2024 Vault Rankings
- Firm Culture#16
At a Glance
“Opportunity to be on [the] cutting edge of new technology.”
“The work quality and internal teams.”
“Hours, but that is everywhere in BigLaw.”
“Not well known outside of tech.”
Well known for its innovative work with technology and life sciences companies, Fenwick is home to nearly 500 attorneys across seven offices. The firm has grown beyond its Silicon Valley roots, with three thriving offices in California, established offices in Seattle and New York, a relatively new office in Washington, DC, and an international office in Shanghai.
In 1972, four attorneys left New York City and headed to Palo Alto, California, to launch their own firm based on their vision that the newly named Silicon Valley would become a future tech epicenter of the world. They were right.
Just four years after its founding, Fenwick retained future tech icons Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak as clients, eventually helping them incorporate Apple Computer—today one of the world’s most valuable companies by market cap. Fenwick has grown to become a leading destination law firm for preeminent tech and life sciences companies, with other notable clients including Amazon, Cisco Systems, Coinbase, Databricks, Electronic Arts, Google, and Third Harmonics Bio.
Innovators in Tech and Life Sciences
Fenwick represents more than 3,000 startup clients, of which more than 200 are unicorns (companies valued at $1 billion or more), and more than 375 public company clients located in business and financial hubs around the world. Clients span numerous established as well as nascent 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, including for Databricks, Outreach, GOAT Group, Faire, TripActions, Relativity Space, and Aurora Solar. In 2021, Fenwick represented Coinbase in its historic direct listing as the first major crypto company to go public.
Fenwick has also remained firmly in place among Vault’s Best Law Firms for Intellectual Property for more than a decade. Its intellectual property group represents many of the world’s most cutting-edge companies in important prosecution and transactional matters for clients such as Day One Biopharmaceuticals, Epic Games, Intuit, Numenta, and Salesforce. The litigation practice, also centered on tech and life sciences, has achieved numerous victories for Amazon (including summary judgments, jury trial verdicts, and Federal Circuit wins); Ninth Circuit decisions for Fitbit and Intuit; and successes for Peloton Interactive, GoPro, Netflix, Loxo Oncology, and Yuga Labs.
The firm’s M&A practice is recognized consistently as one of the best in the nation. Recently, the firm has advised high-profile companies such as Chinook Therapeutics, Cisco, Dice Therapeutics, Figma, and Twilio in notable M&A transactions, both domestic and global. Fenwick’s tax group has also been intimately involved in the strategy of multinational brands such as Dover Corp., Meta, and Limited Brands, and in supporting the heavy stream of corporate transactions run by the firm over the past year.
Independent but Not Alone
Fenwick’s free market system empowers associates to sit in the driver’s seat of their careers by seeking out the work opportunities within their practice group they are most interested in across offices. The firm prides itself on encouraging associates to play an active role in their careers and to shape their work experiences. Increasing opportunities for each associate, matters are staffed across offices, giving associates opportunities to work with teams firmwide.
This autonomy is not without support, as each associate has a dedicated practice management professional who serves as a trusted advisor in helping them find the right opportunities and workload balance to achieve their career goals.
News & Awards
- Incorporated Apple Computer in 1976 and pioneered the first shrink-wrap license agreement that same year.
- Successfully defended Amazon’s 1-Click® patent (2002), a mission-critical victory in the early years of the online retailer.
- 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, which created the fourth-largest software firm in the world (2005).
- Guided Facebook in its seminal IPO (2012) and its record-setting $1 billion acquisition of Instagram (2012); advised WhatsApp on its $19 billion sale to Facebook (2014).
- Represented Coinbase in a first-of-its-kind public listing on Nasdaq, valued at opening trade at $99 billion (2021).
- National Public Service Award, 2022—American Bar Association Business Law Section
- Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality, 2022—Corporate Equality Index, Human Rights Campaign Foundation
- Best Place to Work in the Bay Area, 2023—Silicon Valley Business Journal and San Francisco Business Times
- Top 100 Best Places to Work in New York, 2022—Crain’s New York
- #15 in the AmLaw Power Rankings and #11 on the AmLaw Diversity Scorecard, 2023—The American Lawyer
Why Work Here
Established in 1972, Fenwick works closely with technology and life science companies that are changing the world through innovation. The firm has over five decades of experience solving the business challenges that arise at the intersection of technology and the law.
We seek to form effective partnerships with our clients and to provide superior client service. Many of our clients have exceeded their expectations in creating and building successful enterprises; we strive to do the same in the lawyering we provide for our clients. It is important that we not only provide first-rate innovative legal services, but that we also serve as powerful business partners for our clients.
Learn more about Fenwick: fenwick.com
Industry Focus: fenwick.com/industries
About Us: fenwick.com/firm
Careers at Fenwick: fenwick.com/careers/students
Fenwick Insights: fenwick.com/insights
801 California Street
Mountain View, CA 94041
Phone: (650) 988-8500
Managing Partner: Rodger Cole
Hiring Committee Chair: Lara Foster (Silicon Valley)
Total No. Attorneys (2023):
500 - 750
No. of Partners Named 2023:
Base Salary (2023)
1st year: $215,000
2nd year: $225,000
3rd year: $250,000
4th year: $295,000
5th year: $345,000
6th year: $370,000
7th year: $400,000
8th year: $415,000
Summer Associate: $215,000
General Recruiting Email: email@example.com
No. of U.S. Offices: 6
No. of International Offices: 1
New York, NY
San Francisco, CA
Santa Monica, CA
Silicon Valley, CA
Washington, DC I
Antitrust & Competition
Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
Capital Markets & Public Companies
Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits
Mergers & Acquisitions
Patent Post-Grant Proceedings
Privacy & Cybersecurity
Startup & Venture Capital
Trade & National Security
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.