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Fenwick, Wilson Sonsini, Top List of Law Firms for Startups

Feb. 21, 2019, 7:41 PM

Fenwick & West and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati are the go-to law firms for startup companies, according to a new study.

Together, the two firms scoop up about 14 percent of every dollar spent on legal services by startups, per research conducted by Kruze Consulting.

Kruze, which provides services around tax, HR and other matters to startups, analyzed the legal spend of more than 140 U.S.-based Seed, Series A, and Series B startups with over $850 million in combined funding.

The list of firms was West Coast-centric and included some of the big law players best known for representing technology companies.

Fenwick has 7.2 percent of revenue market share and Wilson Sonsini has 7 percent, Kruze found. Fenwick also came out on top with client count: 15 percent of all startups in the study have worked with the Silicon Valley-based law firm.

“We are proud of the work we do with early-stage startups, from financing to IP to acquisition advice,” Fenwick partner Kristine DiBaccio said in a statement. “Startup founders turn to us because they know we can support them from their first financing round to their IPO and beyond.”

The top five law firms by revenue market share also included Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; and Perkins Coie. In total, the top five firms captured approximately 45 percent of startup legal fees in the study.

The startups analyzed spend their legal dollars on a wide array of services, including funding, IP, and HR issues. The average startup in the study spends $77,150 on legal fees per year, while the median startup spends $38,990 per year. Kruze excluded most companies involved in active litigation from the analysis.

The study said companies in fundraising mode typically spend $5,000 to $10,000 on Seed round legal costs and $50,000 to $65,000 on Series A legal costs. Across industries, health-care startups appeared to have the highest legal bills, followed by companies that develop hardware, according to Kruze.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Russell-Kraft in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at