SAN FRANCISCO — Buoyed by the flourishing tech sector, Fenwick & West continued its growth streak in 2015, with revenues surging 11.2 percent to $363.5 million.
Revenue per lawyer at Fenwick rose 5.6 percent to $1.2 million and net income shot up 8.4 percent to $141.5 million. The firm, which crossed the 300-lawyer threshold in 2015, reported profits per partner of $1.6 million, an increase of 5.2 percent.
“2015 was another very strong year for Fenwick driven by growth in every major practice area,” said Fenwick chairman Richard Dickson. “We’re privileged to work with some of the most successful and rapidly growing technology and life sciences companies in the world.”
Fenwick worked on several multibillion-dollar deals in 2015. The firm represented King Digital Entertainment PLC—maker of Candy Crush Saga— in its sale to Activision Blizzard Inc. for $5.9 billion; advised Symantec Corp. in the sale of its data storage business for more than $7 billion; and represented Stockton-based Diamond Foods Inc. in its $1.3 billion acquisition.
Legal consultant Peter Zeughauser credited much of Fenwick’s prosperity to Silicon Valley’s booming corporate market. The firm has held onto emerging-company clients as they matured into multinational corporations and has grown smartly by keeping its partner numbers stable while adding associates, he said.
“If they’re adding associates and they’ve got the work, that’s going to improve the firm’s leverage,” Zeughauser said. “That’s a sign of a healthy firm.”
Fenwick made two lateral partner hires in 2015, technology-transactions attorney David Johanson from Kirkland & Ellis in June and life sciences patent lawyer Daniel Becker from Dechert in July. The firm’s partnership includes 87 equity partners and 12 nonequity partners.
Accounting for attrition, Fenwick’s overall head count ticked up by one partner and 14 associates, though that may not be enough to ease the strain felt by associates stretched thin by the heavy workload. Fenwick’s pace of growth slowed from 2014, when the firm handled 12 initial public offerings and saw revenue soar nearly 20 percent.
This report is part of ALM’s early coverage of 2015 financial results of The Am Law 100/200. Final rankings and full results for The Am Law 100 will be published in The American Lawyer’s May 2016 issue and on AmericanLawyer.com. Am Law Second Hundred rankings will be published in the June issue.
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