The firm that is now known as Cooley LLP was
founded in 1920 in San Francisco by Arthur Cooley and Louis
Crowley. The practice they started went on to become a major player
in California, as it prospered in the Silicon Valley boom years
(and survived the bust). Since then, the firm has expanded its
reach to Southern California, the Rockies, the East Coast, the
Pacific Northwest, the Far East and the UK, while maintaining a
relatively comfortable size.
In 1980, Cooley opened an office in Palo Alto,
the epicenter of American technology. The firm began working with
venture capitalists, life sciences companies and emerging
technology start-ups, representing the likes of Adobe Systems and
Gilead Sciences; it also took Genentech and Amgen public in 1980
and 1983, respectively. But Cooley's IT roots pre-dated personal
computers-it advised Raychem on its founding in 1957 and helped
form National Semiconductor in 1959. It also advised on the
formation of Draper, Gaither and Anderson, the West Coast's very
first venture capital partnership. These days, the firm's Palo Alto
attorneys have added expertise in intellectual property, patent
issues, employment law and complex business and securities
The firm expanded into Southern California in
1992 with the launch of its San Diego office. Representing
well-known San Diego companies like QUALCOMM, Amylin and Sony, the
San Diego office advises on corporate and litigation matters in a
variety of industries, ranging from biotechnology to Internet and
electronic commerce to telecommunications.
Of course, venture funds and emerging
technology shops aren't confined to California. Cooley was the
first Silicon Valley firm to establish itself in the Rocky Mountain
region with the opening of a Colorado office in 1993, taking
advantage of the burgeoning tech boom in that state. Since then,
the Colorado office has relocated to Broomfield, home of companies
like Level 3 Communications and Oracle.
The firm's first East Coast office opened in
Reston, Virginia in 1999, and once again, its goal was to serve
technology companies (public and private), as well as
entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, private equity funds and the
financial services companies that work with all of the above. A
second Eastern office opened in 2005 in Washington, DC.
In 2006, the firm that was known as Cooley
Godward (for Arthur Cooley and early partner Bill Godward) merged
with New York firm Kronish Lieb Weiner & Hellman, a
well-regarded boutique with an emphasis on bankruptcy, tax, and
commercial and white collar litigation practices. The next stop in
Cooley's expansion was Boston, where the firm opened its doors in
2007. One year later Cooley came to Seattle, where it focused on
high technology and life sciences in the Pacific Northwest, as well
as the Pacific Rim. In late 2011, Cooley launched its first
international office with the opening of an office in Shanghai,
China. In 2012, Cooley opened its 11th office in Santa
Monica-the heart of convergence of tech, media and venture capital
in greater Los Angeles. Most recently, in 2015, Cooley launched its
first European office in London.
Although Cooley remains best-known for its
technology work and life sciences clients (Yelp!, eBay, Facebook,
Google and Gilead, to name just a few), the firm has also won
awards for its intellectual property litigation and privacy
practices. It has also cast its net far beyond the typical Silicon
Valley client, working with companies in the retail, insurance,
sports and investment banking industries.
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For the second consecutive year, Cooley has been named to
Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" list.
Cooley, which rose 58 spots to No. 42, is one of only five law
firms named to the prestigious list. The Fortune list is
the result of the most extensive employee survey in corporate
Cooley has also been consistently recognized for its
family-friendly benefits and supportive work environment by
national and regional publications, including Crain's New York
Business, Washington Business Journal, Denver
Post and Working Mother magazine.
Cooley advised Horizon Pharma plc on its acquisition by Hyperion
Therapeutics for $1.1 billion in an all cash transaction and
related debt commitments. Announced the same day was Auspex
Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s acquisition by Teva Pharmaceutical
Industries Ltd. for approximately $3.5 billion; both deals were led
by the head of Cooley's M&A practice, Barbara Borden.
Cooley launched a U.K. practice in London with 20 partners and more
than 55 lawyers and other professionals in total. From the outset,
the office has offered depth and expertise in key practice areas
including corporate/M&A, complex litigation, venture capital,
technology transactions, IP, competition and privacy. The office
opening received widespread coverage both in Europe and the
Cooley scored a significant victory for Gilead Sciences in an
arbitration initiated by Hoffmann-La Roche over rights to Gilead's
blockbuster hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi. Within the first six months
of going to market, Sovaldi earned nearly $6 billion in sales,
making it one of the most successful drug launches in history.
Assessing Roche's claim of exclusive rights and the enormous value
of Sovaldi, one analyst referred to a potential victory by Roche as
the "Doomsday litigation scenario."
The result led to widespread acclaim, both for Cooley's and
Gilead's legal teams. Chairman Steve Neal was recognized in The
American Lawyer's "Litigator of the Week" series for
spearheading the win.
Cooley was recognized as one of the 2014 "50 Best Law Firms for
Women" by Working Mother magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers.
This is the third consecutive year that Working Mother has
recognized Cooley as a firm that is "leading the way in attracting,
retaining and promoting women lawyers."
Cooley's client Lorenzo Montoya was released from prison just days
before a hearing that would have revealed significant
constitutional flaws in his conviction and new evidence casting
serious doubt on his guilt. Mr. Montoya's freedom was gained
through the cooperative efforts of a team of Cooley attorneys
acting in a pro bono capacity, along with lead attorney Lisa
Polansky from the Center for Juvenile Justice and court-appointed
counsel Elizabeth Krupa.