Fenwick Rides Valley Deal Wave to Blockbuster Year

February 04, 2015

​“Propelled by a thriving market for tech deals, Fenwick & West saw explosive growth in 2014,” The Recorder opens in a profile of Fenwick & West’s record year in 2014 titled “Fenwick Rides Valley Deal Wave to Blockbuster Year.”

"Everything broke right this year. Everything aligned this year. Every cylinder hit. Every major practice area grew," Fenwick chairman Richard Dickson told The Recorder.

The firm's growth was organic and pegged to client demand, Dickson added, explaining that he has continued former Fenwick chairman and current corporate partner Gordy Davidson's path of "serving a niche clientele and fostering a collaborative environment."

Under Dickson’s leadership, Fenwick was name technology law firm of the year by Law360 for the second consecutive year.

Demonstrating the firm’s strength, Fenwick ranked third in the world for tech acquisitions. In fact, with $60 billion across 170 M&A deals, Fenwick attorneys tripled the firm’s aggregate deal value and worked on 65 percent more acquisitions than in 2013.

The Recorder notes that among the landmark M&A deals the firm handled this year were Facebook's $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR, Concur Technologies Inc.'s $8.3 billion sale to SAP America, Inc. and WhatsApp’s $19 billion purchase by Facebook, the largest venture-backed acquisition of the year.

Fenwick attorneys also represented long-time client Lending Club in the largest venture-backed initial public offering of the year for a U.S.-based company. In fact, the firm steered clients through five of the top 10 venture-backed exits of 2014.

In addition, Fenwick handled the year’s two largest venture capital financings of the year – Uber’s two $1.2 billion rounds of funding. The financings were the first and second largest in history behind Facebook’s 2011 financing, which the firm handled as well.

Dickson told The Recorder that Fenwick also achieved high-profile courtroom victories for litigation clients in 2014.

Fenwick patent litigators secured a jury verdict for Zillow Inc. due in part to their deep understanding of Zillow’s technology, and securities litigation attorneys convinced the Ninth Circuit to affirm the dismissal of a securities class action against Immersion Corp. The significance of the ruling is that a whistleblower or other internal investigation can be announced without a company inevitably facing shareholder litigation.

As busy a year as it has been, Fenwick attorneys still found time to serve the community in 2014. Fenwick received several prestigious recognitions of the firm’s pro bono efforts, including but not limited to the Beacon of Justice Award from the National Legal Aid & Defender Association and the Community Impact Award from The San Francisco Business Times. The firm also debuted on The National Law Journal’s Pro Bono Hot List, which recognizes the top 10 law firms in the U.S. for pro bono work.

Dickson added that Flex by Fenwick, which offers cost-effective options for in-house tech company legal needs, also saw growth in 2014, as it has each year since its founding in 2010.

The full article is available through The Recorder's website (subscription required).  ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​