2019 Vault Rankings
“Amount of responsibility”
“Uncertainty as to compensation (bonus specifically)”
“The expectation of 24/7 responsiveness”
Founded by Arthur Cooley and Louis Crowley in 1920 in San Francisco, Cooley became 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 tech 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 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.
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. At the start of 2015, Cooley launched its first European office in London, and in 2018, Cooley expanded its Asia-Pacific presence with the launch of a Beijing office.
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.
IN THE NEWS
The Daily Journal recognized litigation partners Bobby Ghajar, Heidi Keefe, and Mika Reiner Mayer in its annual Top Intellectual Property Lawyers in California report. Keefe and Mayer have been named to the report for six years running.
A San Francisco judge ruled that California elections officials must notify voters before rejecting their mail-in ballots over signature concerns. This successful result stems from the lawsuit La Follette v. Padilla, jointly filed by Cooley and the ACLU in August. As the court recognized, thousands of eligible voters are disenfranchised in California each election cycle—with approximately 33,000 to 45,000 ballots rejected in the November 2016 general election alone—due to a perceived signature mismatch.
Cooley clients earned four of the top five spots on Fast Company’s annual list of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies. The publication determined the rankings through identifying “the most notable innovations of the year” by tracing their impact on businesses, industries, and culture. Cooley advises many of the #1 companies on Fast Company’s concurrent lists of the most innovative companies by sector, including for AI, consumer electronics, data science, enterprise, finance, food, music, retail, space, video, and wellness.
Cooley continues to climb the rankings on Fortune magazine’s annual 100 Best Companies to Work For list. Cooley rose to #18—its best ever ranking on the prestigious list—and remains the top-ranked law firm. The list is the result of the most extensive employee survey in corporate America. Fortune collaborates with Great Place to Work to select the 100 Best Companies to Work For list. The ranking is based on survey responses from more than 315,000 employees rating their workplace culture on 50+ elements.
According to data from IPO Vital Signs and PitchBook, Cooley is the #1 law firm for VC-backed IPOs across all industries in the past 10 years. Additionally, Cooley ranked #1 for issuer-side IPOs across all industries, VC-backed IPOs across all industries, and all tech & life sciences IPOs last year. In 2017, Cooley advised on 136 completed capital markets transactions, including 30 IPOs.
Law360 has recognized Cooley’s global privacy & data protection practice as a Privacy Practice Group of the Year for the sixth time. Cooley has earned Law360’s Privacy Practice of the Year designation six times in seven years. The firm’s privacy practice includes 50+ lawyers counseling on cybersecurity, privacy, and data protection matters.
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 2018: 950
1st year: $190,000
2nd year: $200,000
3rd year: $220,000
4th year: $255,000
5th year: $280,000
6th year: $305,000
7th year: $325,000
8th year: $340,000
9th year: $350,000
Summer associate: $3,654/week
49 out of 50 (2Ls) (2018)
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Palo Alto, CA
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Antitrust & Competition
Class Action Litigation
Compensation & Benefits
Corporate Restructuring & Bankruptcy
Debt Securities Transactions
Health Care & Life Sciences Regulatory
Employment & Labor
Estate Planning & Personal Representation
Health Care & Life Sciences Regulatory
Intellectual Property Litigation
Insurance & Reinsurance
Life Sciences Corporate Partnering & Licensing
Mergers & Acquisitions
Patent Prosecution & Counseling
Privacy & Data Protection
Private Equity & Buyout
Trademark, Copyright & Advertising
White Collar & Regulatory Defense