For more than four decades, Fenwick & West LLP 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.  MORE >

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 the legal work for those technological innovations. In order to be most effective, they decided they needed to move to a location close to primary research and technology development. These four attorneys opened their first office in downtown Palo Alto, and Fenwick became one of the first technology law firms in the world.  MORE >

From our founding in 1972, Fenwick has been committed to promoting diversity and inclusion both within our firm and throughout the legal profession. For almost four decades, the firm has actively promoted an open and inclusive work environment and committed significant resources towards improving our diversity efforts at every level.  MORE >

FLEX by Fenwick is the only service created by an AmLaw 100 firm that provides flexible and cost-effective solutions for interim in-house legal needs to high-growth companies.  MORE >

Fenwick & West handles significant cross-border legal and business issues for a wide range of technology and life sciences who operate internationally..  MORE >

At Fenwick, we are proud of our commitment to the community and to our culture of making a difference in the lives of individuals and organizations in the communities where we live and work. We recognize that providing legal services is not only an essential part of our professional responsibility, but also an excellent opportunity for our attorneys to gain valuable practical experience, learn new areas of the law and contribute to the community.  MORE >

Year after year, Fenwick & West is honored for excellence in the legal profession. Many of our attorneys are recognized as leaders in their respective fields, and our Corporate, Tax, Litigation and Intellectual Property Practice Groups consistently receive top national and international rankings, including:

  • Named Technology Group of the Year by Law360
  • Ranked #1 in the Americas for number of technology deals in 2015 by Mergermarket
  • Nearly 20 percent of Fenwick partners are ranked by Chambers
  • Consistently ranked among the top 10 law firms in the U.S. for diversity
  • Recognized as having top mentoring and pro bono programs by Euromoney


We take sustainability very seriously at Fenwick. Like many of our clients, we are adopting policies that reduce consumption and waste, and improve efficiency. By using technologies developed by a number of our cleantech clients, we are at the forefront of implementing sustainable policies and practices that minimize environmental impact. In fact, Fenwick has earned recognition in several areas as one of the top US law firms for implementing sustainable business practices.  MORE >

At Fenwick, we have a passion for excellence and innovation that mirrors our client base. Our firm is making revolutionary changes to the practice of law through substantial investments in proprietary technology tools and processes—allowing us to deliver best-in-class legal services more effectively.   MORE >

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Silicon Valley Center
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Mountain View, CA 94041

San Francisco Office
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San Francisco, CA 94104

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New York Office
1211 Avenue of the Americas
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+86 21 8017 1200

Executive Compensation and Corporate and Securities Alert: SEC Adopts NYSE and Nasdaq Rules Relating to Compensation Commit

On January 11, 2013 the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") approved the equity listing standards proposed by the NYSE and Nasdaq, as amended1 regarding compensation committee independence criteria and compensation adviser independence criteria, which are required under Dodd-Frank Act Section 952.

A more detailed summary of the NYSE and Nasdaq proposals in our previous client alert dated December 20, 2012 is available here.

Effective Dates

The NYSE Proposed Rules generally take effect on July 1, 2013. NYSE-listed companies would have until the earlier of October 31, 2014 or their first annual meeting after January 15, 2014 to comply with the independence standards.

The Nasdaq Proposed Rules relating to compensation committee responsibilities and relating to the (a) authority to retain compensation consultants, independent legal counsel and other compensation advisers; (b) authority to fund such advisers; and (c) responsibility to consider certain independence factors before selecting such advisers, other than in-house legal counsel, are effective July 1, 2013. The remainder of the Nasdaq Proposed Rules, including the committee member independence standards and specific charter requirements, must be complied with by the earlier of either October 31, 2014 or the first annual meeting held after January 15, 2014. Nasdaq will require a certification as to compliance within 30 days after the final implementation deadline applicable to a listed company. The form of compensation committee certification will be available through Nasdaq's Listing Center website
( prior to the effective date of the Nasdaq Proposed Rules.​


1. In Amendment No. 3, the NYSE: (a) revised the transition period for companies that cease to be Smaller Reporting Companies to comply with the full range of new requirements; (b) changed references in the rule text from Regulation S-K, Item 10(f)(1) to Exchange Act Rule 12b-2; (c) added commentary to state that the independence assessment of compensation advisers required of compensation committees does not need to be conducted for advisers whose roles are limited to those entitled to an exception from the compensation adviser disclosure rules under Item 407(e)(3)(iii) of Regulation S-K; and (d) added commentary to state that the independence assessment of compensation advisers required of compensation committees does not require the adviser to be independent, only that the compensation committee consider the enumerated factors before selecting or receiving advice from the adviser. Amendment No. 1 was included in the text of the Federal Register and summarized in our previous client Alert and Amendment No. 2 was withdrawn.

In Amendment No. 1, Nasdaq: (a) added language regarding the authority of a compensation committee to retain compensation advisers, the requirement that a listed company fund such advisers, and the independence assessment required to be made before selecting or receiving advice from such advisers, rather than incorporating these details by reference as in the original proposal; (b) revised the dates by which companies currently listed on Nasdaq will be required to comply with the new rules so that the new rules take effect on July 1, 2013; (c) revised the phase-in schedule for companies that cease to be Smaller Reporting Companies to comply with the full range of the new requirements; and (d) added a preamble to the new rules clarifying that, during the transition periods until the new rules apply, a company must continue to comply with the corresponding provisions, if any, in the current rules. Nasdaq also added an exhibit setting forth the form that it will provide for companies to certify their compliance with the rules. In Amendment No. 2, Nasdaq revised the proposed rules to state that the independence assessment of compensation advisers required of compensation committees does not need to be conducted for advisers whose roles are limited to those entitled to an exception from the adviser disclosure rules under Item 407(e)(3)(iii) of Regulation S-K. ​