Cooley LLP at a Glance


  • “Cooley Culture sets the firm apart”
  • “Innovative and creative in our lawyering”
  • “Laid back”


  • “Lack of transparency in bonuses”
  • “Long hours”
  • “Having to be on call all the time”

About Cooley LLP

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 startups, 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 companies 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.

The firm's first East Coast office opened in Reston, Virginia in 1999, and once again, its goal was to serve entrepreneurs and technology companies (public and private), as well as the venture capitalists, private equity funds and the financial services companies that work with them. A second East Coast office opened in 2005 in Washington, DC. Now, that office boasts many of the firm's regulatory groups, helping tech companies navigate the complex regulatory agencies.

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 capital markets, intellectual property litigation and privacy practices. It has cast its net far beyond the typical Silicon Valley client, also working with companies in the retail, insurance, sports, and investment banking industries.


April 2017
Fortune Favors the Firm

For the fourth consecutive year, Fortune magazine has named Cooley to its elite 100 Best Companies to Work For list. Cooley ranked #25 and is the #1 law firm on the 2017 list. The Best Companies list is the result of the most extensive employee survey in corporate America. Other national and regional publications consistently recognize Cooley as a great place to work, including Working Mother, Crain's New York Business, the San Diego Business Journal, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, which recently awarded Cooley its second consecutive perfect score on its Corporate Equality Index.

March 2017
How Innovative

Fast Company's 2017 list of the World's 50 Most Innovative Companies includes nine Cooley clients in its top 10 spots. The publication searches for impactful companies that "tap both heartstrings and purse strings and use the engine of commerce to make a difference in the world." In addition, Cooley advises numerous clients on Fast Company's concurrent lists of innovative companies by sector, including for education, biotech, gaming and AI/machine learning. Cooley represents eight of the top 10 companies on the AR/VR industry list.

February 2017
Hey Now, You're An All-Star

BTI Consulting Group recognized Cooley partners Michael Basile, Scott Dailard, William Donovan Jr., Joseph Drayton, and Howard Morse on its 2017 Client Service All-Stars list. Dailard and Drayton were also singled out as Client Service MVPs. The annual list recognizes an elite group of lawyers recognized by clients for service excellence, based on data from more than 300 one-on-one interviews with General Counsel and direct reports at large and Fortune 1000 organizations. In 2016, BTI ranked Cooley as a leader in client service on its annual Client Service 30 list.

January 2017
We're Number One

Singled out for M&A and IPO work, Cooley earned the top spot on Lake Whillans' Life Sciences Law Firm Index. The index identifies the most active and relevant law firms for life sciences companies. Cooley was recognized for advising Medivation on its $14 billion acquisition by Pfizer and Jazz Pharmaceuticals on its $1.5 billion acquisition of Celator. Lake Whillans also commended Cooley for its work advising Myovant Sciences on its $218 IPO, Protagonist Therapeutics on its $90 million IPO and the underwriters on NantHealth's $97 million IPO.

That's a Private Matter
Law360 named Cooley's global privacy & data protection practice a Practice Group of the Year for the fifth time in six years. Cooley's 50+ privacy lawyers specialize in counseling, compliance, regulatory, and litigation representation covering a wide range of issues, including online and mobile privacy, right of publicity, data-breach response, e-commerce, health data, cybersecurity, and enterprise security, among others. The group has defended companies in 50+ class actions for clients including Facebook, Google, eBay, LinkedIn, HTC America, and Sony and, in the past year, advised on 30+ data breaches and other data security incidents.

August 2016
A Litigation Powerhouse

Law360 denoted Cooley a Litigation Powerhouse on its inaugural list of the top 50 litigation law firms in the United States. Firms were chosen for leveraging "deep legal talent to score remarkable wins" throughout the past year. Cooley placed #13 on the elite list. Law360 highlighted Cooley's successful representation of high-profile clients, such as Qualcomm, Facebook, Patheon, Oculus VR, Google, and Sony, handling the full gamut of legal issues, including privacy, trademark, patent, and antitrust matters.

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Cooley LLP

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


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairman: Steve Neal
  • CEO: Joe Conroy
  • Chief Legal Talent Officer: Carrie Wagner
  • Total No. Attorneys 2017: 900

  • Base Salary
    All offices
    1st year: $180,000
    2nd year:$190,000
    3rd year: $210,000
    4th year: $235,000
    5th year: $260,000
    6th year: $280,000
    7th year: $300,000
    8th year: $315,000
    Summer associate: $3,462/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    57 out of 60 (2Ls) (2016)

  • Major Departments & Practices

    Antitrust & Competition • Asset Recovery • Commercial Litigation • Capital Markets • Class Action Litigation • Communications • Compensation & Benefits • Corporate Restructuring & Bankruptcy • Credit Finance • Debt Securities Transactions • Health Care & Life Sciences Regulatory • 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 • Insurance & Reinsurance • 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 • Los Angeles, CA • New York, NY • Palo Alto, CA • Reston, VA • San Diego, CA • San Francisco, CA • Seattle, WA • Washington, DC London • Shanghai