2020 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“Tons of responsibility.”
"We're often working on cutting-edge legal issues.”
“The other people who work here are good humans.”
"The peaks and valleys.”
“Startup work is nonstop so my time is never really my own.”
“High stress during extremely busy periods.”
About Fenwick & West LLP
Well known for its work with technology companies, Fenwick & West is home to 350 attorneys across six offices. The firm has mostly stayed true to its West Coast roots, with three offices in California—including its newly opened Santa Monica digs—and one in Seattle. An office in the Big Apple and one across the world in China give the firm a broader reach.
Just a Hunch
In 1972, four attorneys left their elite NYC firm and headed to Palo Alto to launch their own firm based on their vision that the Silicon Valley would become the future tech Mecca of the world. They were right.
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. Today, Fenwick continues to be a leading firm for tech and life sciences companies, with such notable clients as Facebook, Airbnb, Amazon, Uber, Symantec, and Cisco Systems, to name a handful.
Hardly a One-Trick Pony
Fenwick & West advises clients across numerous industries, including autonomous transportation, blockchain, communications, consumer goods and retail, digital health, fintech, games, hardware, life sciences, semiconductors, and software. The firm—which is among the top five firms in Vault’s Emerging Companies & Venture Capital ranking—continues to lead in the technology sector, handling a number of the largest venture capital financings. In fact, the firm represents more than 600 VC-backed companies.
Fenwick IP lawyers are at the forefront of matters involving antitrust, copyright, open source, patents, privacy, technology transactions, trademarks, and trade secrets. On the patent side, the firm has more than 80 patent professionals, who file 3,500-4,000 patent applications each year. Meanwhile, its trademark lawyers are prosecuting more than 23,000 trademark applications around the world. In short, they’re busy.
While the firm may be swimming in tech and IP, its Tax group has made a name for itself. Indeed, Fenwick ranks among the top 20 in Vault’s Tax ranking. The firm represents more than half of the Fortune 100 on its tax matters and has experience with joint ventures, M&A, tax planning, and transfer pricing.
Independent with a Little AI Help
With its free-market system, Fenwick offers associates freedom to seek out the types of matters they want and to connect with the attorneys with whom they want to work. This system begins at the summer associate level. According to the firm, “we actively encourage associates to shape their own work experiences.”
While associates have autonomy, they also have a constant sidekick in the form of “Fenni,” an AI digital assistant. Fenni helps with everything from booking offices to scheduling meetings to gathering information. Litigators can also call on CARA, the firm’s automated legal research assistant.
News & Awards
In its 2019 Am Law 100 rankings, The American Lawyer noted that “Fenwick made the biggest gains in the Am Law 100 rankings, moving up from 10 places to 85th, as revenue jumped by 14.6 percent to $429.69 million in 2018.”
Fenwick is consistently regarded as a firm that represents the tech industry’s movers and shakers. The firm advised on two of the three largest U.S. tech VC financings of 2018 and was named the Technology Group of the Year by Law360 (for the fifth consecutive year) and the U.S. Patent Prosecution Firm of the Year by IP Media Group.
Fenwick announced an expanded parental leave program, which now includes 16 weeks of parental bonding time that applies to all attorney parents, regardless of gender or caregiver status. Birthing mothers now have 22 weeks of fully paid leave, and the firm has also increased paid parental leave for other professionals in the firm to comparable levels. The firm offers access to consultants and coaches to help with back-to-work transitions, backup daycare and other childcare resources, a milk-shipping program for nursing mothers who travel on business, and privacy rooms in all firm offices—including the option to install privacy blinds for mothers who prefer the option to pump in their own office. Fenwick has been recognized by Working Mother as one of the Best Law Firms for Women.
Fenwick became the first Am Law 100 law firm to open an office in the Flatiron District—the hub of New York’s technology, startup, and VC community—in more than ten years and established a presence in Santa Monica to address startup and VC demand in Southern California. The New York office has grown nearly seven-fold in three years, from eight lawyers to more than 50.
- Represented Peloton in its $550M Series F financing.
- Represented Loxo Oncology in its $8B acquisition by Eli Lilly—the largest ever acquisition by Lilly.
- Represented GitHub in its $7.5 billion acquisition by Microsoft.
- Represented Uber’s Board of Directors in a high-profile derivative that arose from Uber’s acquisition of Ottomotto. Ottomotto’s founder, a former Google employee, was accused of stealing IP from Google. After Uber acquired Otto, Google sued for infringement, and Uber paid $245 million to resolve the claims. Shareholders followed with a lawsuit, claiming that the Uber board failed to adequately investigate the Otto transaction. The judge exonerated the board and dismissed the case April 1.
- For the tenth consecutive year, Fenwick earned a perfect score on the 2019 Corporate Equality Index for policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality.
- The American Lawyer ranked Fenwick as one of the top five most diverse law firms on its 2019 Diversity Scorecard, the fourth consecutive year the firm has been recognized in the top five.
- The Financial Times recognized Fenwick as one of North America’s most innovative law firms, flagging the firm’s AI digital assistant, “Fenni,” as the top innovation in the Business of Law: Technology category. (2018)
- In June 2019, Fenwick was named North America’s best national firm for women in business law by Euromoney Legal Media Group at the Americas Women in Business Law Awards.
Why Work Here
Fenwick possesses a truly distinctive culture and approach to the practice of law. We're a mid-size firm with an international presence—large enough to attract first-rate clients, yet small enough to maintain a collegial work environment. The firm’s smaller scale means all our lawyers have significant responsibility and client contact, which is how we attract diverse, passionate lawyers with a self-starter mentality, intellectual curiosity, and deep client commitment.
We are proud that Fenwick is frequently ranked as one of the best and most diverse places to work. For 11 consecutive years, Fenwick has been recognized as one of the “Best Places to Work in the Bay Area” by the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal. Fenwick is also regularly the highest ranked law firm on the list. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has also consistently designated Fenwick as one of the Best Places to Work for LGBT individuals and we were recognized as “Employer of the Year” in 2010 by The Arc of San Francisco for our efforts to support employees with disabilities.
Silicon Valley Center
801 California Street
Mountain View, CA 94041
Phone: (650) 988-8500
Managing Partner: Rodger Cole
Hiring Partners: Dawn Belt (Mountain View); Michael Sacksteder (San Francisco); Bill Bromfield (Seattle)
Total No. Attorneys 2019:
250 - 500
1st year: $190,000
Summer associate: $3,654/week
Summer Associate Offers:
31 out of 31 (2Ls) (2019)
No. of Summer Associates:
40 total (31 2Ls; 9 1Ls) (2019)
Director of Attorney Talent Acquisition, Diversity & Inclusion
Mountain View, CA
New York, NY
San Francisco, CA
Santa Monica, CA
Antitrust & Trade Regulation
Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
Capital Markets & Public Companies
CSR Strategy & Compliance
Electronic Information Management
Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits
Mergers & Acquisitions
Patent Post-Grant Proceedings
Privacy & Cybersecurity
Startup & Venture Capital
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.