Mountain View, CA (January 9, 2014) – Fenwick & West is pleased to announce that the firm has been selected to The National Law Journal’s Pro Bono Hot List. Among only 10 law firms in the United States to receive this recognition, Fenwick is honored for its exemplary commitment to providing pro bono services.
Over the past five years, Fenwick attorneys and staff have logged nearly 50,000 pro bono hours valued at close to $20 million in legal fees.
The National Law Journal features Fenwick’s work on one of the largest nonprofit mergers in U.S. history as particularly noteworthy in 2013.
“While other Fenwick & West lawyers logged more than 50,000 pro bono hours during the past five years, associate Gaurav Sud's mergers-and-acquisitions practice never afforded him much chance to contribute,” the profile begins.
“Then he jumped at a rare opportunity. Two nonprofits, Shelter Network and InnVision the Way Home, decided they could better help the homeless in California as one large organization.”
Supervised by corporate partner David Michaels and supported by former Fenwick associate Sarah Herman, associate Gaurav Sud led and orchestrated the merger and the post merger complex integration of Shelter Network and InnVision, two nonprofit organizations that combined efforts to help homeless families and individuals across Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Peninsula return to permanent housing and self-sufficiency. The merger of two nonprofits is certainly not a trivial transaction; it’s highly complex and very rare and this one took nearly a year to complete.
"Without the money element, you're forced to shift risk by just the words on the page," Sud told The National Law Journal. "It caused us to do sort of a deeper dive on due diligence and understand what we were assuming here, because we couldn't lean on the fact we had some escrow account if something goes wrong, because we didn't."
“About nine months and 150 hours later, one of the biggest nonprofit mergers in the state's history was finished,” the profile continues.
The result of the merger was an organization with greater efficiencies and the ability to help a larger population. InnVision Shelter Network now operates in 18 facilities throughout Silicon Valley and the Peninsula, and its 240 employees and 18,000 volunteers (annually) provides services to more than 1,000 homeless individuals housed each night.
“It was an honor to be able to play a role in the history of these venerable organizations,” said Sud. “It was a powerful and rewarding experience to use my time and the skills I’ve honed to hopefully make a difference in the lives of homeless individuals and families in the Bay Area. As corporate lawyers, it’s not often that we get the opportunity to step in and help in this way.”
Tax associate Larissa Neumann’s nonprofit work is also pointed to as exemplary in the profile. Neumann provides very important pro bono services that are underprovided due to the technicality of tax law. Nonprofit organizations often need legal guidance but can rarely afford to hire attorneys. In 2013, she provided legal counsel to a wide array of organizations, including but not limited to San Francisco Mayor’s Committee for Employment of Persons with Disabilities; Rock Health; ChIPS (which supports and promotes women in intellectual property); Earth, Air and Space Educational Foundation; Recovery Café San Jose; Animal Legal Defense Fund; Kiva; Women in Health; and Ribbon of Hope. Without her pro bono work, many of these non-profit organizations would be underfunded without a federal tax exemption, keeping them from carrying out their missions.
“We’re honored to receive this esteemed recognition, especially among firms that are in some cases several times our size,” said partner Patrick Premo, chair of Fenwick’s Pro Bono Program. “Pro bono has always been a fundamental part of our culture here at Fenwick, and it’s been really rewarding to see our corporate and tax attorneys use their unique skill sets in areas where you don’t generally see pro bono support.”
In 2012, Fenwick was awarded the “Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award” by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California for its commitment to pro bono services.
About Fenwick & West
Fenwick & West provides comprehensive legal services to ground-breaking technology and life sciences companies at every stage of their lifecycle. We craft innovative, cost-effective and practical solutions for established and emerging companies on issues ranging from venture capital, public offerings, joint ventures, M&A and strategic relationships, to intellectual property, litigation and dispute resolution, taxation, antitrust, and employment and labor law. For more than four decades, Fenwick has helped some of the world's most recognized companies become and remain market leaders.