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Fenwick & West LLP

Work +1 650 988 8500
Mountain View, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Shanghai

Gordon Davidson

Work (650) 335-7237
Fenwick & West LLP

Work Department

Fenwick Chairman, Corporate Group


Mr. Davidson is a partner in the Corporate Group and Chairman of Fenwick & West LLP. Mr. Davidson advises high technology companies, clean technology and life sciences companies. Mr. Davidson’s clients range from start-ups to Fortune 1000 companies. He has worked on over 50 public offerings and has represented boards of directors, audit committees and executives in numerous special investigations.


Mr. Davidson has spoken on current issues in IPOs at the Securities Regulation Institute and on corporate governance issues at the Stanford Directors College, lectured on venture capital investments at the Stanford Law School, the Stanford Business School and the Haas Business School, taught courses on Deals and Mergers & Acquisitions at Stanford Law School, and chaired the Practising Law Institute programs on Private Placements and Mergers & Acquisitions of High Technology Companies. He has also served on the boards of directors of non-profit organizations, including the Children’s Health Council and Pacific Community Ventures. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Bay Bio. He is one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America by the National Law Journal in 2000, 2006, and 2013; "Corporate Lawyer of the Year" for the Silicon Valley by Best Lawyers in 2009 and 2013; “Securities Lawyer of the Year” for the San Francisco Area by Best Lawyers in 2010; First tier of Corporate/M&A attorneys in the U.S. by Chambers USA; One of the 10 best corporate lawyers in California by California Lawyer magazine in August 2004; One of a dozen lawyers named to the Always On Power Players West list for 2011; One of the Top 25 Biotech Lawyers in California for 2011 by the Daily Journal; One of the top 100 venture capital deal makers by Forbes magazine’s Midas List in 2001 and 2004 – 2007; One of the top 100 lawyers in California by the Daily Journal, September 2012; One of the 100 best lawyers in Northern California (2004 - 2012); One of the three leading lawyers in Silicon Valley (2008) by Super Lawyers magazine; One of "100 People Who Changed Our World" by Upside magazine in October 2001.




Mr. Davidson is a member of the State Bar of California.


BS - Electrical Engineering, Stanford University (Phi Beta Kappa, 1970); MS - Computer Systems, Stanford University (1971); JD - Stanford University (Order of the Coif, 1974).

United States: Finance

Capital markets: equity offerings

Within: Capital markets: equity offerings

Among Fenwick & West LLP’s chief attributes, sources highlight its ‘great communication skills’, ‘attention to detail’ and ‘inside-out knowledge of SEC rules and regulations’. The California-headquartered firm is a leading player in technology and life sciences offerings and is routinely involved in some of the most high-profile IPOs in those industries, mainly acting for issuers but also increasingly for managers. In one matter, the firm recently advised the underwriters on the $1bn IPO of Farfetch; the deal was led by group co-chair James Evans (‘a great lawyer on all fronts’), who splits his time between the firm’s Seattle, Mountain View and New York offices. In another manager-side highlight, Evans paired up with ‘outstanding’ department co-chair Robert Freedman, who splits his time between San Francisco and Boise, to advise the underwriters on Pivotal Software’s $638.2m IPO. On the issuer side, Mountain View-based Gordon Davidson advised Bloom Energy on its $270m IPO, while Seattle-based corporate chair Alan Smith advised Smartsheet on its $175m IPO. Other recent issuer clients also include Audentes Therapeutics, Cloudera and Redfin. Former co-head Jeffrey Vetter joined Gunderson Dettmer LLP.

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United States: M&A/corporate and commercial

Venture capital and emerging companies

Within: Venture capital and emerging companies

Fenwick & West LLP is widely recognised for its expertise in early-stage financings and growth company work. The team, which is predominantly based in Silicon Valley, is 'in a league of its own', according to a client. San Francisco and New York are other core hubs for the group. Technology and life sciences matters dominate the firm's workload, and it is also well known for handling cryptocurrency, digital health, and gaming mandates. Highlights included San Francisco-based partner Samuel Angus acting for software development company GitHub in its $7.5bn acquisition by Microsoft, while renowned practitioner Cynthia Hess advised technology fitness company Peloton on its $550m Series F financing, which was led by growth equity firm TCV. In another matter, Michael Esquivel advised mobile marketing platform AppLovin on its $400m investment from KKR. Gordon Davidson is another formidable practitioner, and other key partners include Mark Leahy, who shares leadership of the practice with Hess; Mark Stevens, who has established expertise in gaming sector mandates; and New York-based Kristine Di Bacco. Unless stated otherwise, named lawyers are based in Silicon Valley. Ted Wang has left the firm.

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