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.
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.
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.
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
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.
For the second year in a row, Fenwick was
recognized as having the Best National Mentoring Program and being
the Best National Firm for Pro Bono in North America by
Euromoney at its Americas Women in Business Law Awards.
Fenwick received several awards in 2014 for its exemplary
commitment to pro bono work, including 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.
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.
"But 2014 included a number of litigation
knockout punches that bolstered its reputation as a courtroom
heavyweight for tech companies," the publication added.
"Propelled by a thriving market for tech
deals, Fenwick & West saw explosive growth in 2014," The
Recorder opens in a profile of Fenwick's record year in 2014.
Chairman Richard Dickson is quoted as saying, "Everything broke
right this year. Everything aligned this year. Every cylinder hit.
Every major practice area grew."
Law360 again recognized Fenwick as
the best firm in the United States for tech companies. Fenwick is
noted in the accompanying profile as being "behind some of the
biggest technology deals of 2014" while also "[leading] its clients
to victory in the courtroom and in government investigations."
Fenwick handled five of the top 10 venture
capital-backed technology exits of 2014, including both the largest
venture-backed initial public offering, Lending Club, and
acquisition, WhatsApp's $19B acquisition by Facebook. The team was
named the Emerging Companies Group of the Year by The Recorder and
won The Legal 500's inaugural Venture Capital and Emerging
Markets Team of the Year. Dropbox GC Ramsey Homsany said of the
team, "They have staffed a lot of women on our account, which sends
a signal to me about what the place is about. That it's a fair
place to work, and I never got the sense it's because they're
women-they're just good, and it often feels like Fenwick is
preparing their women to be partners."
Fenwick continued expansion of its China
Practice with the opening of a licensed representative office in
Shanghai and the addition of corporate partner Niping Wu. Fenwick
partner Eva Wang, who joined the firm a year ago, leads the