Fennemore joins forces with Bay area’s Wendel Rosen

Above: Fennemore CEO James Goodnow. Business News | 15 Jun |

Fennemore continues its strategic Western expansion announcing today that it is combining with Wendel Rosen LLP, one of the oldest and largest full-service business law firms in the San Francisco Bay area. The combined firm will be called Fennemore Wendel in Northern California and Fennemore across the rest of its footprint in Southern California, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada.

In all, 56 attorneys and 45 allied legal professionals from Wendel will join Fennemore, bringing the firm’s total roster to 250 attorneys across the Western United States. The partners and shareholders from both firms approved the combination, which becomes effective July 1, 2022.


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This combination with Wendel complements Fennemore’s full-service offering, particularly in the areas of real estate, land use, litigation and trusts & estates. In 2021, Law.com named Fennemore the fastest growing Big Law firm in the country. With Wendel Rosen’s three Northern California offices, the firm expands its existing Southern and Central California footprint to now include Oakland, Walnut Creek and Modesto in Northern California. The combination increases Fennemore’s office count to 14 locations.

“We are thrilled to welcome these outstanding attorneys and professionals who share our commitment to innovating alongside our clients and helping them thrive,” said James Goodnow, Fennemore’s CEO and managing partner. “The Bay Area represents one of the largest technology and business centers in the world,” said Goodnow. “Together with the team from Wendel, we will work to help our clients capitalize on this region’s phenomenal economy.”

“Beginning a new era with Fennemore while remaining true to our deep roots and commitment to the Bay Area, will allow us to even better serve clients on the largest and most complex matters in Northern California and the Western states,” said Dan Rapaport, Wendel Rosen’s managing partner. “We are tremendously impressed with the talent, leadership and innovation of the people at Fennemore. The firms’ cultures, values and deep commitment are indistinguishable.”

Fennemore’s James Goodnow will remain CEO and managing partner of the combined firm. Wendel’s Daniel Rapaport will join the management committee as a special advisor along with executive committee member Steve Cramer, who brings more than  30 years of experience to Fennemore’s management team. William “Buddy” Rowell will be the local managing partner.

Over the last two years, Fennemore has completed three other major onboardings that include a merger with the Central Valley California firm Dowling Aaron, the addition of the Reilly LLP litigation team in Denver and a mass lateral hiring of approximately 50 attorneys and allied legal professionals in Southern California.

Fennemore’s march forward is supported by a commitment to technology and a client-centric and people-first culture as evidenced by the firm’s 96% job satisfaction rating among all employees. The firm’s industry-leading 91.4% year-over-year attorney retention figure stands in stark contrast to the headcount loss of other firms during the “Great Resignation.” 

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