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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:

  • Named Technology Group of the Year by Law360
  • Ranked #1 in the Americas for number of technology deals in 2015 by Mergermarket
  • Nearly 20 percent of Fenwick partners are ranked by Chambers
  • Consistently ranked among the top 10 law firms in the U.S. for diversity
  • Recognized as having top mentoring and pro bono programs by Euromoney

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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 >

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Blurring of Work, Personal Tech Drives Privacy Disputes

January 30, 2015

​Fenwick & West electronic information management chair Robert Brownstone spoke with The Recorder about privacy lawsuits over employers accessing former employees' email accounts and other personal information on work computers.

To avoid being sued and strengthen their litigation position, Brownstone advises companies to always spell out their privacy policy for employees.

"What I work with clients on is being very, very clear in the written policy that there's no expectation of privacy," he said, "and it extends to any and all information passing through, received, stored or transmitted on any network device not only provided by the employer, but cost-reimbursed or supported by the employer."

However, Brownstone discourages clients from explicitly stating that they can log in to employees' personal email accounts.

Brownstone also commented on the viability of the federal Wiretap Act claim in a lawsuit filed by a former Southern California teacher against his school district, which accessed his personal social media accounts after he was accused of stalking and harassing underage students.

Because the Wiretap Act was passed in 1968 and last updated in 1986, courts have often interpreted its language as applying to telephonic but not email snooping.

However, Brownstone said, "It's possible that over time judges have grown impatient waiting for Congress to update the rules." 

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