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It’s the assignment that got away that has done as much to shape Fenwick & West as any other. Fenwick lawyers incorporated Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak’s Apple Computer Inc. in 1976, after a partner’s sister referred the pair to the small Silicon Valley firm. But four years later, when Apple wanted to go public, the company took its IPO work to Fenwick’s then–building mates at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Fenwick chair Gordon "Gordy" Davidson says the trauma of missing out on the Apple IPO was part of what triggered his transition from litigator to corporate dealmaker.

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