Fennemore agrees tie-up with 113-year old East Bay firm Wendel Rosen

Deal adds 56 lawyers to Fennemore’s roster, taking its total headcount to 250
Aerial view of north Oakland on a sunny autumn evening; downtown Oakland in the background; buildings in UC Berkeley in the foreground; San Francisco bay, California

Oakland, California Sundry Photography

US national firm Fennemore has continued its West Coast expansion with its second Californian merger in two years, this time joining forces with Wendel Rosen, one of the oldest firms in the East Bay region.

The combined firm will be known as Fennemore Wendel in Northern California where Wendel Rosen has three offices, in Oakland, Modesto and Walnut Creek. The tie-up adds 56 lawyers to Fennemore’s roster, taking its total attorney headcount to 250. Wendel brings a full-service offering with particular expertise in real estate, land use, litigation and trusts and estates. The merger will be effective from the start of July.

James Goodnow, Fennemore’s CEO and managing partner, said: “The Bay Area represents one of the largest technology and business centres in the world. Together with the team from Wendel, we will work to help our clients capitalise on this region’s phenomenal economy.”

Goodnow will remain CEO and managing partner of the combined firm, while Wendel’s managing partner Daniel Rapaport will join the firm’s management committee as a special advisor alongside 30-year veteran commercial and real estate lawyer Steve Cramer. Wendel’s litigation chair William ‘Buddy’ Rowell will be the combined firm’s local managing partner.

Rapaport said: “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.”

In 2020, Fennemore merged with Fresno firm Dowling Aaron – rebranding its Central Valley coverage as Fennemore Dowling Aaron. Over the past two years the firm has also joined forces with litigation specialists Reilly in Denver, while also hiring around 50 lawyers and allied professionals in Southern California. The firm remains branded as Fennemore across its Southern California, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada offices. Following the Wendel merger, Fennemore now has 14 locations.

A number of firms have been hiring on the West Coast this month as its burgeoning tech market continues to attract interest from national and international firms.

Norton Rose Fulbright boosted its Los Angeles projects team with the arrival of renewable energy lawyer Elizabeth Sluder from Morrison & Foerster (MoFo). Allen & Overy hired corporate partner Jesse Debban in its Silicon Valley office from Farella Braun + Martel. MoFo hired life sciences partner Matthew Ferry in San Diego from Perkins Coie. And Goodwin Procter hired a trio of corporate partners in its Santa Monica office from Latham & Watkins.

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