Richard Dickson, Fenwick & West chair
Richard Dickson, Fenwick & West chair ()

Fenwick & West’s financial growth spurt didn’t carry into 2016.

The Silicon Valley stalwart pulled in $361.5 million in gross revenue last year, a slight dip from the 11.2 percent surge that saw Fenwick’s turnover hit $363.5 million in 2015. Revenue per lawyer dropped 2.9 percent in 2016, to $1,165,000, while the firm’s profits per partner fell 8 percent, to $1.49 million.

Fenwick chairman Richard Dickson noted that gross revenue is still up 30 percent over a three-year period. The firm saw a huge spike in its litigation practice in 2015, and it wasn’t surprised when this year was a little slower, he said.

“Overall, 2016 we viewed as a very strong year,” Dickson said. “It follows two years of spectacular growth. We feel very good about the performance.”

Dickson said that Fenwick, a firm known for its work counseling technology companies seeking to go public, experienced strong revenue growth in 2016 from its corporate and intellectual property practices.

Fenwick lawyers worked on 14 transactions with values of at least $1 billion. The firm teamed up with White & Case to advise Finnish game developer Supercell Oy on its $8.6 billion sale to Chinese technology company Tencent Holdings Ltd., one of the largest gaming deals ever.

A Fenwick team was hired by Hoboken, New Jersey-based Jet.com to handle the e-commerce company’s $3 billion acquisition by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The firm represented General Motors Co. last year on its $1 billion buy of Cruise Automation Inc., a San Francisco-based autonomous vehicle technology startup.

On the IP side, patent prosecution continued to be a bright spot for Fenwick, which counts Facebook Inc. among its largest clients. The firm also handles transactional work for the social networking giant, having picked up the corporate work for Facebook on its acquisition of face-swapping app maker Masquerade Technologies Inc.

Of course, not all of Fenwick’s technology clients pan out. In the bankruptcy filing this week by Lily Robotics Inc., the San Francisco-based camera drone startup listed an $83,922.17 debt to Fenwick for legal services. (Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and Delaware’s Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell are advising Lily in its bankruptcy case.)

Fenwick’s head count increased 2.3 percent in 2016, to 310, thanks in part to the firm’s hire of corporate partner Ian Goldstein from Drinker Biddle & Reath. Goldstein helped Fenwick open a New York office last May, a longtime goal of the firm as it also relocated three partners from the West Coast. At the time, Dickson said rising client demand from startups drove Fenwick’s decision to expand eastward.

This past January, Fenwick’s New York office recruited another lateral partner in Lowenstein Sandler’s Ethan Skerry, a technology and life sciences deal expert. (The American Lawyer, a sibling publication, also reported last year on a policy at Fenwick that allows certain lawyers to work from wherever they wish.)

“We’re off to a terrific start in New York,” said Dickson, who succeeded longtime Fenwick leader Gordon Davidson as chair in 2014. “We’re continuing to build on our FinTech practice, and we’ve added dozens of clients.”

In the next 12 months, Dickson said Fenwick will continue focusing on growing its presence in the New York market and maintaining its “razor sharp focus” on technology and life sciences. The firm entered 2017 with a solid pipeline of work, he said, including representing Cisco Systems Inc. on its pending $3.7 billion acquisition of software maker AppDynamics Inc.

“We’re off to a very, very strong start and feel very good about 2017,” Dickson said.

Fenwick & West ’s financial growth spurt didn’t carry into 2016.

The Silicon Valley stalwart pulled in $361.5 million in gross revenue last year, a slight dip from the 11.2 percent surge that saw Fenwick’s turnover hit $363.5 million in 2015. Revenue per lawyer dropped 2.9 percent in 2016, to $1,165,000, while the firm’s profits per partner fell 8 percent, to $1.49 million.

Fenwick chairman Richard Dickson noted that gross revenue is still up 30 percent over a three-year period. The firm saw a huge spike in its litigation practice in 2015, and it wasn’t surprised when this year was a little slower, he said.

“Overall, 2016 we viewed as a very strong year,” Dickson said. “It follows two years of spectacular growth. We feel very good about the performance.”

Dickson said that Fenwick, a firm known for its work counseling technology companies seeking to go public, experienced strong revenue growth in 2016 from its corporate and intellectual property practices.

Fenwick lawyers worked on 14 transactions with values of at least $1 billion. The firm teamed up with White & Case to advise Finnish game developer Supercell Oy on its $8.6 billion sale to Chinese technology company Tencent Holdings Ltd., one of the largest gaming deals ever.

A Fenwick team was hired by Hoboken, New Jersey-based Jet.com to handle the e-commerce company’s $3 billion acquisition by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The firm represented General Motors Co. last year on its $1 billion buy of Cruise Automation Inc., a San Francisco-based autonomous vehicle technology startup.

On the IP side, patent prosecution continued to be a bright spot for Fenwick, which counts Facebook Inc. among its largest clients. The firm also handles transactional work for the social networking giant, having picked up the corporate work for Facebook on its acquisition of face-swapping app maker Masquerade Technologies Inc.

Of course, not all of Fenwick’s technology clients pan out. In the bankruptcy filing this week by Lily Robotics Inc., the San Francisco-based camera drone startup listed an $83,922.17 debt to Fenwick for legal services. ( Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and Delaware’s Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell are advising Lily in its bankruptcy case.)

Fenwick’s head count increased 2.3 percent in 2016, to 310, thanks in part to the firm’s hire of corporate partner Ian Goldstein from Drinker Biddle & Reath . Goldstein helped Fenwick open a New York office last May, a longtime goal of the firm as it also relocated three partners from the West Coast. At the time, Dickson said rising client demand from startups drove Fenwick’s decision to expand eastward.

This past January, Fenwick’s New York office recruited another lateral partner in Lowenstein Sandler ’s Ethan Skerry, a technology and life sciences deal expert. (The American Lawyer, a sibling publication, also reported last year on a policy at Fenwick that allows certain lawyers to work from wherever they wish.)

“We’re off to a terrific start in New York ,” said Dickson, who succeeded longtime Fenwick leader Gordon Davidson as chair in 2014. “We’re continuing to build on our FinTech practice, and we’ve added dozens of clients.”

In the next 12 months, Dickson said Fenwick will continue focusing on growing its presence in the New York market and maintaining its “razor sharp focus” on technology and life sciences. The firm entered 2017 with a solid pipeline of work, he said, including representing Cisco Systems Inc. on its pending $3.7 billion acquisition of software maker AppDynamics Inc.

“We’re off to a very, very strong start and feel very good about 2017,” Dickson said.