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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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Tracking Legal Costs with Task Codes

June 12, 2012

Mark Stevens, Chair of the Pricing and Business Initiatives Committee for Fenwick & West, was recently quoted in the Of Counsel article, “Tracking Legal Costs with Task Codes.”
 
A recent survey of managing partners identified two trends that stand to make a significant and lasting impact on the legal profession. Firms are beginning to focus more on improved practice efficiency, as well as price competition.  
 
Price estimation prior to engaging in a matter is critical for firms competing for work today; however, it is often difficult for a firm to accurately estimate the cost of a matter because of their unpredictable nature.  The rise of alternative fee arrangements and pressure from clients to cut costs is leading to firms tracking their costs more efficiently and effectively than in the past.
 
Many firms are now tracking spending with UTBMS (the Uniform Task-Based Management System).
 
Fenwick & West has created a task force to develop a “rational process” for the use of new business models such as alternative fee arrangements, according to partner Mark Stevens, an executive committee member and chair of the firm’s pricing and business initiatives committee.
 
The Firm started with UTBMS codes, and then created an overlay of additional task codes where they found the UTBMS codes were not specific enough.
 
“We realized that we as a firm and as an industry will be pushed by clients to be much more sophisticated,” Stevens says. “Breaking up our work into discrete units and into functional descriptions is the only way we can do that. So now we know that a complaint is, historically, X number of dollars, and a Markman hearing is Y number of dollars. We have developed a very large data set of hundreds of matters, including but not limited to different types of litigation, initial public offerings and other securities offerings, venture financings, merger transactions, and transactional IP such as patent, trademark, and licensing.”
 
Stevens says this work “is never done” because “it’s not a project, but a shift in how we do business. This is integral to legal project management, integral to process improvement, and it drives efficiency at the firm.”
 
However, Stevens adds, although the process started with the UTBMS codes, “we began to see blank spots” that were not covered adequately by the codes. “So we added our own set of proprietary task-based codes that are standard within the firm.”
 
One example is the UTBMS category for “document review.” This can cover many types of work, from very basic paralegal work to highly sophisticated determinations about documents. The process, Stevens says, is so specific that each practice group at Fenwick & West uses its own proprietary task-based codes when needed.