Cooley LLP

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Cooley LLP
Cooley LLP Media Kit Logo.png
HeadquartersPalo Alto, California
No. of offices14
No. of attorneys946 (2018)
Major practice areasCorporate, Litigation, Intellectual Property, Regulatory
Key peopleStephen C. Neal, Chairman
Joseph W. Conroy, CEO[1]
RevenueIncrease $1.226 billion (2018)[2]
Date founded1920 in San Francisco; 98 years ago
Company typeLimited liability partnership

Cooley LLP is an American international law firm, headquartered in Palo Alto, California. The firm has offices in Palo Alto, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., San Diego, Seattle, Colorado, Virginia, London, Brussels, Beijing, and Shanghai. The firm's practice areas include corporate, litigation, intellectual property, fund formation, public markets, employment, life sciences, clean technology, real estate, financial services, retail, regulatory and energy.[3][4]

Cooley is particularly known for its technology and life sciences practices as well as its experience with marquee initial public offerings (IPOs) and deep-rooted venture capital connections & financings.[5]

The firm has consistently been ranked high as a law firm for technology and life sciences companies, startups and emerging growth companies, and venture capital firms, including by Above the Law,[6] and U.S. News & World Report.[7] Cooley represents as clients over a third of the companies on the Wall Street Journal's Billion Dollar Startup Club.[8]

According to Law360, Cooley is "widely regarded as one of Silicon Valley's go-to law firms."[9] It is ranked as one of the 50 largest law firms in the world.[10]


Cooley was founded by Arthur Cooley and Louis Crowley in 1920 in San Francisco. In 1958, Cooley formed Draper, Gaither and Anderson, the first venture capital partnership to be organized on the West Coast. Also in the 1950s, Cooley formed Raychem and National Semiconductor, one of the original chip companies that gave "Silicon Valley" its name.[11] In 1971 the firm (then Cooley, Crowley, Gaither, Godward, Castro & Huddleson) began representing Disney in the controversial copyright and trademark infringement case Walt Disney Productions v. Air Pirates.[12][13] In the early 1980s, the firm took both Genentech and Amgen public. In the late 1980s, the firm moved into the tech area Palo Alto, from its then base in San Francisco.[14] In 1989, the firm (then Cooley, Godward, Castro, Huddleson & Tatum) facilitated the IPO of Qualcomm.[15] On October 31, 2006, Cooley LLP (then Cooley Godward) merged with Kronish Lieb Weiner & Hellman, which resulted in the firm growing from 440 lawyers to 550. In the announcement of the merger, The New York Times referred to Cooley as a "Leading Silicon Valley law firm".[16] In 1995, two former partners of the firm, Robert Gunderson and Scott Dettmer, formed the law firm of Gunderson Dettmer. Like many other law firms, however, the firm laid off 114 people in 2009 from its offices, citing "the uncertain economy".[17][18][19][20]


Cooley's San Francisco office is located on 101 California Street.

Cooley has offices in 10 United States cities, one in London, one in Shanghai, and another in Beijing.[21][22] It also had an office in Kirkland, Washington, which it closed in the early 2000s.[23]

Cooley launched in London on January 12, 2015, creating a 55-lawyer practice and the firm's first office in Europe. Its lawyers were laterally hired from the London offices of Morrison & Foerster and Edwards Wildman Palmer, raiding the latter's entire office. The office is run by Justin Stock who headed the corporate department of Morrison & Foerster's London office before joining Cooley[24]. The firm launched its Beijing office in 2018, in an effort to cater to clients in the burgeoning Chinese venture capital market. [25]


The American Lawyer has ranked Cooley number forty-seven in its annual ranking of U.S. law firms by gross revenue.[26] Top Legal 500 and the National Law Journal's NLJ 250 has ranked Cooley's practice areas from second through eighth tier in its national survey of law firms.[27] In addition, U.S. News and World Report nominated Cooley as the 2011–12 law firm of the year in biotechnology law.[28] In 2011, Cooley LLP was named U.S. Tax Court Firm of the Year by the International Tax Review.[29] Cooley was recognized as one of Law360's Capital Markets Practice Groups of the year for 2015[30] and 2019[31]. In 2016, Chambers UK recognized Cooley as being a leading practice in six practice areas along with singling out sixteen lawyers for their performance.[32] In 2018, Cooley was named by U.S. News and World Report as the #1 law firm in the country in both the venture capital law and technology law categories, and the firm was named by The American Lawyer's Recorder publication as the top Venture Capital practice of the year. [33][34]

Cooley has been recognized as one of only five law firms (and the highest ranking of any law firm) to be listed on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For.[35] The firm's first-year associates are paid a salary of US$190,000, matching Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy's 2018 compensation increase.[36]


  • Crain’s New York recognized Cooley on its 100 Best Places to Work in New York City list as the #4 best large company and the #1 law firm. [37]
  • Fortune (magazine) recognized Cooley on its Best Workplaces in New York list, designating the firm in the top 10 of all large companies in the state.[38]


  • Law360 Names Cooley 2018 Capital Markets Practice Group of the Year[39]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Cooley Posts Double-Digit Revenue, Profit Growth in 2018". 2019-02-12. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  3. ^ "Cooley LLP - Law Firm Cooley LLP Overview". 2010-08-10. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
  4. ^ "Cooley". Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  5. ^ "2 Law Firms Dominate January IPO Activity - Law360". Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  6. ^ "The White Sandal Elite Go To Law Firms of Silicon Valley". Retrieved 2017-10-12.
  7. ^ "Best Law Firms for Venture Capital Law". Retrieved 2017-10-12.
  8. ^ "WSJ Billion Dollar Startup Club". Retrieved 2017-10-12.
  9. ^ "Litigation Powerhouse: Cooley LLP - Law360". Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  10. ^ "Law Firms by the Numbers". Retrieved 2017-09-30.
  11. ^ "Cooley LLP | About | History". Retrieved 2013-11-26.
  12. ^ Bob Levin (December 1, 2004). "Disney's War Against the Counterculture". Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  13. ^ "Walt Disney Productions v. Air Pirates". Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  14. ^ Martin Kenney (2000). Understanding Silicon Valley: The Anatomy of an Entrepreneurial Region. Stanford University Press. p. 77. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  15. ^ Dave Mock (2005). The Qualcomm Equation: How a Fledgling Telecom Company Forged a New Path to Big Profits and Market Dominance. AMACOM. p. 182. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  16. ^ "Leading Silicon Valley Law Firm Hooks Up with New York Counterpart". New York Times. August 22, 2006. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  17. ^ Eric Young (January 22, 2009). "Cooley Godward lays off 114 people". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  18. ^ Martha Neil (January 21, 2009). "Cooley Godward Fires 52 Attorneys and 62 Staff Members". ABA Journal. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  19. ^ Lat, David. "Nationwide Layoff Watch: Latham Cuts 440 (190 Associates, 250 Staff)". Above the Law. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  20. ^ "2009's Toll: More Than 10,000 Law Firm Layoffs and Lower Pay Trend". ABA Journal. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  21. ^ "Cooley". Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  22. ^ Eli Segall (June 17, 2011). "Cooley LLP sets sails for Shanghai with representative office". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  23. ^ "Cooley Godward may shut Kirkland office". Puget Sound Business Journal. November 15, 2002. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Cooley Expands in China With Office in Beijing". January 29, 2018. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  26. ^ "US Results Round Up". 2015-02-12. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
  27. ^ "> Cooley LLP > Washington DC, USA > What we say". The Legal 500. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
  28. ^ "U.S. News - Best Lawyers | Cooley LLP - Firm Overview". Retrieved 2013-11-26.
  29. ^ "America's Awards 2011". International Tax Review. November 1, 2011. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  30. ^ "Capital Markets Group Of The Year: Cooley - Law360". Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  31. ^ "Law360 Names Cooley Practice Group of the Year for Capital Markets". Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  32. ^ "Cooley". Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  33. ^ "US News – Best Lawyers Names Cooley Law Firm of the Year for Venture Capital". Retrieved 2017-09-30.
  34. ^ "The Recorder Names Cooley VC Group Corporate Department of the Year". Retrieved 2017-09-30.
  35. ^ "Fortune 2017 100 Best Companies to Work For". Retrieved 2017-10-12.
  36. ^ Retrieved 2018-10-05. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  37. ^ "Crain's 2018 Best Places to Work". Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  38. ^ "The 25 Best Workplaces in New York". Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  39. ^ "Law360 Names Cooley Practice Group of the Year for Capital Markets". Retrieved 2019-01-22.