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James Goodnow


President & CEO (“Managing Partner”)

PH 602.916.5440
[email protected]




James Goodnow

President & CEO (“Managing Partner”)

PH 602.916.5440
[email protected]


“There’s a way to do it better. Find it.” – Thomas Edison


James Goodnow is Fennemore’s CEO and Managing Partner. Nearly two decades after starting his career at the firm as a file clerk, he became the youngest known chief executive of a major law firm in the U.S. He holds his JD from Harvard Law School and dual management certificates from MIT, where he was an enrolled MBA student before pivoting to the University of Cambridge Business School (U.K.), where he earned a master’s degree in entrepreneurship. He earned a BS at Santa Clara University, where he graduated first in his class.

During his time as CEO, James has focused on positioning Fennemore for the future. He has helped lead the M&A teams that have resulted in the opening of nine new offices around the U.S. — allowing the firm to better serve its business client base. Fennemore’s upward trajectory led to it being named the #1 firm in the U.S. for year-over-year revenue growth according to the 2023 American Lawyer Am Law 200 rankings (45.6%). He has collaborated with his colleagues to implement new technology and data analysis tools that have given the firm and its clients an edge. He has chaired the firm’s diversity and inclusion council and championed and worked closely with his teammates to launch new firm programs and initiatives that have had a palpable impact on the firm and industry. He and the firm’s senior leadership team believe in listening carefully and always putting people first — a philosophy that contributes to the firm’s industry-leading retention and job-satisfaction statistics.

James is known for his thought leadership at the intersection of law and business. He has been featured on the cover of The American Lawyer (“Meet the New Boss … James Goodnow Shows What the Firm of the Future Might Look Like”), and ABA Journal named him one of “America’s Techiest Lawyers.” Apple profiled James on and in a worldwide “Apple in Business” ad campaign. He is a contributor to Forbes and writes a law firm management, leadership, and innovation column for Above the Law. He is the co-author of Motivating Millennials: How to Recognize, Recruit and Retain the Next Generation of Leaders, which debuted at #1 on Amazon in the business management new release category.

James is chair of the board of directors for the National Kidney Foundation of AZ and serves on the board for Make-A-Wish® AZ. He is married to his high school sweetheart and is the proud father of two children. Outside of the office, James can be found riding his road bike, hiking, or playing golf with his family. He enjoys wine because it’s about people, culture, history, science, and relationships. He’s a Level I sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers.


J.D., Harvard Law School

Master’s Degree, Cambridge University (UK) Judge Business School, entrepreneurship (expected 2022)
Thesis: “Reboot: Using Entrepreneurial Strategies to Drive Innovation in Established Businesses”

Harvard Business School, Management Certificate
(“Becoming a Better Manager,” HBSO)

BS, summa cum laude, Santa Clara University (graduated 1st in class)

Phi Beta Kappa

Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society

Alpha Sigma Nu Honor Society


Featuring, “NextGen Legal Podcast Episode 4: The Platinum Rule With James Goodnow,” Withum, March 13, 2023

Author, “Big Law Rates in this Economy Midsize and Specialized Firms Poised to Gain Market Share in 2023,”, February 2023

Author, “The Business of Fun,” Above the Law, February 17, 2023

Featuring, “James Named One Of The Top 25 Business Leaders To Watch In Arizona for 2023,” AZ Big Media, January 23, 2023

Author, “The Lean Law Firm” Above the Law, December 16,2022

Author, “Has Yale Changed The Law School Rankings Game?” Above the Law, December 2, 2022

Interview, “James Goodnow, CEO,” inBusiness, December 1, 2022

Featured, “19 Top Leaders Who Are Making a Real Difference!” inBusiness, December 1, 2022

Author, “Does Biglaw Need Less Lawyering?” Above the Law, November 4, 2022

Author, “The Haves And The Have Nots,” Above the Law, October 21, 2022

Author, “The Recessionary RULES,” Above the Law, October 7, 2022

Author, “A Letter To A New Associate: 2022 Edition,” Above the Law, September 23, 2022

Author, “How Biglaw Firms Can Think Like A Startup,” Above the Law, September 9, 2022

Author, “Down With The LSAT?” Above the Law, August 26, 2022

Quoted, “‘Ghosting Exposes the Shaky Foundation of Many Law Firm-Client Relationships,’”, August 18, 2022

Author, “Law Firm Marriages 101,” Above the Law, July 29, 2022

Quoted, “What’s Driving a Wave of Midsize Mergers,”, July 25, 2022

Author, “Is The Problem With Partnerships The Partnership?” Above the Law, July 15, 2022

Quoted, “Big Law Can Disrupt Secondary Markets, but Dominance Is Far From Guaranteed,”, July 14, 2022

Quoted, “The Pandemic Changed the Workforce. How Have Mid-Market Firms Been Impacted?” PRO, July 8, 2022

Author, “Getting to Know,” Above the Law, July 1, 2022

Quoted, “’Aggressive’ Corporate Lawyer Market Drove 2 Firms to Merge,” Daily Journal, June 29, 2022

Quoted, “Bay Area Law Firm Joins Fennemore in Major Merger,” Law Week Colorado, June 28, 2022

Quoted, “Fennemore, Seeking a Sweet Spot in the Market, Has Paved a Path to the Am Law 200 Through Mergers,”, June 23, 2022

Author, “The Biglaw Recession Playbook,” Above the Law, June 17, 2022

Quoted, “One of Fresno’s Largest Law Firms Expands its Footprint,” The Business Journal, June 17, 2022

Quoted, “Fennemore Agrees Tie-up With 113-year Old East Bay firm Wendel Rosen,” Global Legal Post, June 16, 2022

Quoted, “Oakland Law Firm Wendel Rosen Merging With Phoenix-based Fennemore,” San Francisco Business Times, June 15, 2022

Quoted, “Fennemore Joins Forces With Bay Area’s Wendel Rosen,” AZ Big Media, June 15, 2022

Quoted, “Fennemore Mergers to Add 56 Lawyers, Nearing 200 Biggest,” Bloomberg Law, June 14, 2022

Quoted, “Fennemore Joins Forces With Bay Area Wendel Rosen,” Yahoo! Finance, June 14, 2022

Quoted, “Fennemore Joins Forces With Bay Area Wendel Rosen,” Benzinga, June 14, 2022

Quoted, “Fennemore Combines With Bay Area Firm Wendel Rosen,” Law360, June 14, 2022

Quoted, “Fennemore Joins Forces With Bay Area Wendel Rosen,” Attorney at Law Magazine, June 14, 2022

Quoted, “Fennemore, Merging With Wendel Rosen, Fills Out California Footprint,” American Lawyer/, June 14, 2022

Quoted, “Fennemore Absorbs Third California Law Firm in Past Two Years,” Phoenix Business Journal, June 14, 2022

Quoted, “Fennemore Joins Forces With Bay Area Wendel Rosen,” Businesswire, June 14, 2022

Quoted, “Fennemore to Combine With 56-attorney California Law Firm,” Reuters, June 14, 2022

Author, “A How-To Guide For Summer Associates,” Above the Law, June 3, 2022

Author, “Stop Managing Like A Lawyer,” Above the Law, May 20, 2022

Interview by Law 360, “In Their Words: BigLaw Leaders On Why They Merged,” May 18, 2022

Author, “One Bar Admission To Rule Them All?” Above the Law, May 6, 2022

Quoted, “Fennemore Craig CEO On Adding 24 Gresham Savage Attys,” Law360, April 21, 2022

Author, “The Wolf of Biglaw,” Above the Law, March 25, 2022

Author, “’Mo Money Mo Problems’ – 2022 Reprise,” Above the Law, February 25, 2022

Author, “Young Lawyers In Trouble,” Above the Law February 11, 2022

Author, “Talent Tug of War,” Phoenix Business Journal, February 4, 2022

Author, “Are The Stories About Your Law Firm Worth Telling,” Above the Law, January 28, 2022

Author, “The Hidden Factor Undermining Your Firm’s COVID-19 Protocols,” Above the Law, January 14, 2022

Author, “A Lawyer’s ‘Christmas Carol’,” Above the Law, December 17, 2021

Author, “Don’t Let Your Yule Log Burn Out,” Above the Law, December 3, 2021

Author, “My Thanksgiving Objection,” Above the Law, November 19, 2021

Author, “Is Every Company a Tech Company,” inBusiness Greater Phoenix, November 1, 2021

Author, “Sense, Seek, Seize,” Above the Law, October 29, 2021

Author, “LegalZoom Is Coming For Your Lunch,” Above the Law, October 15, 2021

Author, “What Lawyers Can Learn From Preschoolers,” Above the Law, October 1, 2021

Author, “Law Firms, Don’t Throw It All Away,” Above the Law, September 17, 2021

Author, “How The Pandemic Breathed Life Back Into Law Schools,” Above the Law, September 3, 2021

Author, “The Reason I’m Not Tom Cruise,” Above the Law, July 23, 2021

Author, “A Letter to Incoming Associates,” Above the Law, June 4, 2021

Quoted, “Phoenix law firm extends ASU Law scholarship, fellowship program to improve diversity in legal field,” ASU News, June 2, 2021

Quoted, “Arizona State University: Shaping The Future Of Data Privacy, Cybersecurity And Learner Empowerment At ASU’s Digital Trust Summit,” Patch, June 2, 2021

Quoted, “Most Admired Leaders 2021: James Goodnow, Fennemore,” Phoenix Business Journal, May 13, 2021

Quoted, “Talking Trendspotter: Readers Say Business Pros Can Help Law Firms Innovate—but Only If They Have Support From the Top,”, May 10, 2021

Author, “How to Start Working Backward,” Above the Law, May 7, 2021

Interview, “New rules allow investment in law firms by non-lawyers,” Arizona PBS, May 3, 2021

Interview, “James Goodnow of Fennemore: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a C-Suite Executive,” Authority Magazine, April 26, 2021

Author, “Why Are Lawyers Leaving Money On The Table?” Above the Law, April 9, 2021

Author, “Stop Managing Your Law Firm From Crisis to Crisis,” Above the Law, March 26, 2021

Author, “Profitability 2.0,” Above the Law, March 12, 2021

Quoted, “‘This is the gold rush.’ The buzz about Arizona licenses,”, March 12, 2021

Quoted, “16 Useful Tips For Safely Reopening Offices,” Forbes, March 10, 2021

Author, The Incredible Shrinking Equity Ranks,” Above the Law, October 4, 2019

Author, “The Guaranteed Marketing Solution®,” Above the Law, September 20, 2019

Interview, “Creating a Competitive Advantage with James Goodnow,” AZ Biz Link Podcast, September 25, 2019

Quoted, “How Mid-Market Firms Can Actually Use AFAs,”, September 17, 2019

Author, “The Accidental Ponzi Scheme,” Above the Law, September 6, 2019

Author, “LeClairRyan: Mistiming The End of the Legal Monopoly,” Above the Law, August 23, 2019

Quoted, “How Mid-Market Firms Should Pitch AFAs to Clients – Then Actually Use Them,”, August 22, 2019

Quoted, “Is the Billable Hour a Double-Edged Sword in Mid-Market Firms?”, August 15, 2019

Author, “Another One Bites the Dust,” Above the Law, August 9, 2019

Author, “Why My Kids Don’t Want to be Lawyers,” Above the Law, July 26, 2019

Author, “The War on Law Firms,” Above the Law, July 12, 2019

Quoted, “One Size Does Not Fit All: Law Firm Subscription Plans Come In All Shapes and Sizes,” ABA Journal, July 1, 2019

Author, “What Makes A Good Book of Business?” Above the Law, June 28, 2019

Author, “What If Lawyers Ran Amazon?” Above the Law, May 17, 2019

Quoted, “How Big a Threat Are ALSPs to Mid-Market Firms,” The Mid-Market Report, May 10, 2019

Author, “Why Lawyers Are Obsessed With Rankings,” Above the Law, May 3, 2019

Author, “Put Me In, Coach,” Above the Law, April 5, 2019

Author, “Axiom’s War on Biglaw,” Above the Law, March 8, 2019

Quoted, “Law Firms Hiring CEOs Without Law Degrees Reignites Debate About Turning Over the Reins to Business Professionals,” ABA Journal, March 2019

Presenter, “Leadership in Law,” Brophy College Preparatory, February 28, 2019

Author, “Why Innovation Dies in Law Firms,” Above the Law, February 22, 2019

Author, “Why Reason Isn’t Enough,” Above the Law, February 8, 2019

Quoted, “’Change is a Mantra for Law Firms, But Will They Tune in?” The American Lawyer, January 30, 2019

Author, “Law School Has Failed the Profession,” Above the Law, January 25, 2019

Interview, “Midsize Firms Used the Great Recession to Audition for Big Law’s Work,” The American Lawyer, January 11, 2019

Author, “5 Steps Every Law Firm Leader Should Take Now to Prepare for 2019,” Above the Law, January 11, 2019

Interview, “2019 Trends to Watch,” AzBusiness Magazine, January/February 2019

Interview, “Law Firm Leaders Speak,” Law 360, December 19, 2018

Author, “Getting It Right When We Get It Wrong,” Above the Law, December 14, 2018

Author, “Dictators and Democracy in Biglaw,” Above the Law, November 30, 2018

Interview, “Pop Quiz, Monday with James Goodnow, President and Managing Partner at Fennemore Craig,” Medium, November 5, 2018

Author, “Burnout, Flame Out, or Timeout?” Above the Law, November 2, 2018

Interview, “All About the Client: James Goodnow of Fennemore Craig, P.C.,” Hire an Esquire, November 2018

Author, “Will This Become Biglaw’s App Store?” Above the Law, October 19, 2018

Author, “Back to BigLaw’s Future,” Above the Law, October 5, 2018

Interview, “Most Influential Phoenicians,” AZ Foothills Magazine, October 2018

Author, “Dropping a Bomb on the Legal Monopoly,” Above the Law, September 21, 2018

Author, “The Reverse Golden Rule,” Above the Law, September 7, 2018

Author, “When VC Meets JD,” Above the Law, August 24, 2018

Quoted, “Small Firm Struggles Make for Midsize Firm Growth,”, August 23, 2018

Interview, “Managing a Multigenerational Law Firm,” Practical Law Journal, August/September 2018

Author, “Biglaw is Turning Associates Into George Costanzas,” Above the Law, August 10, 2018

Quoted, “The Big Four Threat is Real. Are You Ready?”, August 3, 2018

Author, “Law Potion #9,” Above the Law, June 29, 2018

Author, “Mo Money, Mo Problems,” Above the Law, June 15, 2018

Speaker, 2018 Legal Executive Forum, Thompson Reuters Legal Executive Institute, New York, New York, June 7, 2018

Author, “A Crisis of Confidence in Law Firms,” Above the Law, June 1, 2018

Quoted, “40 Under 40,” Phoenix Magazine, June 2018

Author, “In Defense of More Sizzle, Less Steak” Above the Law, May 18, 2018

Author, “(Don’t Just) Show Me the Money!” Above the Law, May 4, 2018

Interview, “James Goodnow Breaks Ground as Millennial Leader in Law,” AZ Big Media, April 27, 2018

Interview, “Employers Say Accommodating Millennials is a Business Imperative,” SHRM, April 26, 2018

Author, “A Letter to an Incoming Associate,” Above the Law, April 20, 2018

Author, “Moneyball Meets Attorney Recruitment,” Above the Law, April 6, 2018

Interview, “Career Advice with James Goodnow, Managing Partner, Fennemore Craig,”, March 26, 2018

Author, “Blinded by the Benjamin’s?,” Above the Law, March 23, 2018

Author, “Being John Quinn,” Above the Law, March 9, 2018

Interview, “Exclusive: Tech-minded Millennial Named Big Law Firm CEO After Starting as File Clerk,” Phoenix Business Journal, March 7, 2018

Quoted, “The Millennial Who is Now Running an NLJ 500 Firm,” The American Lawyer, March 2, 2018

Author, “The Most Important Law Firm You’ve Never Heard Of,” Above the Law, February 23, 2018

Author, “Why Are You a Lawyer, And Why Are You Here?” Above the Law, February 9, 2018

Author, “Changing the Face of Law,” Above the Law, January 12, 2018

Author, “Smash or Be Smashed,” Attorney at Law, January 2018

Author, “The ‘Culture Card’ In Law Firms,” Above the Law, December 15, 2017

Author, “Sedgwick: Death by Billable Hours,” Above the Law, December 1, 2017

Interview, “The Next Frontier for Virtual Reality: Courtrooms,” Bloomberg Law, November 18, 2017

Author, “King Kong is Coming to Crush Your Practice with a Calculator,” Above the Law, November 17, 2017

Author, “Biglaw’s Blockbuster Moment,” Above the Law, November 2017

Quoted, “Millennials Won’t Destroy Your Law Firm. Can They Save It?” The American Lawyer, October 23, 2017

Author, “Saving Biglaw,” Above the Law, October 6, 2017

Author, “Millennial Lawyers Are Invading and Are Ready to Eat Your Lunch – With a Latte,” Arizona Attorney, October 2017

Interviewed, “Millennials Take Dynamite to Boardroom Myths About Their Generation,” Yahoo Finance, June 15, 2017

Quoted, “Has the American Dream Changed?” Builder, June 13, 2017

Quoted, “What You Can Learn From Comey-Trump Memo: ‘It’s Something Taught in Law School’,” Phoenix Business Journal, May 18, 2017

Quoted, “Millennial Employees Are a Lot More Loyal Than Their Job-hopping Stereotype,” CNBC, May 10, 2017

Author, “How Business Leaders Can Attract and Motivate Millennial Workers,” Forbes, September 1, 2016

Quoted, “How to Prevent Millennials From Burning Out at Work,” CIO, August 10, 2016

Quoted, “How to Avoid the Worst Seat on the Plane This Summer,” The Washington Post, July 8, 2016

Interview, “Net Neutrality,” Arizona Horizon, June 2016

Quoted, “Brexit Vote’s Effect Unclear on Arizona Economy, But Some Impact Expected,” KTAR News, June 24, 2016

Interview, “Arizona Coyotes Threaten to Leave…Again,” Sunday Square Off, March 12, 2016

Co-Author, “Arizona Tort Law Handbook,” State Bar of Arizona


Member, State Bar of Arizona

Chair, Board of Directors, National Kidney Foundation of Arizona

Member, Board of Directors, Make-A-Wish® Arizona

Former Judge Pro Tempore, Maricopa County Superior Court

Former Member, Board of Directors, Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired




District of Columbia


New York

U.S. District Court, District of Arizona

District of Columbia, Court of Appeals

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit


James Goodnow at Fennemor Craig

1700 Lincoln Street
Suite 2400
Denver, CO 80203


Las Vegas 
300 S Fourth Street
Suite 1400
Las Vegas, NV 89101


420 W Mariposa Road
Suite 200
Nogales, AZ 85621


2394 E Camelback Rd
Suite 600
Phoenix, AZ 85016


300 E 2nd Street
Suite 1510
Reno, NV 89501