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Fenwick Scoops Up Ropes & Gray, Clifford Chance Veterans

March 10, 2021, 9:18 PM

Fenwick & West is bolstering the firm’s experience in technology and life sciences and investment banks with the addition of two new partners lured from rivals.

Michael Pilo joins Fenwick from Ropes & Gray, where he handled matters involving securities and public companies, equity and debt capital markets, and mergers and acquisitions.

Per Chilstrom comes to Fenwick from Clifford Chance, where he had been a partner in the firm’s capital markets group, advising large corporate and financial institutions in the technology and life sciences industries.

Fenwick is making the hires as it comes off a profitable 2020. Fenwick’s gross revenue rose over 15% last year to $543 million, with profits per equity partner soaring to $2.86 million.

The firm added 26 lawyers in 2020, including six partners.

“Fenwick is in an exciting period of growth with gross revenue up 45% over the past three years driven by demand from our technology and life sciences clients,” said firm chair Richard Dickson, in a statement. “Per and Michael bolster our long-term trajectory, particularly in the New York market.”

Since Fenwick opened its New York office nearly five years ago, it has grown to 85 attorneys.

The firm’s second half 2020 was “the most active six months for tech and life sciences IP space since Fenwick began tracking the data in 2012,” said Alan Smith, Fenwick corporate practice chair, in a statement. “The market appears poised for a post-pandemic boom.”

Smith said clients are pursuing alternatives to access capital markets, whether through IPOs or direct listings or through a merger with a SPAC. That “is creating a very dynamic playing field for our capital markets team,” he said.

Pilo in a statement cited Fenwick’s “exceptional resources and capabilities across practices in the technology and life sciences industries.” Chilstrom said the firm presents “enormous opportunities to grow my capital markets practice.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Olson at
To contact the editor on this story: Chris Opfer at;
John Hughes at