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Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP

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Our story

At Finnegan, diversity and inclusion are core values that we live every day in thought, approach, and solutions. In fact, they are so much a part of our culture, we are consistently ranked as one of the nationÂ’s top law firms for overall diversity.


Finnegan traces its roots to 1965, when Marc Finnegan and Doug Henderson established an intellectual property law firm designed to serve the growing needs of national and international clients. Finnegan hallmarks are many, but the one that defines us most clearly is that we focus on the practice of intellectual property law. This means over 90 percent of our attorney recruits possess some sort of science or engineering background. Of FinneganÂ’s nearly 300 professionals possessing a science or engineering degree, more than 60 have a doctorate in a technical field. Workplace statistics show that women, black, and Hispanic professionals continue to be underrepresented in the Science, Technology Engineering, and Math (STEM) workforce. Despite what others might perceive to be daunting U.S. workplace and talent pool statistics, Finnegan has worked creatively and aggressively to excel in recruiting, developing, and promoting extraordinary and diverse professionals within its ranks. The results speak for themselves: 66 percent of the incoming summer 2019 class members are diverse. Our professionals are multilingual and multicultural, and they work with clients in real time around the world. Our professionals hail from locations ranging from Romania to Mississippi to Colombia to Taiwan to Niger. For more than 50 years, we have maintained a keen pride in our ability to hire, retain, and promote some of the best and most diverse IP law talent in the world.

Finnegan Innovation

These healthy statistics donÂ’t happen in a vacuum. The firm works diligently and creatively to hone existing programs and develop new ones, ensuring that when it makes promotional decisions, our attorneys and administrative professionals are given a competitive edge.

For example, our firm has a robust training curriculum (L.E.A.P.: Learn, Enrich, Achieve, Progress), designed to support the continued growth and development of attorneys at all levels. Finnegan believes that training and ongoing education are essential to developing the best attorneys and advocates for our clients. With multiple training and education components, L.E.A.P. is designed to enhance the firmÂ’s existing training and mentoring activities throughout the year. This highly-ranked program (#8 in Formal Training, Vault 2018) arms our team with the tools and resources necessary to practice law in an ever-evolving legal and business market.

The L.E.A.P. calendar includes the following programs: litigation training, advanced legal writing, advanced patent prosecution, practice before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), advanced technical and legal research, business development training and individualized coaching, billing and timekeeping, budget development, accounting for lawyers, persuasive speaking, law firm economics, presentation skills, leadership, management, and delegation.

For those new to patent prosecution, Finnegan offers a prosecution bootcamp to introduce our newest professionals to the practice. The bootcamp is supplemented by bi-monthly prosecution roundtables, in which Finnegan experts discuss developments in the law and how it impacts our day-to-day prosecution practice.

Persuasive, precise, and compelling writing is something we strive for at Finnegan. Our writing trainers hone the legal writing skills of our attorneys through classroom teaching and one-on-one writing consultations. Sample classroom topics include brief writing, writing as an advocate, advanced legal writing, and writing as a non-native English speaker.

Every other year, our top litigators teach an in-house litigation skills series, taking a litigation matter from its inception (how to develop case strategy with your client) to its conclusion (how to write and argue appellate briefs). These classroom programs are supplemented with experiential learning workshops, including topics about effective deposition strategies, how to interact with experts, and how to conduct cross- and direct-examination of witnesses. The capstone litigation experience occurs with our senior associates, who can participate in the University of Virginia Trial College, including a mock trial from start to finish, learning from the best trial attorneys in the country.


Senior associates seeking to improve their practices and attract clients are offered a comprehensive business-development training and coaching program. The six-month program includes a preliminary assessment, group training sessions, individual coaching sessions, and related business development and marketing activities.

Finnegan was one of the first firms in the country to implement a comprehensive new partner training and coaching program. As part of this year-long program, new partners are paired with a share partner advisor, whose charge is to meet regularly with the new partner to discuss workload and business and career development, and to serve as a sounding board and advocate as the new partner progresses to equity partner consideration. The training curriculum includes topics such as: Leadership Development (new partners learn the fundamental tenets of leadership during immersion and capstone training programs and are paired with a leadership/executive coach who works with the new partner one-on-one for a year); Budgets and Finances (including Color Accounting, designed to assist new partners in understanding the business imperatives and finances of firm clients); Advanced Pitch Workshops (new partners emulate the role of the pitching attorneys, and share partner advisors play the role of the client, all under the tutelage of our communications expert/coach); How to Prepare Your Compensation Memo (designed to give new partners up-to-date and transparent information as to how best to present her/himself to the Compensation Committee for compensation and elevation purposes); and a roundtable with members of the management committee, share partner advisors, and practice group leaders (designed to arm new partners with best practices for navigating the nuances of partnership).

Diversity and inclusion training includes topics such as The Diversity Wheel (two parts) and Overcoming Bias as a Leader. The firmÂ’s compensation, management, and review partner committees took part in a recent day-long experiential workshop on how to avoid implicit bias in talent management. Finnegan was proud to implement its first ever six-part WomenÂ’sÂ’ Leadership Series for female attorneys and female managers/leaders. Our WomenÂ’s Forum serves the internal educational and networking needs of our women attorneys.

FinneganÂ’s women partners recently launched Finnegan FORWARD: Focused on Raising WomenÂ’s Advancement, Representation, and Development. Finnegan FORWARD has three main objectives: (1) establish business initiatives for women attorneys; (2) increase internal and external networks for women attorneys; and (3) provide career advancement and business development training programs tailored specifically to women.

As expected, Finnegan FORWARD is demonstrating the best of the firm’s collaborative culture—many women are volunteering to lead various sub-initiatives and joining together to find solutions to address systemic barriers. We have hosted business development training; a women’s leadership forum featuring a roundtable discussion and follow-up article; networking breakfasts, dinners, and receptions for women in IP; community outreach programs for elementary school children and victims of sexual violence; in addition to sponsorship of women’s conferences globally.

Our Finnegan FORWARD efforts advance the firmÂ’s ultimate goals for our women attorneys: raising external profiles, building and expanding networks, and securing profitable work. Finnegan also actively participates in several external initiatives targeting retention, professional and business development, and promotion of our women, minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) colleagues, including Charting Your Own Course (CYOC) and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Fellow and Pathfinder external development programs for minority attorneys.

In 2018, the firm joined the Mansfield Rule 2.0, becoming one of 65 law firms nationwide participating in this program modeled after the Rooney Rule, which calls for increased diversity in the National Football LeagueÂ’s coaching ranks.

As a Mansfield Rule adopter, we are expected to consider a diverse slate of candidates for purposes of recruitment, promotion, and leadership, to include:

  • Equity Partner Promotions
  • Lateral Partner and Mid/Senior Level Associate Searches
  • Practice Group & Office Head Leadership
  • Executive Committee and/or Board of Directors
  • Partner Promotions/Nominations Committee
  • Compensation Committee
  • Chairperson and/or Managing Partner

Results matter. Thirty-eight percent of our equity partners are women or attorneys of color; 56 percent of our non-equity partners are women or attorneys of color; women and/or attorneys of color make up 60 percent of firmÂ’s partnership nominating committee (conducting partnership admission/elevation due diligence/recommendations); more than 40 percent of our management and compensation committees are comprised of women and attorneys of color; and one-third of our practice groups/sections are chaired by women or attorneys of color. Two of our offices are led by female managing partners.


FinneganÂ’s management committee recently approved an alternate/off-track associate program, recognizing the need to offer a variety of career paths for attorneys who possess invaluable skill sets, but who may not wish to pursue partnership at a particular point in their professional or personal lives. More than 20 years ago, the firm established two part-time options (80 percent and 60 percent time), which, regardless of gender or parenthood status, provide attorneys with a continued path to partnership while working a reduced schedule.

Finnegan Recruitment


It takes a special kind of lawyer to work at Finnegan. Not only do our lawyers have law degrees, but all our patent lawyers have scientific or technical degrees. The firmÂ’s success and growth are proof of the benefits of a collaborative culture that supports a range of initiatives to attract diverse talent. The Finnegan Diversity Scholarship, established in 2003, awards $15,000 per year for tuition and law school fees, as well as an offer to join the firmÂ’s summer associate program. Over $400,000 has been awarded to student applicants since the inception of the scholarship.

Results matter. Typically, more than half of our summer associate programs are comprised of women and minority students. In fact, the incoming 2019 summer class is 66 percent diverse—women, of color, and/or LGBTQ students. In 2018, over 70 percent of our summer class members were diverse.

Finnegan Collaboration


Finnegan proudly participates in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), hosting Fellows and Pathfinders for the past several years. We have formed relationships with many associations and educational institutions committed to developing minority and women lawyers. Our attorneys participate in and support these organizations by teaching, serving leadership roles, and co-sponsoring IP-related events focused on diverse audiences. Finnegan has a strong history of supporting diversity and women in the legal and IP profession. The firm is active in the AIPLA Diversity Committee and the Women in IP Law group. We have been a major sponsor of the annual Women in IP Law dinner since 2008, and for years we have sponsored the AIPLA Diversity Reception.

Howard University Law School has honored Finnegan for its contributions to the universityÂ’s Institute of Intellectual Property and Social Justice, which the firm has proudly supported since its beginning. For fifteen years, our attorneys have taught an advanced patent law and social engineering course. In 2003, the firm began its collaboration with Howard University Law School to present a one-day Intellectual Property Law Seminar that continues to expand each year in number of attendees and lecturers.

Finnegan is an annual supporter of the Hispanic National Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Institute (IPLI), which addresses underrepresentation of Hispanics in IP law. The initiative immerses Latinx law students with key members of the federal judiciary and administrative agencies, legal scholars, and attorneys in IP and tech law.

Our relationship with the Asian American bar is a strong one, regularly sponsoring or supporting a wide range of bar and community events. Finnegan is a long-standing sponsor of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Annual Convention. Finnegan attorneys have held high-level positions, including president of NAPABA; member of the NAPABA board; and president of affiliate APABA of the Greater Washington, D.C. Area. In addition, we are a regular sponsor of the APABA Education Fund (AEF) annual scholarship dinner.

A truly diverse environment is one in which everyone is a teacher—and a learner. This philosophy is the basis of the mentorship program at Finnegan. All our new lawyers are paired with a senior associate and a partner advisor who share similar interests and backgrounds. Our collegial nature ensures that doors are always open, and questions—no matter the nature—are always answered.

Finnegan Professional Staff


Progress related to diversity and inclusion is not limited to associates and partners, which can often be the focus in many law firms. Finnegan is equally proud of its diversity among support staff and management and its support of career advancement and promotions for staff.

For example, of the 74 staff manager employees in 2018:

  • 45 were promoted/had career paths (60.8%)
    • of the 45 promoted, 34 were women (75.6%)
    • of the 34 women promoted, 13 were people of color (38.2%)
  • 12 out of 13 litigation case managers were promoted (92.3%);
    • of the 12 promoted, 7 were women (58.3%)
    • of the 7 women promoted, 3 were people of color (42.9%)
  • 4 out of 6 supervisors were promoted (66.7%)
    • of the 6 promoted, 2 were women (33.3%)
    • of the 2 women promoted, 1 was a person of color (50.0%)
  • 21 out of 35 managers were promoted (60.0%)
    • of the 21 promoted, 19 were women (90.5%)
    • of the 19 women promoted, 10 were people of color (52.6%)
  • 5 out of 14 director-level corporate executives were promoted (35.7%)
    • of the 5 promoted, 5 were women (100.0%)
  • 3 out of 6 chief-level corporate executives were promoted (50%)
    • of the 3 promoted, 2 were women (66.67%)

Occasionally, we let others speak for us

In the Vault GuideÂ’s 2019 survey of the leading law firms for women, minorities, and overall diversity, Finnegan ranks in the top 10 in each of these categories. The American Lawyer similarly includes the firm in the top 25 in its 2018 survey of the leading 100 U.S. law firms for overall diversity, and in 2019, we earned a perfect score of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign FoundationÂ’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality. We are particularly pleased to be identified by Working Mother magazine as a top 100 company for working mothers for the last six years. Only four law firms in 2018 received this distinguished recognition.


Much has transpired since the firmÂ’s founding in 1965. What has not changed, however, is the firmÂ’s laser focus on being the best IP law firm in the world; we are a firm populated, managed, and led by diverse attorneys and professionals at every level. This is what our clients expect, and what we will continue to demand of ourselves.

Firm has a written diversity strategy that has been communicated to all Firm attorneys. Firm gives billable credit for work that is directly related to diversity efforts (but is not pro bono work). Firm ties a component of partner compensation to diversity efforts. Firm has a diversity committee that includes senior partners and that reports to the Firm’s highest governing body. Firm has a full or part-time diversity professional who performs diversity-related tasks. Firm has affinity or employee resource groups for its women and diverse attorneys, which meet at least quarterly. Firm has a succession plan that specifically emphasizes greater inclusion of women and diverse lawyers. Firm mandates and monitors that minority and women attorneys have equal access to clients, quality work assignments, committee appointments, marketing efforts and Firm events. Firm requires inclusion of at least one diverse candidate in all hiring decisions. Firm policy specifically prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Firm provides opportunity for attorneys to voluntarily disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression through Firm data collection procedures. Firm policy specifically provides for paid maternity leave.  Firm policy specifically provides for paid paternity leave.  Firm has a formal, written part-time policy that permits partners to be part-time.  Firm has a flex-time policy. Firm provides for or mandates diversity training for all lawyers and staff. Firm has a supplier diversity program.

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