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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 >

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:

  • Nearly 15 percent of Fenwick partners named America's Leading Lawyers for Business by Chambers USA and Chambers Global
  • Selected as a "Go-To" law firm by in-house legal departments at Fortune 500 companies in Corporate Counsel magazine
  • Named to The National Law Journal's inaugural "Intellectual Property Hot List" for outstanding patent, copyright, trademark and IP litigation services

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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 >

Mountain View Office
Silicon Valley Center
801 California Street
Mountain View, CA 94041
650.988.8500

San Francisco Office
555 California Street
12th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104
415.875.2300

Seattle Office
1191 Second Avenue
10th Floor
Seattle, WA 98101
206.389.4510

Private Equity

About Our Private Equity Practice

Fenwick & West's Private Equity practice combines a team of experienced private equity "purist" lawyers with the firm's more than 300 lawyers whose practice is dedicated to serving technology and life sciences clients in transformative transactions and day-to-day legal matters. This combination uniquely enables us to deliver the technical skills, experience and thought leadership earned through our disciplined focus in representing the world's most reputable technology companies over the last 40 years to complement the resources and expertise of our private equity transactional lawyers. As a result, we provide a holistic solution to the legal services needs of our private equity sponsor clients investing in the technology industry—without compromise and with maximum value.

While our private equity lawyers often represent sponsors investing across a wide spectrum of industries (including, among others, consumer, apparel, business services, healthcare services and manufacturing), our Private Equity practice is particularly distinguished by its expertise in representing sponsors in connection with technology transactions. We have substantial experience representing sponsors in transactions across various growth sectors within the broader technology industry, including, among other sectors, software (enterprise/consumer and SaaS/traditional licensing models), e-commerce, social media, networking and communications, gaming and Internet content.

We regularly represent private equity sponsors (including buyout funds, growth equity funds, venture capital funds and hedge funds) and the companies partnering with those sponsors in connection with buyouts, "going private" transactions, carve-out acquisitions, add-on acquisitions, divestitures, recapitalizations, growth equity/structured minority equity financings, debt financings, joint ventures and other strategic transactions.

We also deploy the broad resources of our firm—including patent and trademark prosecution, licensing, patent and commercial litigation, copyright, employment counseling and executive compensation lawyers, all of whom handle some of the most trusted assignments from many of Silicon Valley's most prominent technology companies, to solve the day-to-day legal issues of the portfolio companies of our private equity sponsor clients.

Fenwick & West is one of the most active private equity law firms in the U.S. We have recently been ranked by both Bloomberg and Mergerstat as one of the top 25 global private equity legal advisors—across all industries. We have also recently been recognized by Private Equity Analyst as one of the Top 10 most active U.S. law firms for private equity deals.

More broadly, our M&A practice consistently earns accolades as a leader in technology M&A. For example:  Mergermarket recently ranked Fenwick as one of the Top 5 M&A legal advisors for technology deals in North America, and Global M&A Network awarded Fenwick with the "2011 North America M&A Deal of the Year" and the "2011 U.S. M&A Deal of the Year" awards—each for distinct transactions.

As a result of our disciplined focus on the technology industry with a particular emphasis on strategic transactions, we are able to achieve the successes that are behind these accolades with less than one-third the number of lawyers of many firms within our peer group of competitors.

While our firm has a proven track record of representing parties to multi-billion dollar M&A transactions, our Private Equity practice is also routinely retained for its ability to deliver extraordinary value in "middle-market" private equity transactions. Notably, two of the six private equity sponsors recently recognized by Buyouts magazine as the "Top 6 Emerging Private Equity Funds" nationwide—and the only two sponsors on that list headquartered on the West Coast—are Fenwick clients.

Our Private Equity practice is supported by, among other disciplines, what has been recognized as one of the country's elite tax practices. Our Tax practice includes partner Jim Fuller who, among other accolades, is recognized as the only U.S. tax advisor to receive the Chambers coveted "star performer" rating. In addition, our tax practice is the only law firm headquartered in California recognized by International Tax Review as a "Tier 1" tax practice.

Our attorneys have substantial expertise representing many of the most prominent private equity sponsors in the U.S., including:

  • ABS Capital Partners
  • Accel-KKR
  • Accel Partners
  • Andreessen Horowitz
  • Bertram Capital
  • Calera Capital
  • Carlyle Group
  • Elevation Partners
  • Goldman, Sachs
  • Gores Group
  • Inverness Graham Investments
  • Mainsail Partners
  • MSouth Equity Partners
  • Nautic Partners
  • Pamlico Capital
  • Pioneer Capital
  • Ridgemont Equity Partners
  • Vulcan Capital
  • Warburg Pincus

Fund Formation

Our private equity team is also deeply experienced in representing fund manager sponsors at every stage of the fund formation life cycle, including structuring and forming:

  • Accelerators/Incubators
  • Venture capital funds
  • Private equity buy-out and distress funds
  • Hedge funds
  • Private equity real estate funds
  • Corporate Strategic Investors
  • Funds of funds
  • Family Office and Investment Management Platforms

Our services include the use of both domestic and offshore investment vehicles; negotiations with domestic and international investors from inception through wind-up; regulatory and tax planning and compliance; general partner entity and management company structuring, including governance; compensation and incentives programs; and changes in personnel and restructuring.

Our collaborative service approach also includes working closely with our tax attorneys to identify and resolve specific tax considerations that may arise, including those impacting offshore or tax-exempt investors, and offshore investment programs.