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 >

FLEX by Fenwick is the only service created by an AmLaw 100 firm that provides flexible and cost-effective solutions for interim in-house legal needs to high-growth companies.  MORE >

Fenwick & West handles significant cross-border legal and business issues for a wide range of technology and life sciences who operate internationally..  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


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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Mountain View, CA 94041

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San Francisco, CA 94104

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New York Office
1211 Avenue of the Americas
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Unit 908, 9/F, Kerry Parkside Office
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+86 21 8017 1200

New Fed IT Rules - What to Save and What to Dump

January 04, 2007

Robert Brownstone, Law and Technology Director at Fenwick & West, exposes common myths about the new information destruction regulations and explains the legal risks of document retention and destruction in an article for Information Technology Advisor. Among the myths are that courts require companies to keep a copy of all electronic data, including email, that eDiscovery demands all relevant data be copied and sent to an a opponent in a lawsuit, and that data can be converted to other formats for easy transfer.

While it is not necessary for companies to hang on to every bit of data, they should develop well-crafted retention and destruction policies in order to protect themselves from legal risks. These policies may be tailored to fit each company's business needs. In general policies should:

  • Require data retention for statutory or regulatory periods
  • Employment and labor regulations
  • Audit and tax data rules (usually 7 years)
  • Contracts
  • Patent correspondences
  • Engineers' records
  • Corporate historical data

A good policy will also include a detailed litigation-hold or purging suspension procedure. In some cases, Brownstone also recommends that companies maintain a "privilege log" to explain to a judge why certain information, such as that which reveals attorney-client privilege, trade secrets, or private customer data, should not be disclosed.

Finally, Brownstone recommends that the best e-discovery defense is a good offense. In order to avoid a "smoking gun" email, users should be trained to not send an email that they would not want printed in the press, on a competitor's desk, in the government's hands, or read on a witness stand. At the end of the day, what does not exist cannot be used against you.

Read the entire article here.