Your Career at Fenwick & West LLP
When Fenwick & West's founders decided to head to the Golden State in 1972, it was just in time to help start the tech revolution. The firm is renowned for its ground-breaking work at the intersection of law and technology. For the past three decades it has been on the forefront of some of Silicon Valley's most newsworthy deals. Back in 1976, home computing pioneer Apple Computers used the firm to incorporate. That was just the beginning. Today, Fenwick & West leads the pack in the industry's hottest technology deals, including the largest Internet deal ever-VeriSign's $21 billion acquisition of Network Solutions, the largest software merger ever-- Symantec's $13 billion acquisition of VERITAS-and one of the largest and most significant IP litigation payouts of 2005-Compuware's $400M settlement with IBM.
With such high-caliber successes, it would only make sense that Fenwick & West would have won the praise of its peers and industry. It has been consistently ranked on Fortune's, list of the "100 Best Companies to Work For in America." Additionally, Fewnick & West was ranked the second-most diverse large law firm in the U.S. by Minority Law Journal, was named one of the top five West Coast practices for IP protection and IP litigation by Managing Intellectual Property, and was ranked the #1 law firm for technology sector mergers and acquisitions by Mergermarket International Tax Review tipped its hat to the firm by giving it First Tier status and also awarding it first place for tax planning, cross-border transactions, transfer pricing, and mergers and acquisitions skills. BTI Consulting placed Fenwick in the top 30 of national law firms for client service. The firm can also boast of having more than 1,000 successful venture capital deals under its belt-making it one of the top-five VC law firms in the U.S. according to Dow Jones.
The work of Fenwick attorneys extends beyond the worlds of technology and business. Like any good firm, it invests a great deal of time and energy into pro bono and community work, going so far as to count any approved pro bono projects as billable hours, a great incentive for those looking to balance the nature of their legal endeavors. Among the organizations with which Fenwick has worked are the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, Lawyers in the Library, Homeless Advocacy Project, API Legal Outreach and Mississippi Post-Conviction Project. The firm also lends its support to the Equal Justice Works Fellowship, which provides a lawyer with a two-year appointment to explore a California social welfare issue of his or her choice. Its efforts led to Fenwick & West receiving the top pro bono award for 2004, the Public Interest Law Firm's "Public Interest Counsel Champion Award."
Fenwick prides itself on being a united front without sacrificing the distinctive personalities of its lawyers. In fact, half of the firm's six "Core Values," focus on maintaining this balance: "Compete externally, collaborate internally"; "Emphasize teamwork and mentoring"; and "The Firm respects the individual, and the individual respects the Firm." Associates are pleased with the emphasis placed on creating a cooperative and courteous culture that also values individualism. "Fenwick motivates their attorneys and staff to put their best foot forward in unique and effective ways," says one insider. "They foster an environment of mutual respect for each individual, and this friendly entrepreneurship defines Fenwick as a law firm and a workplace." Another happy camper says the firm is a "very collegial, egalitarian meritocratic environment." "At Fenwick, you don't succeed by climbing over the backs of your fallen comrades," stated one litigation partner. "Instead, you succeed by making the rest of your team better. We believe this ultimately results in the greater success of the firm and our clients."
While associates at some firms languish in practices ill-matched to their interests and skills, Fenwick attorneys take matters into their own hands. The firm's free market system lets associates run the show, pursuing the issues and cases they prefer and exploring the working methods of a whole host of partners. It's an approach that also motivates new associates to be ambitious and open-minded as they embark on their legal careers. "The firm's free market system allows me to define my career," says one corporate associate. "I get to work with the attorneys I choose and obtain the type of work that best suits my interests."