2021 Vault Rankings
- Firm Culture#19
At a Glance
“Great people at all levels.”
“The remote-working policy and relaxed dress code.”
“The substantive work and client engagement (not to mention the type of client).”
“At times, the workload can be overwhelming.”
“Bonus for reduced-schedule attorneys.”
“At the end of the day, it’s still BigLaw.”
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 Amazon, Cisco Systems, Coinbase, Facebook, Google and Peloton Interactive, 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 3,000 startup and emerging growth companies and serves as primary corporate counsel for 35 of the most valuable venture-backed technology 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.
Client demand continues to be high and we continue to recruit talented attorneys to join our team. Fenwick works closely with leading technology and life sciences companies that are changing the world through innovation—including many that are working to address the COVID-19 pandemic. To keep pace with our dynamic clients, we are dedicated to building a diverse community of professionals and a culture where talented people thrive. We are proud of the opportunities that set us apart and encourage attorneys to explore all we have to offer.
In this era of COVID-19, our priority is the overall health and well-being of our team, our clients and our communities. We have adopted the guidance of the CDC and local health authorities to protect public safety. Fortunately, our robust and secure technology networks support the many professionals who are now working remotely. Fenwick is committed to continuing to deliver high-quality legal services to our clients while we all navigate this challenging time.
News & Awards
Fenwick launched a Voting Rights Initiative to support nonpartisan efforts to boost voter engagement in the 2020 general election. The firm also pledged to make Election Day (November 3, 2020) a paid public service holiday so people at Fenwick can vote and volunteer.
The firm and its partners committed to collectively donate more than $725,000 to organizations working for equal justice, to protect civil rights and to advance the democratic principles needed to support both. More than half of the collective contributions will go to the Equal Justice Initiative – a leading nonprofit devoted to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment.
In its 2020 Am Law 100 rankings, The American Lawyer noted that “Fenwick grew its client base meaningfully in 2019 and began to see returns on that investment with another year of solid financial growth.” This continued growth and success came after Fenwick’s best year ever in 2018—with double-digit growth in demand, revenue and profits. “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,” The American Lawyer reported.
Fenwick is consistently recognized as a leading firm for its work with technology and life sciences innovators. In January 2020, for example, Law360 ranked Fenwick a Capital Markets Group of the Year and the Global IP Awards named Fenwick the U.S. Trademark Prosecution Firm of the Year. The firm was also recently named a Law360 Powerhouse, honored among America’s Top Trusted Corporate Law Firms by Forbes, ranked a Tier 1 firm nationally for startups and emerging companies work by Chambers USA and recognized among just six finalists for Tech Litigation Department of the Year by The Recorder.
- Incorporated Apple Computer in 1976 and also pioneered the first shrink-wrap license agreement that same year.
- Successfully defended Amazon.com’s 1-Click® patent just in time for the 1999 holiday shopping season.
- Handled many of the largest and most significant M&A transactions in the history of the technology industry, including Symantec's $13 billion acquisition of VERITAS.
- Guided Facebook in its 2012 IPO and also worked on Facebook’s $19B acquisition of WhatsApp (2014) and its approximately $1B acquisition of Instagram (2012).
- Corporate Equality Index: Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality, 2020—Human Rights Campaign Foundation
- One of the top 10 law firms in the United States for diversity, 2020—The American Lawyer
- More than 25 percent of Fenwick partners ranked as leading lawyers, 2020 – Chambers USA and Chambers Global
- Best North American firm for women in business law, 2019—Euromoney Legal Media Group’s Americas Women in Business Law Awards
- One of North America’s Most Innovative Law Firms, 2018—The Financial Times
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 2020:
250 - 500
Salary not disclosed.
No. of U.S. Offices: 5
No. of International Offices: 1
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
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.