Fenwick & West Reviews | Glassdoor

Fenwick & West Reviews

Updated July 12, 2018
67 reviews

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4.0
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Gordon K. Davidson
45 Ratings

67 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Culture; team-oriented; Management and HR are always checking in; work-life balance; benefits; best law firm I have ever worked for in NY" (in 9 reviews)

  • "Salary and benefits are good, and work-life balance is perfect" (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • "none when taken into consideration that this is a law firm" (in 11 reviews)

  • "People sometimes work long hours" (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great Place to Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Fenwick & West full-time

    Pros

    Nice people, focused on teamwork and transparent leadership. Everyone works hard, but there are a lot of social events to make everyone feel like a community.

    Cons

    Fast paced and everyone works hard.


  2. "Finance Department Really Needs Work - Rampant Turnover"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Fenwick & West full-time

    Pros

    Overall, Fenwick, as a firm, was a good place to work. I particularly liked the:
    Excellent reputation the firm maintains in its industry and the great respect that the Fenwick brand commands
    Hosting of events where the firm invited special guests (some distinguished in their fields) to make presentations at the firm
    Skill building sessions
    Town hall meetings where employees are kept updated on what’s going on in the firm and given an opportunity to ask questions anonymously
    Beautiful decor and foods provided for special events such as Thanksgiving and other holidays
    The health program - particularly the annual amount to to use towards health related classes/ programs, gym membership, exercise shoes, exercise equipment etc.
    Opportunities for upward mobility or change of roles

    Cons

    The Finance Department leaves a lot to be desired. The department’s culture, cultivated by its leadership, is one that is very toxic and discouraging. The culture and some key personnel within the department drive away many good employees. Some of the issues include:
    Micro-management that I believe is a result of lack of planning by management, non-establishment/communication of clear goals, lack of a framework to achieve goals, poor communication and inability to accept and act upon constructive criticism (this works best when it's a two-way street).
    Lack of appreciation of very hard working employees & not valuing the feedback from employees. Employees feel the weight of the toxic culture. I believe that leadership, including top management, is aware of the issues as there is RAMPANT turnover, yet I didn’t see efforts to deal with the issue head on. The norm is to see employees leave soon after an other without any visible efforts from management to fix the problems that lead to the turnover. Key personnel, including managers and supervisors, personally attack employees and blame them for contributing to the low morale in the department rather than opening a line of communication to find out from their team members ways to alleviate the issues. They make the situation at work untenable to a point where an employee feels that the best option is to leave. By so doing, management enables a climate where employees are encouraged to keep quiet and keep working without an expectation of better working conditions.
    Lack of respect for employees (On several occasions, I’ve heard key personnel shout/scream at others and not treat others with the level of respect one is expected to extend to adults).
    Excessive workload due to the teams being constantly understaffed. Management takes advantage of the fact that employees that remain ‘make it work’ with the limited staffing. This is not sustainable.
    HR and management beyond the finance leadership are quite complicit in maintaining this environment. It would be reasonable to assume that there are reports showing the turnover, showing the cost incurred to replace employees, overtime costs etc; all leading indicators of the prevailing problem. Additionally, HR continuously hears all the complaints during employees tenure as well as during the exit interviews. However, during my time at Fenwick, I didn’t see any serious efforts to alleviate the problems.

    Advice to Management

    The situation within the Finance Department clearly exemplifies one where many employees who resign, choose to leave their leadership/managers and not necessarily the job. In light of the culture issues brought to light at companies such as Uber, it would be interesting to find out what an evaluation of FW HR’s responses to all the issues brought to their attention, would reveal. In my humble opinion, there should be an independent review conducted (including having team members anonymously submit their feedback) and the leadership team should be objectively evaluated to determine each of their contribution to the problems within the department. Lastly, corrective measures should be taken in an effort to foster the welcoming and supportive environment that any good employee would expect.

  3. "Billing Specialist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Fenwick & West full-time

    Pros

    The Company highly values their Employees and are consistently doing events and small things to show just how much they value you. Best Company to work for hands down. They have great benefits as well.

    Cons

    The Billing Department seems to be consistently understaffed and over worked. Its hard to give top notch service when tasks pile up and are never ending.


  4. Helpful (4)

    "Finance , Billing, and Client Accounting"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Fenwick & West full-time

    Pros

    Perks. Fenwick itself is awesome. Paralegals and legal secretaries love it.

    Cons

    The Finance department is terrible. E-billing here is purgatory.
    Massive turnover. Over half the people hired each year leave within 6 months.
    Massive salary range. The person next to you in the exact same job might earn 20 thousand more than you.
    HUGE personality clashes. Certain managers enjoy bullying people. You will be spoken to badly.
    No promotions.
    You will regret taking the job.


  5. "I Love Fenwick"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Legal Secretary in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Legal Secretary in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Fenwick & West full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Love Fenwick. Great place to work where employees can get involved in other things besides legal work.

    Cons

    Very little room for advancement.

    Advice to Management

    Please keep up the great work!


  6. Helpful (1)

    "So-So"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Corporate Paralegal
    Current Employee - Corporate Paralegal
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Fenwick & West full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Culture is more like a start-up than a traditional law firm; casual dress; people care about each other; good mentoring system.

    Cons

    Politics; very conservative pay; billable hour requirements; pressures of a traditional law firm while trying to act above that.


  7. "Terrific firm with interesting people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    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.

    Cons

    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.

  8. Helpful (9)

    "Staff Comp Downward Trend"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Fenwick & West full-time

    Pros

    Not worse than other law firms.

    Cons

    Have been in Silicon Valley a long time, with several different firms. This is what I would want to know if I were considering Fenwick now: the trend in staff compensation, and even general satisfaction, is distinctly downward. I've been here a long time, and agree with the reviews of the firm up until last year. Staff comp and bonuses are being cut, and it's clear they are scrutinizing everything for more opportunities to cut back. Why? The reasons they give are silly - to reinvest in our training (?) for example. I've seen this happen before, and I personally attribute it, at least in part, to the firm deciding to open other offices (which they historically resisted), such as in NYC. Regardless of the reason, the cut in staff retirement plan contribution is hurting morale and I feel comfortable saying that Fenwick isn't better than other law firms any more - it's just not worse.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Great firm"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Chief Information Officer in Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Chief Information Officer in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Fenwick & West full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Very smart, collegial people.

    Cons

    They respect the individual and they expect that colleagues respect the firm. This isn’t a con because I have none but needed to fill in 20 words.

    Advice to Management

    I gave it and for the most part they listened.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Pretty decent for law firm"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Fenwick & West full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good benefits, nice people (by law firm standards). Interesting clients. Lots of opportunities for client contact and to have client relationship responsibility early on in career. Helped me realize I needed to leave the legal field while I still had decent options. Flexibility about pace of advancement toward partnership.

    Cons

    Compensation is below-market, particularly bonuses. Partners whine about low retention but don't make any changes to keep people around. Partners pile work on the best people until their quality of life drops to zero, then fail to provide financial compensation for extra work. I was happiest after I burned out and put in the bare minimum effort. Partner track gets longer every year, and junior partners don't get much of a bump unless they own their book of business.

    Advice to Management

    The inconvenient truth is that the "free market" system is designed to facilitate staffing for partners at the expense of associate work-life balance. Work would be better spread-out if associates reported to 2 partners with rotations on a quarterly to semi-annual basis, particularly for the first few years.


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