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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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Court Rulings Set Stage for Backdating Suits

March 09, 2007

Kevin Muck, co-chair of Fenwick & West's Securities Litigation Group, was recently quoted in a Compliance Week story entitled, "Court Rulings Set Stage For Backdating Suits."

The Delaware Chancery Court issued two rulings earlier this month that suggest the nation's most influential tribunal on corporate law is going to be tough on companies embroiled in litigation over stock option backdating.

The two cases, one against chip manufacturer Maxim Integrated Products and the other involving Tyson Foods, rejected the argument that companies are shielded from backdating-related complaints under the business judgment rule. The Tyson case also allowed complaints to proceed against specific officers and directors and squarely put "springloaded" grants—where options are issued ahead of good news that pushes a stock price higher—in the same disapproving light as options backdated to inflate their value artificially.

Both rulings are preliminary, allowing civil litigation to proceed. But Kevin Muck, a partner with the law firm Fenwick & West, cautions that "the tone of some of the language" used by the court was "perhaps unduly sweeping." In particular, Muck notes a passage in which the court says that "all" backdated options "involve a fundamental incontrovertible lie."

Muck says corporate defendants may have reason to worry that the court allowed the lawsuits to go forward in that state even though other litigation is pending elsewhere. "In light of these decisions, you might have plaintiffs bringing suit in Delaware even when there's already a suit filed [elsewhere]," Muck says. "Essentially, you can have the same claims being litigated on parallel tracks 3,000 miles apart. That's obviously less than optimal."

Read the entire article, by Compliance Week reporter Paul Martinek.