June 30, 2008 (Mountain View, CA) – Making significant gains in revenue per lawyer, associate satisfaction and commitment to pro bono, Fenwick & West jumped more than 30 points in American Lawyer Media's "A List" report card. Fenwick ranked 33rd amongst the AmLaw 200 firms this year, just shy of reaching one of the top 25 positions that constitutes the "A List."
American Lawyer's "A List" is a report card for the AmLaw 200 law firms. It extrapolates a single score for each firm based upon rankings in four categories:
Revenue per lawyer and pro bono are given twice the weight in scoring as the other two categories. During the past two years, Fenwick ranked #71 (2006) and #64 (2007). This year's jump to #33 earned Fenwick a "three firms to watch in 2009" mention by American Lawyer.
Here is the excerpt from American Lawyer's July 2008 issue:
THREE TO WATCH
Who might climb on board the A-List next year? Here's an early look at three 2009 contenders:
Fenwick & West
Fenwick, which represents life sciences and technology companies, made a terrific jump up the A-List leader board in 2008, climbing 31 rungs to the 33rd spot. Fueling the move were gains in revenue per lawyer (up to $815,000 from $710,000), pro bono (hours increased to 54 per lawyer, from 49), and associate satisfaction (Fenwick scored 36th best in 2007, way up from 142nd in 2006).
The mid-size firm does litigation, corporate, and tax work for giants like Cisco Systems, Inc., ..... but at least half of its clients are smaller tech companies and start-ups. Fenwick was "busy across the board" in 2007, says firm managing partner Kathryn Fritz. As for other moves up the charts: Fritz says pro bono gains can't be chalked up to any one case, but rather a policy that encourages lawyers to take on unusual matters around the world. (One example: Partner Vic Schachter worked with Indian courts to help develop alternative dispute resolution procedures as a way to bypass overburdened court dockets.) Fritz says the associate score may be a reaction into a popular flex program which allows associates to choose between a 1,950 hour track and a 1,800 hour track.
She reports that business is just as strong this year as last. (The same cannot be said for at least some of the firms ahead of Fenwick in the A-List rankings—particularly firms with big M&A and private equity practices). Also, while Fenwick increased its pro bono ranking over last year, at 73rd best there is still ample room to grow. If the firm continues to score near the top in—it already stands out even among Northern California firms which are traditionally strong in this area—and keeps its associates happy, the A-List is within reach.