REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Silicon Valley law firm pioneer Bill Fenwick dies at 83

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(Reuters) – William “Bill” Fenwick, co-founder of Silicon Valley law firm Fenwick & West, died on Oct. 4 in Palo Alto at age 83, his firm mentioned.

The firm introduced his dying Thursday, praising his prescience to create a law firm catering to tech entrepreneurs and the “egalitarian and respectful” firm tradition he created.

Firmwide chair Richard Dickson declined to specify the reason for dying. Fenwick held the title of accomplice emeritus and had stepped away from his energetic follow, Dickson mentioned.

“I think of Bill as not just an entrepreneur, but a visionary,” mentioned Dickson, who had recognized Fenwick for 28 years. “He’s someone who really embraced technology and change. He provided all of us with a strong early example of taking the time to develop a deep understanding of technology and where innovation is headed.”

Fenwick was a fifth-year affiliate at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in 1972 when he and three others from the New York firm based their very own store in Palo Alto to serve the know-how business, which was nonetheless in its infancy. Computer systems weren’t international to Fenwick, nonetheless. He had labored nights within the pc operations heart of a shoe producer to help his household whereas incomes his 1967 diploma from Vanderbilt Law Faculty.

In an interview with Vanderbilt Law’s alumni journal, Fenwick recalled pushing Cleary’s companions to modernize, convincing them to purchase the firm’s first IBM phrase processor.

Fenwick & West’s first huge shopper was Pioneer Electronics—a producer Fenwick had solid a relationship with at Cleary. In 1976, Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak approached the firm about serving to their budding pc enterprise incorporate – the beginning of a protracted relationship.

Since then, Fenwick has represented lots of the largest tech and life sciences gamers in issues starting from litigation and mental property to mergers and acquisitions and enterprise capital. Its shopper roster additionally consists of Google, Amazon and Fb.

At this time, Fenwick says it has greater than 500 attorneys, with workplaces in Mountain View, Calif., San Francisco, Santa Monica, Seattle, New York, and Shanghai. In August, it launched a Washington, D.C., workplace with three accomplice hires.

Along with managing the firm’s early development, Fenwick helped set up its egalitarian and entrepreneurial spirit, Dickson mentioned, including that attorneys and others get pleasure from an uncommon stage of autonomy for a firm of its measurement.

“We all take a great deal of pride in our firm culture, and Bill is the one who really laid the foundation for that,” he mentioned.

Learn extra:

Fenwick launches D.C. workplace with Freshfields, Dechert companions

Q&A: Fenwick N.Y. accomplice discusses the outpost’s development and reopening plans

(This text was up to date to incorporate present legal professional headcount figures for Fenwick & West.)

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