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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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Ralph Pais, Enterprising Lawyer

August 11, 2014

​Fenwick & West partner and technology transactions practice chair Ralph Pais is profiled by Attorney at Work and discusses the innovation behind FLEXbyFenwick (FLEX), a service that supplies experienced in-house lawyers to assist client companies during busy periods.

Pais now spends the majority of his time running and growing FLEX’s business, he said, while also working up to 600 hours per year for firm clients such as Facebook, Dropbox and others.

The idea for FLEX came from “observing client behaviors and changing needs in my practice,” Pais told Attorney at Work.

“Early-stage companies rely heavily on their outside counsel for almost all legal needs. As their businesses grow, and they get traction in the market, there are day-to-day legal needs that they don’t want to use a large firm for, and yet they aren’t ready to hire full-time legal resources. Often, their management team isn’t sure how or where to find the right legal resources to address those needs. I thought if we could build a business that would help companies address those needs, that could be useful.”

Improving legal services is a priority for Pais. “I like thinking about ways in which we can improve what we do in delivering services to clients.”

FLEX gives lawyers new options for providing services. “FLEX is a way for lawyers to work with very interesting companies and control their own work levels and commitments. It is also a way for lawyers who have their own practices to supplement their workload, and get access to clients they might not be able to develop on their own, while letting someone else handle business development, billing and collection matters.”

Pais credited Alexandra Smith, Fenwick’s senior director of product and services development, as his collaborator in developing FLEX.

“We have been in this together from the start,” Pais said. “I think if you can do something with another person and then build a team, you are much more likely to be successful than if you try to do it alone. We also received lots of support from the firm’s leadership and my partners.”

In addition to his client work and FLEX, Pais is also responsible for DMR, Fenwick’s internal discovery and diligence team, and oversees the firm’s professional development program. His career includes 16 years as Consul of the Netherlands for Northern California. He has also served as general counsel to a supplements and cosmetics company and taught at Stanford Law School and the Wharton School’s San Francisco campus.

The full profile is available through the Attorney at Work website.