Fenwick’s Capital Markets Group was named as Practice Group of the Year by Law360, with the publication recognizing the group for its landmark work for tech and life sciences clients.
Capital Markets Group co-chairs James Evans and Robert Freedman and partners Ran Ben-Tzur and Amanda Rose spoke with the publication about the practice’s banner year, including the direct listing for cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, which made history as both the first major crypto exchange to go public and the first technology company to go public through a direct listing on the Nasdaq.
In describing Coinbase’s unorthodox path to public markets, Ben-Tzur said that the team drew on experience with crypto clients and mainstream capital markets transactions.
"We spent a lot of time with them, making sure that they were always one step ahead of potential SEC comments that were going to get raised during the process," he said.
A Banner Year for Public Debuts
Fenwick also handled ZipRecruiter’s high-profile $2.4 billion direct listing. Evans noted that Fenwick is particularly adept at these complex transactions.
"The direct listing has its own unique attributes to it, including a different aftermarket dynamic," Evans said. "Making sure employees understand that, and then, probably as importantly, making sure that the logistical steps have been taken to facilitate those liquidity options is critical.”
Throughout the year, Fenwick took numerous companies public through SPACs, including for clients Nextdoor, Sema4 and Proterra, and through traditional IPOs, including SentinelOne's $1.4 billion IPO, the largest cybersecurity IPO to date; GitLab’s $800 million IPO, which had the highest revenue multiple ever achieved for a modern software company; and Compass' $450 million IPO, one of the largest real estate tech IPOs in history.
Fenwick’s representation of Dice Therapeutics in its IPO was notable because the offering priced just before a late-year slowdown for the biotech sector, Rose said. Dice Therapeutics sold 12 million shares—2 million more than planned—in an upsized IPO on Sept. 15, and rose in after-market trading. Rose noted that the Dice transaction was “a bright star in what was starting to become a choppier market.”
Expanding the Capital Markets Team
Amid the increased client demand and market activity, Fenwick expanded its capital markets team, including the promotion of Jen Hitchcock and Ryan Mitteness to the partnership, to provide enhanced support to clients.
"We ramped up our lateral hiring heavily, both at the partner level and the associate level," Freedman said. Fenwick added new capital markets partners Per Chilstrom, Michael Pilo and Aman Singh last year, and continues to hire talent, he said, “because it's that busy. There's a lot of demand for this area."
This is the second time that Fenwick’s Capital Markets Group has received this recognition from Law360. The practice was also listed among California’s leading firms for capital markets in Chambers USA in 2021, and was ranked #1 issuer-side for public offerings in 2021 by deal value, according to Deal Point Data.
Law360 Practice Groups of the Year recognizes the firms that worked on the largest deals or achieved the most victories on notable cases of the past year. To read the full profile, visit Law360 (subscription required).