Founder William A. Fenwick Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

Mountain View, CA (August 26, 2015) – Fenwick & West is pleased to announce that founding partner Bill Fenwick has been honored with The American Lawyer's 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award.  Heralded as a “Silicon Valley legal pioneer,” Fenwick is one of eight lifetime achievers being recognized this year.

Describing the honorees, Kim Kleman, editor-in-chief of The American Lawyer put it best, "These lawyers have made an indelible imprint on the profession. Their achievements are an example to us all about how great careers are made.”

The Lifetime Achievement Awards celebrate individuals who have advanced the practice of law. The magazine also notes that the honorees have made a powerful difference through pro bono and civic work. Each award recipient is profiled in a feature in the September issue of The American Lawyer.

Fenwick & West is here today “because of Bill's vision and because of his soul,” Fenwick partner and former chair Gordy Davidson recounted.

"He grasps the concepts of technology better than anyone I've ever met," shared Fenwick Chief Information Officer Matt Kesner.

Long before Silicon Valley became the world’s largest tech hub, Fenwick recognized that computers were "going to be the most powerful force in the world in my lifetime," he recalled.

This intuition led him to leave Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in New York and found Fenwick & West in Palo Alto in 1972 with three fellow associates.

As the magazine profile describes, “Fenwick imbued the 300-lawyer firm that bears his name with an egalitarian culture and a reputation for cutting-edge work.”

Over the past four decades, the firm has served some of the most innovative technology and life sciences companies in the world, companies including Cisco, Oracle, Facebook, eBay, Electronic Arts, Intuit, Uber and Airbnb.

Several of Fenwick’s achievements were highlighted, such as providing early legal counsel to Apple including developing the first "shrink-wrap license" to protect IP rights for personal computers. He also participated in shaping the Privacy Act of 1974 and preventing it from stifling the early technology industry. Internally, at Fenwick & West, he identified the value of sharing information with clients electronically which the firm now does through 30,000 extranets.

In addition to Fenwick’s litigation work for the firm, he also chaired or participated in many important committees including chairing the EFT Transfer Committee, American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. and the Practicing Law Institute's program on Computer Litigation.

His other honors include the Judicial Council’s 2001 Bernard E. Witkin Award for his efforts assisting the courts in adopting information technology and in moving into electronic filing. In 2011, he also received the Southern Illinois University Distinguished Alumni Award for his outstanding career accomplishments and commitment to his alma mater and community.

About Fenwick & West
Fenwick & West provides comprehensive legal services to ground-breaking technology and life sciences companies – at every stage of their lifecycle – and the investors that partner with them. We craft innovative, cost-effective and practical solutions 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. For information about a career at Fenwick visit us at​. ​​​​​