Cooley LLP at a Glance


  • “Interesting tech clients”
  • “Culture and cohesiveness of the offices generally”
  • “People. Hands down.”


  • “Expectations that attorneys are 24/7 available”
  • “Booming business and understaffed, so there is a lot to do”
  • “Increases in minimum billable hours”

The Buzz

  • “IP powerhouse”
  • “Great culture”
  • “Second best in tech”
  • “Churn and burn”

About Cooley LLP

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.

Tops in Tech

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 litigation.

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.

Eastward Bound

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.

Even More Growth

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.

Not Just a Niche Player

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.


March 2015

Accept Your Offer! 
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 America.

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.

Acquisition Experts
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.

January 2015

London Calling
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 U.S.

August 2014

Vanquishing Viruses
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.

A Three-peat
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."

June 2014

Fighting Injustice
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.

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Cooley LLP

3175 Hanover Street
Palo Alto, CA 94304-1130
Phone: (650) 843-5000
Fax: (650) 857-0663


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairman: Steve Neal
  • CEO: Joe Conroy
  • Hiring Partner: Ryan Naftulin
  • Total No. Attorneys 2015: 850

  • Employment Contact
    Carrie Wagner
    Director of Legal Talent 
    Phone: (703) 456-8115
    Fax: (703) 456-5100

    Recruiting contacts for all locations in the Careers section of

  • Base Salary
    All offices
    1st year:  $160,000
    2nd year: $170,000
    3rd year:  $185,000
    4th year:  $210,000
    5th year:  $230,000
    6th year:  $250,000
    7th year:  $265,000
    8th year:  $280,000
    Summer associate:  $3,077/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    52 out of 54 (2014)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Antitrust & Competition
    Commercial Litigation
    Capital Markets
    Class Action Litigation
    Compensation & Benefits
    Corporate Restructuring & Bankruptcy
    Credit Finance
    Debt Securities Transactions
    Higher Education
    Emerging Companies
    Employment & Labor
    Environmental Litigation
    Estate Planning & Personal Representation
    Fund Formation
    Government Contracts
    Health Care & Life Sciences Regulatory
    Intellectual Property Litigation
    International Trade
    Life Sciences Corporate Partnering & Licensing
    Mergers & Acquisitions
    National Security
    Patent Prosecution & Counseling
    Privacy & Data Protection
    Private Equity & Buyout
    Pro Bono
    Public Companies
    Real Estate
    Securities Litigation
    Tax Transactional/Controversy
    Technology Transactions/Outsourcing
    Trademark, Copyright & Advertising
    Venture Capital
    White Collar & Regulatory Defense

Major Office Locations

  • Boston, MA
  • Broomfield, CO
  • London Los Angeles, CA
  • New York, NY
  • Palo Alto, CA
  • Reston, VA
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Washington, DC
  • Shanghai
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