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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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SEC Makes It Easier For Investors to Nominate Corporate Directors

August 25, 2010

August 25, 2010 (Mountain View, CA) – Horace Nash, Corporate partner and Chair of the Securities Group of Fenwick & West LLP, was recently quoted in the National Law Journal article "SEC Makes It Easier For Investors to Nominate Corporate Directors."

In a 3-2 vote, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently made changes regarding how public company shareholders can nominate directors on proxy materials, ending a 30 year debate. The vote outlines new regulations that will generally allow a shareholder or group of shareholders who have owned at least 3% of the company's voting stock for at least three years to get their own corporate director candidates listed on company-issued shareholder voting materials. The change makes it less expensive and easier for shareholders to nominate their own candidates for director slots. Additionally, the rule will also limit shareholder nominees to the greater of one nominee or 25% of the board in an effort to prevent shareholders from using the rule to change control of the company.

SEC Chairman, Mary Shapiro noted that the July 2010 enactment of the financial reform bill also known as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform And Consumer Protection Act, put to rest questions about whether the SEC has the authority to issue the proxy access rule.

While the SEC rule's effective date is 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, not all public companies will be subject to the rule next year because nominating shareholders or groups must notify the company 120 days before the company mailed last year's shareholder voting materials. The SEC also deferred the effective date for "smaller reporting companies" under SEC rules for three years, and said it might make changes for smaller companies depending on how the rules impact larger companies in the interim.

The impact of the regulation "will be felt most immediately and most strongly" by the largest public companies that have numerous long-term institutional shareholders, said Horace Nash. "This is where the high-profile shareholder activist groups will be prominent," Nash continued.

Major shareholders of midsize public companies that have experienced financial or other setbacks in recent years could also use the proxy rule to get a candidate on the company board. "These companies may be less well prepared to deal with a proxy access challenge than the larger companies are," Nash said.