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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Web 2.0 and Legal Discovery

April 19, 2008

Michael Sands, Chair of the Electronic Information Management (EIM) Group with Fenwick & West, was recently quoted in an InfoWeek article entitled, "Web 2.0 and Legal Discovery."

Most IT and legal departments are aware that during litigation, corporate e-mail is going to be requisitioned by the adversary. What many enterprises may not realize is any digital information is vulnerable—including data in wikis and blogs, or files and documents stored in collaborative environments.

The problem for today's enterprises is that users may have set up accounts to create wikis and blogs and share corporate data without the knowledge or involvement of IT or in-house counsel. Failure to produce relevant information may have serious consequences, including fines and other penalties such as an adverse inference ruling.

An even more damaging consequence is a preclusion order, in which the party is prevented from raising certain defenses and making certain arguments; this may result in the company losing the case entirely, says Michael Sands, a partner in the litigation group at Fenwick & West. Sands counsels enterprises in legal discovery.

"We tell clients, the first thing is to get a handle on what you have and where you have it," Sands says. He adds that IT typically starts talking about servers and local drives, and then mobile devices. "Then we say, 'What about wikis and blogs? Or Facebook?' Their faces go blank."

Sands says courts generally don't accept "We didn't know it was there" as an excuse for not producing information. "Stuff can be put in new remote areas and is harder to access, but it's still part of the discovery process, and that's something companies are struggling to understand."

"I'm not sure the courts would be terribly impressed with an argument that says, 'We had a policy that says you shouldn't do that," Sands says.