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Translating law into business makes Fenwick unique

By Han Shasha (People's Daily Online)

08:59, November 28, 2012

Exclusive interview with Fenwick & West Chairman Gordon Davidson

People's Daily Online---- As a law firm specializing in technology companies, Fenwick & West has handled over 150 initial public offerings, including Facebook, Oracle, eBay, and Symantec, raising over 10 billion U.S. dollars.

Among thousands of law firms in the United States, Fenwick & West is not a large one. However, in high-tech area, the firm is a leading player.

When asking why it's Fenwick & West instead of others that makes such a success, Gordon Davidson, chairman of Fenwick & West LLP, said that employees in Fenwick not only understand the law and the process of going public and legal transaction, but also can translate the law into business. He said, "I think that is our unique advantage."

Founded in 1972, the firm has witnessed the success and failure of many startups in Silicon Valley. And it has been working closely with technology and life sciences companies that are changing the world through innovation.

Mr. Davidson emphasized that the law firm understands technology business and that's why technology companies are attached to it.

Gordon Davidson studied electrical engineering and computer science at Stanford University. After graduation, he joined in a small computer company. During his work, he met a patent lawyer working for this company and started to talking about what lawyers do. And he got the idea that being a lawyer will give him an opportunity that he can work with many companies rather than just one. And then he went to law. He said: "It's my dream to work with so many entrepreneur companies."

He told the reporter that the education background in technology, experiences of working in technological company and starting business help him better understand what a company needs.

With all the markets going global, Fenwick & West also expands its connections with other countries, including China, India and Israel. Mr. Davidson said that the most important market is China because China has become a world economic force in all industries, particular in technology. Now, it has many Chinese clients like Alibaba and Sina.

Talking about the similarity and difference when dealing with Chinese business and American business, Mr. Davidson said that the similarity is how to explain the law to their companies. Translating the law to business is important. he said:" However, with Chinese companies, we also have to translate English into Chinese." He said, "We translate not only the law, the language but also the business customs."

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