Fenwick & West Reviews | Glassdoor

Fenwick & West Reviews

Updated November 16, 2017
60 reviews

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4.1
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Gordon K. Davidson
42 Ratings

60 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Good benefits, nice people (by law firm standards) (in 8 reviews)

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

Cons
  • Nothing at all - this law firm tops every NY (in 10 reviews)

  • People sometimes work long hours (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "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.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "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.

  3. "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.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Fantastic place to work"

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

    I have been working at Fenwick & West full-time

    Pros

    The biggest pro is that everyone is nice here, and management values creating a pleasant environment. Salary and benefits are good, and work-life balance is perfect.

    Cons

    There isn't a chocolate fountain in the break room.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you're doing.


  5. "Caring and, more importantly, trying management in patent group"

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

    I worked at Fenwick & West full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - most supervisors do care about your workload for both the clients' and your sake, sometimes things can't be helped but you'll see that everywhere so a little sacrifice in your personal life is expected when workload picks up
    - most supervisors are reasonable, understanding, and try to add significant feedback to your work
    - most supervisors try to be aware of how you are doing and will reach out if they think some attention is needed

    Cons

    - none when taken into consideration that this is a law firm
    - some suggestions just make work vs fix quality of the product - maybe have a system to train supervisors on what suggestions/edits to avoid giving since context wouldn't be improved

    Advice to Management

    - I really enjoyed my work in the end because I felt that I was positively contributing to the great reputation the patent group had/has. I'd suggest continuing making quality a priority, not quantity, when possible


  6. "Better than average for a law firm"

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

    I have been working at Fenwick & West full-time

    Pros

    The firm offers a great deal of flexibility in terms of work arrangements.

    Cons

    The firm atmosphere is impersonal.


  7. "Probably as good as it gets for a law firm"

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

    I have been working at Fenwick & West full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Good benefits and highly competitive salaries. Generally supportive HR department. Dynamic firm. Interesting clients.

    Cons

    Long and erratic hours. Expectation of evening and weekend availability.

  8. "Legal Secretary"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    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 (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    There's a reason why so many people have been with the firm for over 20 years and it's simply because the firm treats everyone with respect. Most people are incredibly happy, get along well, and are productive. The compensation is generous, but I feel more importantly, firm management is incredibly thoughtful with events. Renting out theaters for the release of Star Wars replete with thoughtful goody bags? Those gestures/events, coupled with the family atmosphere, and incredibly capable and intellectual people are the reasons so many people have made Fenwick their home.

    Cons

    There could be much better communication in certain practice groups.

    Advice to Management

    This advice is to practice management, not firm management: tell your people upfront what to expect, what changes are coming, what's in the works. It's very frustrating finding things out through the grapevine that directly affect you when it would've been much simpler to explain a situation.


  9. "Great company, some politics"

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

    I have been working at Fenwick & West full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits, amazing smart people to work with, community service hours, MV location is really close to the caltrain station, and everyone is generally pleasant to work with.

    Cons

    Some politics and pay is average but livable in the Bay Area (in 2017!).

    Advice to Management

    You're doing a great job keeping the culture and community alive as Fenwick & West grows bigger. Thank you!


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Not Much Growth"

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

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

    Pros

    Fenwick is a very accommodating to different work schedules and offers great benefits. Co-workers range from extremely friendly and great to work with to agonizing to be around.

    Cons

    Although they are great in terms of benefits and work place culture, what it comes down to is pay. I was hired at a low wage and have suffered because of it. I moved to a different office with more expensive housing and cost of living and still make the same pay. Getting a COL raise every year will never make up for it. There is also very little room for growth for Non-legal employees.


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