, privacy, and youth law. She earned her J.D. from Stanford Law School with Distinction and her A.B. from Harvard College, magna cum laude and a Member of Phi Beta Kappa.