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Fenwick & West Overview

Mountain View, CA
501 to 1000 employees
Company - Private
$100 to $500 million (USD) per year
Go West, young lawyer. General practice law firm Fenwick & West offers services to national and international high-tech and life sciences clients, with specializations in corporate law (venture capital, mergers, IPOs), intellectual property, domestic and ... Read more

Mission: 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 ... Read more

Fenwick & West – Why Work For Us?

Our Firm's History

Fenwick & West was founded in 1972 in the heart of Silicon Valley—before “Silicon Valley” existed—by four visionary lawyers who left a top-tier New York law firm to pursue their shared belief that technology would revolutionize the business world and to pioneer legal work for those technological innovations.

The firm's history is inextricably entwined with the  growth of technology in Silicon Valley: Fenwick incorporated Apple and took Oracle and eBay public. Since then, the firm has represented leading technology companies and underwriters in numerous high profile IPOs and led many landmark M&A transactions including the largest Internet merger in history, VeriSign's $21 billion acquisition on Network Solutions. Our intellectual property practice is continuously on the cutting edge of legal issues arising from emerging technologies, from the pioneering of shrinkwrap license agreements in the 1970s, to the creation of software development clean rooms in the 1980s, to being one of the first firms to advise and litigate numerous Internet-related IP issues that arose in the 1990s, including privacy, digital copyright, software patent and domain name issues. Among many other notable technology lawsuits, the firm's litigators successfully defended's 1-Click® patent just in time for the 1999 holiday shopping season and successfully defended Elan Pharmaceuticals' patents on transgenic mice.

Fenwick’s uninterrupted history of handling landmark transactions, disputes and legal innovations includes the following:

  • Incorporated Apple Computer in 1976
  • Pioneered the first shrink-wrap license agreement in 1976
  • Negotiated one of the first software license agreements with then 19-year entrepreneur Bill Gates
  • Created the first software "clean room" protocols—for Wang Laboratories—which later became the industry standard for developing software to withstand IP infringement claims
  • Secured the first copyright registration for a graphic interface
  • Registered one of the first business method patents for software
  • Took Oracle public in 1986, took eBay public in 1998 and completed more than 140 IPOs since then, including Electronic Arts, Symantec, Intuit and VeriSign
  • Handled some of the earliest, watershed software IP infringement battles, including Lotus v. Borland,Adobe v. Macromedia, Brown Bag Software v. Symantec, v., Righthaven v. Democratic Underground 
  • Successfully defended's 1-Click® patent just in time for the 1999 holiday shopping season
  • Successfully defended Elan Pharmaceuticals' patents on transgenic mice
  • Handled the largest Internet merger in history (VeriSign's $21 billion acquisition of Network Solutions) and the largest software merger in history (Symantec's $13 billion acquisition of VERITAS)
  • Handled one of the largest collection of data and records in a civil case, which ultimately led to one of the largest IP litigation settlements in history, a $400 million recovery for our client Compuware
  • Developed innovative due diligence technologies, post-closing integration processes and alternative billing arrangements for serial acquirers upon our selection as Cisco Systems’ primary outside corporate counsel

Fenwick Today

With more than 300 attorneys and 500 employees firm-wide, we have nationally ranked practices in complex financial and commercial transactions, intellectual property protection and licensing, mergers and acquisitions, “bet-the-company” litigation, domestic and international tax planning and tax controversies. And because technology companies were some of the first to tackle globalization, Fenwick has handled international outsourcing, IP prosecution and enforcement, foreign investment, acquisitions and international tax issues for our clients continuously since the 1980s.

Our greatest legacy and the reason for our continued success lies in the quality of our people and our culture. Our lawyers possess a deep understanding of the technology and science behind our clients’ businesses and we have always been committed to delivering the highest level of service in the most efficient, effective way possible, while maintaining a collegial and collaborative environment based on mutual respect.

Firm Overview

For more than four decades, Fenwick & West has helped some of the world’s most recognized companies become, and remain, market leaders. From emerging enterprises to large public corporations, our clients are leaders in the technology, life sciences and cleantech sectors and are fundamentally changing the world through rapid innovation.

Having worked alongside such progressive and cutting edge companies for so long, our culture has come to reflect the entrepreneurial spirit of our client base. Unlike traditional law firms, we move at our clients’ speed and have earned the reputation as a go-to law firm for growing companies that need insightful, strategic counsel to help tackle the challenging issues that arise when the law cannot keep up with their pace of innovation.

With the same passion for excellence and innovation reflected in our client base, our firm is making revolutionary changes to the practice of law through substantial investments in proprietary technology tools and processes. Our clients demand—and deserve—new ways to receive best-in-class legal services more effectively. At Fenwick, we are proud to be shaping our legal services to do just that.

Diversity & Community Impact

Diversity, inclusion and community engagement are core Fenwick values. We are committed to making a difference the communities where we live and work.

- Top 5 Law Firm in the U.S. for Diversity (American Lawyer)
- Best Places to Work for LGBT Individuals (Human Rights Campaign Foundation)
- Employer of the Year for support of employees with disabilities (The Arc of San Francisco)
- Donated 10,000+ pro bono hours to address civil rights, child advocacy, political asylum and death penalty cases

Why a Career at Fenwick?

Fenwick & West was in Silicon Valley when there were more apricots than silicon. As a result of our history and experience, we are deeply integrated in the unique eco-structure of Silicon Valley, not only with entrepreneurs and their companies, but also with venture capitalists and investment bankers who help drive the area's constant innovation. We represent hundreds of exciting technology and life sciences companies that are redefining e-commerce, communications, cleantech, digital health, entertainment and social media every day. We invite you to dig deeper into Fenwick & West to see what we have to offer YOU!

Like many of our clients, Fenwick proves that sophisticated, cutting-edge work performed at the highest level isn’t always a function of size. Our goal is not to be the biggest law firm, but rather the best law firm in the practice areas critical to our clients. How do we do it? Keeping our focus on what is important to our clients instead of trying to be a legal superstore.

At Fenwick, you’ll find intellectual stimulation in a remarkably collegial atmosphere. The firm’s smaller scale means that you’ll have significant responsibility and client contact. And with very little hierarchy, you’ll be practicing at the highest level for a first-rate group of clients that are doing remarkable things.

Here is a glimpse at what people are saying about Fenwick:

  • Recognized as one of the Best Places to Work by Silicon Valley Business Journal and San Francisco Business Times for ten consecutive years; Fenwick is the highest-ranked law firm on the list (2016)
  • Named Technology Group of the Year by Law360 for the fourth consecutive year (2016)
  • Recognized as having both the best mentoring and best pro bono program in North America by Euromoney at its Americas Women in Business Law Awards for three straight years. Also recgognized as the best North American firm for women in business law (2016)
  • Annually receive 100% score (A+ rating) on The Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index for Fenwick's pro-LGBT policies and working environment (2016)
  • Named Philanthropist of the Year by Pro Bono Project Silicon Valley (2015)
  • Ranked #1 on Vault's 2013 list of Best Green Law Firms to Work For
  • Ranked the fifth best law firm in the U.S. for diversity by The American Lawyer and seventh by Law360 (2016)
  • Recognized by American Lawyer as one of the 100 largest law firms in the United States by revenue (2016)
  • Recognized as the second largest law firm in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times (2016)
  • Ranked #1 in the Americas and #3 Worldwide for the number of Technology, Media and Telecommunications deals by Mergermarket (2015)
  • Named on The National Law Journal's IP HOT List, recognizing the most influential IP practices in the country (2015)
  • Recognized for excellence in foreign and domestic tax work in Chambers Global and Chambers USA (2016)
  • Named San Francisco & Silicon Valley Firm of the Year by International Tax Review eight times (2016)
  • Selected as one of the top firms in California for securities litigation by Chambers USA (2016)
  • Named to the National Law Journal's inaugural "Intellectual Property Hot List"
  • Ranked in the first tier in California for venture capital as well as startups and emerging companies work by Chambers USA; also ranked nationally for M&A and corporate work (2016)
  • Ranked Technology Law Firm of the Year by M&A Atlas for the second year in a row (2016)
  • Ranked as one of the top law firms nationally for Venture Capital Law in the "Best Law Firms" 2017 guide released by U.S. News & World Report

Fenwick & West Reviews

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Gordon K. Davidson
44 Ratings
  • "Terrific firm with interesting people"

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Attorney in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Attorney in Palo Alto, CA
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Fenwick & West part-time (More than 8 years)


    Good work, fair management, smart interesting people. Very generous benefits and progressive policies. I left several years ago but the firm seems to have a similar culture and ever growing reputation.


    Hard work, sometimes long hours. Pressure of pleasing clients. A few temperamental partners but overall a great environment. I can’t think of any more negatives.

See All 66 Reviews

Fenwick & West Photos

Fenwick & West photo of: Giants Tailgate
Fenwick & West photo of: Star Wars Themed Event
Fenwick & West photo of: American Women in Business Law
Fenwick & West photo of: Seattle Putting Tournament Champions!
Fenwick & West photo of: Pink Flower Fundraiser
Fenwick & West photo of: Seattle Nerf Basketball
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Fenwick & West Interviews



Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview





    Corporate Law Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Santa Barbara, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview


    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Fenwick & West (Santa Barbara, CA) in April 2017.


    The interview process consisted of two phone interviews. The first was a basic phone screening asking about my qualifications and why I want the job. The second was a little more in-depth asking about past work experience, why I would be a good candidate, corporate culture questions, and moral situation questions. The interviewer was very nice, however, it took a long time to hear back from them for a response.

    Interview Questions

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Fenwick & West Awards & Accolades

  • Best Place to Work in the Bay Area, San Francisco Business Times, 2016
  • Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality, Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index, 2016
  • Technology Group of the Year, Law360, 2017
  • Best National Firm for Women in Business Law, Euromoney, 2016
  • Best National Firm for Pro Bono Work, Euromoney, 2016
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