2021 Vault Rankings
- New York#33
At a Glance
“Great culture and personalities to work with.”
“The clients are the top technology and health care companies in the world.”
“I come to work each day and am challenged.”
“Lack of transparency around bonuses.”
About Cooley LLP
With more than 1,100 lawyers practicing across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, Cooley is synonymous with tech and venture capital work. The firm is also well regarded for its clean tech, cyber/data/privacy, IP, M&A, private equity, and securities practices.
Cooley was founded by Arthur Cooley and Louis Crowley in 1920 in San Francisco. Six decades later, the firm opened an office in Palo Alto, the epicenter of American technology. The rest is history. 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. The firm also advised on the formation of Draper, Gaither and Anderson, the West Coast’s first venture capital partnership. In other words, the firm built a strong tech foundation and continues to be a leader in the space today.
Start ’Em Up
Cooley lawyers focuses on a variety of industries. The firm works in the technology sphere, including such areas as AI, big data, cloud solutions, cybersecurity, digital currency and blockchain, fintech, and more. But the firm’s experience extends much broader to such areas as aviation, clean tech, communications and media, education, food and beverage, life sciences and health care, national security, and retail—to name some.
The No. 1 firm for Emerging Companies and Venture Capital in Vault’s practice area ranking, Cooley is a go-to firm for all aspects of startups and early-stage companies. The firm handles more than 1,000 venture capital financings each year, advising both investors and companies. The firm’s lawyers work through the whole life cycle of a startup and offer a multidisciplinary approach, integrating experience in financing, IP counseling, licensing, M&A advice, and more. And through the firm’s web resource Cooley GO, startups can receive in-depth information on everything from getting started and raising funds to building a team and creating a board to selling their businesses.
Cooley also has a bustling corporate practice, with a strong M&A team of more than 180 lawyers. The firm has worked on more than 1,300 M&A deals in the past seven years. On the private equity side, the firm handles everything from buyouts to going private transactions to growth equity investments to minority investments to spinoffs—to name a handful. Meanwhile, on the litigation side, the firm has experience in myriad areas, including antitrust, environmental law, IP, privacy and cybersecurity, restructuring, securities litigation, tax, and more.
Best in Class
If you ask Fortune, Cooley is a great place—the firm has ranked within Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For for seven years straight. And we can see why—the firm tries to go the extra mile for its people. For associates, the firm offers a shadowing program, internal career coaches, and a liaison for those taking leave. The firm even helps its associates get shut eye—it offers new parents smart sleeper rentals on the firm. Now that’s what we call a perk.
With respect to Cooley, we are very fortunate to have a global footprint, a diverse array of practice groups and strengths in areas that are in high demand at this point. Cooley takes a long-term view when hiring talent and has continued to actively recruit in light of the global pandemic. While these are unprecedented times indeed, we feel well positioned to not only emerge, but emerge stronger. While we can’t predict the future, we can respond to the situation at hand in ways that best position us for long-term success.
News & Awards
Cooley advised Vital Farms, a certified B Corporation and Delaware public benefit corporation offering a range of ethically produced pasture-raised food products, on its $235.4 million initial public offering. As the leading U.S. brand of pasture-raised eggs and butter by retail dollar sales, Vital Farms focuses on the humane treatment of farm animals and sustainable farming practices. The transaction represents Cooley’s first completed IPO for a certified B Corporation.
As part of commitment to taking action to end systemic racism, Cooley donated nearly $750,000 to the Equal Justice Initiative and closed on Friday, June 19, in observance of Juneteenth. To encourage education, engagement, and action, Cooley’s Black Attorney Affinity Group, together with others in the fight, has compiled a resource kit to deepen and expand understanding of anti-racism and allyship.
Amid the global pandemic, Cooley has taken wide-ranging approaches to staying connected and caring for its people, clients, and communities. To provide clients with timely and business-critical advice, a multidisciplinary group of 75-plus lawyers came together and launched a coronavirus resource hub, making Cooley one of the first firms to release a comprehensive self-service legal resource featuring guidance on legal, regulatory, and commercial implications of the pandemic. Recognizing that the crisis disproportionately affects vulnerable and low-income communities, Cooley’s pro bono team has been coordinating with legal services organizations and disaster legal services projects to ensure those communities have access to legal assistance.
Cooley marked its centennial. Founded in San Francisco, the firm has expanded its reach across the U.S. and globally, advising world-changing clients. As a firm for the future, Cooley is well positioned for the next 100 years of partnering with clients and communities; embracing change, diversity, and inclusion; and valuing leadership and teamwork, all the while leveraging the strengths of its unique culture.
- Junior Seau v. NFL—Cooley helped the family of late NFL player Junior Seau secure a confidential settlement in their litigation against the NFL, which alleged Seau took his own life because of brain injuries sustained during his NFL tenure.
- David Elliot et al v. Google—In an important “genericide” trademark suit, Cooley achieved a significant victory that prevented Google from losing its eponymous trademark.
- In re: Facebook Internet Tracking Litigation—A Cooley team successfully advised Facebook on a $15 billion multidistrict litigation that alleged the company unlawfully tracked users' browsing activity after they signed off.
- 100 Best Companies to Work For, 2014 - 2020—Fortune
- Perfect Score on Corporate Equality Index/Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality, 2020—Human Rights Campaign Foundation
- Transatlantic Litigation Team of the Year, 2019—Transatlantic Legal Awards
- Best Law Firm of the Year Finalist, 2018—The American Lawyer
- Pro Bono Publico Award, 2018—American Bar Association
3175 Hanover Street
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Phone: (650) 843-5000
Chairman & CEO: Joe Conroy
Vice Chair: Mike Lincoln
Chief Legal Talent Officer: Carrie Wagner
Total No. Attorneys 2020:
1K - 1.5K
No. of Partners Named 2020:
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
Chief Legal Talent Officer
Recruiting contacts for all locations can be found in the careers section of cooley.com
No. of U.S. Offices: 10
No. of International Offices: 6
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Palo Alto, CA
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Antitrust & Competition
Health Care & Life Sciences Regulatory
Intellectual Property Litigation
Insurance & Reinsurance
Life Sciences Corporate Partnering & Licensing
Mergers & Acquisitions
Patent Prosecution and Counseling
Privacy & Data Protection
Trademark, Copyright & Advertising
White Collar & Regulatory Defense
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.