Fenwick & West LLP at a Glance


  • “Work is challenging, interesting, and fun”
  • “Client base”
  • “Flexibility with billable hours”


  • “Low and unpredictable bonuses”
  • “Getting vacation coverage”
  • “Understaffed”

The Buzz

  • “Best in tech”
  • “Great clients”
  • “Hierarchical”
  • “Interesting work”

About Fenwick & West LLP

In 1972, four attorneys moved from New York to Palo Alto to found a firm based on their vision that the Silicon Valley would become the future tech Mecca of the world. They were right. Small wonder, then, that the area's alpha geeks-Facebook, Airbnb, Amazon.com, Cisco Systems and Dropbox to name just a few-look to Fenwick & West for tech-savvy counsel.

Laying the Legal Groundwork for the iUniverse

Just four years after its founding, Fenwick & West snagged future tech icons Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak as clients, eventually helping to incorporate Apple Computer for them, the first step in building the eventual Apple universe of iPhones and iPads we all know and love. Soon after that, the firm handled IPO work for software manufacturer Oracle.

The firm continues to lead in the technology sector. Named the U.S. Technology Group of the Year by Law360 for the past two years running, Fenwick handled five of the top 10 venture capital-backed technology exits of 2014, according to CB Insights data, including both the largest venture-backed IPO, Lending Club, and venture-backed acquisition, WhatsApp's $19 billion purchase by Facebook, which Law360 called "a jewel in [Fenwick's] silicon crown."

Fenwick also worked on the two largest venture capital financings of 2014-Uber's two $1.2 billion VC raises. The financings were also the first and second largest in history behind Facebook's 2011 financing, which the firm also handled.

Additionally, Fenwick attorneys have proved adept at handling billion-dollar M&A work, becoming the go-to firm for tech acquisitions like VeriSign's $21 billion acquisition of Network Solutions and Concur Technologies' $8.3 billion acquisition by SAP and counseling the special committee of the board of directors of China's Giant Interactive Group in its $3 billion going private acquisition. Fenwick attorneys also manage serial acquisition programs for companies like Cisco Systems, Dropbox, Facebook and Twitter.

Not a One Trick Pony

Fenwick places substantial importance on the excellence of the firm's IP services because of the significance of IP for the firm's core client base, tech and life sciences companies. In recognizing the firm on its IP Hot List, which honors only 10 law firms nationwide as the best for IP, The National Law Journal noted that "[Fenwick] has long been a go-to shop for IP counseling: It helped build Facebook's patent portfolio and registered iconic trademarks for Twitter. And it has expanded into life sciences. But 2014 included a number of litigation knockout punches that bolstered its reputation as a courtroom heavyweight for tech companies."

The firm also earns accolades for its tax work from International Tax Review annually. The team, which has represented more than 100 of the Fortune 500 and half of the Fortune 100 largest U.S. companies, recently provided tax counsel on Tim Hortons' $11.4 billion acquisition by Burger King, Switzerland-based Glencore International PLC's $6 billion purchase of Canada-based Viterra Inc. and Eaton Corporation's $13 billion acquisition of Cooper Industries.

As Fenwick's securities litigation team continues to grow, the team continues to earn accolades in the legal community, including being recognized by Chambers USA. This year, The Legal 500 noted that Fenwick "has a lean and mean litigation team focused on getting the right result in shareholder litigation."

According to Businessweek, Fenwick pulled itself out of the recession much faster than other Bay Area firms, largely by "riding" the social network and online media trend "like no other firm in the Valley" and embracing startups from Facebook and Twitter to Airbnb and Dropbox. Growing alongside the titans of cyberspace to become one of the largest and most profitable firms in the Bay Area, Fenwick & West has also opened offices in Seattle, San Francisco and Shanghai.

Geek Heaven

The firm's successes aren't limited to the courtroom and the boardroom. Fenwick has enjoyed a reputation as one of the best places in the country to work. Until Fortune raised the minimum required number of employees for companies to rank, Fenwick was no stranger to the magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work for in America" list. The firm is regularly ranked among the "Best Places to Work" by Silicon Valley Business Journal and the San Francisco Business Times. Law360 and The American Lawyer annually rank Fenwick among the top 10 law firms for diversity nationwide, and for two years in-a-row, the firm's mentoring and pro bono programs have been named the best in North America by Euromoney at its Americas Women in Business Law Awards.

Interested in pro bono? In addition to the aforementioned Euromoney recognition, Fenwick received the National Legal Aid & Defender Association's Beacon of Justice Award, the San Francisco Business Times' Community Impact Award, API Legal Outreach's Legal Impact Award and the San Mateo County Legal Aid Society's Guardian of Justice Award. The National Law Journal also selected Fenwick for its Pro Bono Hot List; Fenwick was one of only 10 law firms in the United States to receive this recognition.


April 2016
Candy Crushing It

Fenwick was the number one law firm for private tech company mergers and acquisitions deals in 2015, according to PrivCo's newest Private Tech Company M&A Report. In the past several months, the firm has represented leading tech companies in high-profile acquisitions, including counseling King Digital Entertainment, leading interactive entertainment company and maker of the popular Candy Crush, in its $5.9 billion dollar acquisition by Activision Blizzard. Fenwick also represented Symantec in its $7.4 billion sale of Veritas to the Carlyle Group and Facebook in its acquisitions of Wit.ai, QuickFire Networks, and TheFind.

Best Place to Work

For the tenth consecutive year, Fenwick was honored as one of the Best Places to Work in the Bay Area by San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal. The firm was the highest-ranked law firm on the list, placing fifth among companies of similar size and twelfth overall in the large companies category. Fenwick also consistently receives top rankings for diversity, honored as a top 10 firm for Asian American attorneys by Law360 (2016), and recognized with a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index for LGBT workplace equality (2015). 

January 2016
Top in Tech

For the third consecutive year, Law360 recognized Fenwick as the best firm in the United States for tech companies. "Whether steering Facebook through a series of startup grabs or handling Fitbit's initial public offering, Fenwick & West LLP answered the calls of the biggest names in Silicon Valley in 2015," Law360 wrote in its profile of the firm.

August 2015
Doing Well, Doing Good

Fenwick consistently receives recognition for its pro bono work, including being honored by Pro Bono Project Silicon Valley as the "Philanthropist of the Year" in August 2015. The firm was also named to The National Law Journal's 2014 Pro Bono Hot List and recognized by Euromoney  as having the best pro bono program in North America. In 2015 alone, Fenwick lawyers and staff completed over 17,000 pro bono hours valued at over $9.5 million in legal fees. Fenwick's pro bono program includes civil rights, child advocacy and political asylum work, as well as impact litigation. In 2015, Fenwick provided pro bono counsel for the launch California's first Pay for Success project to improve housing stability and supportive services to the chronically homeless.

June 2015
Exit Experts

Fenwick handled the largest venture-backed initial public offering of 2015, Fitbit's $732 million initial public offering. This IPO for the maker of popular wearable health-tracking devices "trampled expectations," according to Law360. Later in 2015, partner Jeff Vetter who co-led the Fitbit IPO with startup and venture capital co-chair Cindy Hess was named a Law360 Capital Markets MVP. In April 2016, Cindy was honored as one of the top 10 most trusted corporate counselors by The Recorder.

Intellectual Property Pros

Fenwick was honored among top U.S. IP law firms by The National Law Journal. "[Fenwick] has long been a go-to shop for IP counseling: It helped build Facebook's patent portfolio and registered iconic trademarks for Twitter. And it has expanded into life sciences," The National Law Journal  noted in its profile of the firm. Fenwick has received many other recognitions for its intellectual property work including in the 2016 Chambers Global rankings.

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Fenwick & West LLP

Silicon Valley Center
801 California Street
Mountain View, CA 94041
Phone: (650) 988-8500


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing Partner: Kathryn J. Fritz
  • Hiring Partners: Carolyn Chang & William Hughes (Mountain View); Brian Buckley (Seattle)
  • Total No. Attorneys 2016: 347

  • Base Salary
    1st year: $180,000
    Summer associate: $3,076/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    20 out of 20 (2Ls) (2015)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Antitrust & Unfair Competition
    Commercial Litigation
    Consumer Goods and Retail
    Corporate Finance & Securities
    Corporate Social Responsibility
    Digital Health
    Electronic Information Management
    Employment Practices
    Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits
    Gaming and Digital Media
    Intellectual Property
    Life Sciences
    Mergers & Acquisitions
    Patent Litigation
    Patent Post-Grant Proceedings
    Privacy and Information Security
    Private Equity
    Securities Enforcement
    Securities Litigation
    Startups & Venture Capital
    Tax Litigation
    Technology Transactions
    Trade Secret Litigation
    Trademark Litigation
    White Collar & Regulatory Defense

Major Office Locations

  • Mountain View, CA (HQ)
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Shanghai