2024 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“The compensation, the client base, and the spirit with which the firm approaches its work (open-mindedness, optimism, thoughtfulness).”
“The people in the firm genuinely care about each other and want to help each other.”
“Cooley can be cheap about certain things, and RIF was a big disappointment.”
“Typical client services/ high demand environment, lack of transparency around decision-making, potentially changing culture.”
With more than 1,400 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 work in 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, raising funds, building a team, creating a board, and 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 1,500 M&A deals in the past five years. On the private equity side, the firm handles buyouts, going private transactions, growth equity investments, minority investments, and 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
Many leading industry organizations say Cooley is a great place, including repeat recognition from Diversity Lab, Working Mother, the Women in Law Empowerment Forum, and more. 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. Plus, the firm has a DEI action plan put in place in 2020 to increase the percentage of women in the partnership to at least 35% and to increase the percentage of ethnic, racial, and LGBTQ+ diversity of its lawyers to at least 32% and its managers and directors to at least 37%. To back up their investment in DEI, associates are eligible to receive up to 100 hours of billable credit for shadowing, leadership in the DEI space, and various firm citizenship activities.
News & Awards
- Represented Horizon Therapeutics, a specialty biopharmaceutical company, in its $28 billion sale to Amgen in the third-largest all-cash transaction in the pharmaceutical sector ever and the biggest healthcare deal of 2022.
- Represented nine plaintiffs (Sines v. Kessler) who won a historic victory in a landmark federal lawsuit following a coordinated attack by white supremacists during the “Unite the Right” rally. A Cooley team of litigators acted pro bono on behalf of the plaintiffs alongside Kaplan Hecker & Fink, Paul, Weiss, and Woods Rogers.
- Cooley advised Allbirds, a global lifestyle brand, on its $348.3 million initial public offering of 23,221,152 shares of Class A common stock, which now trade on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol BIRD.
- Corporate Practice of the Year – Tech/Telecom, 2022—The American Lawyer
- Life Sciences Practice Group of the Year, 2022— Law360
- Pulse Leaderboard, #2 Overall, 2022—Law360
- Best Provider Collaboration – Sines v. Kessler, 2022 —The American Lawyer
- Litigation Department of the Year Finalist, 2021—The American Lawyer
- Mansfield Rule 5.0 Certification Plus (US) & Mansfield Rule 1.0 Certification Plus (UK), 2022—Diversity Lab
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 (2023):
1K - 1.5K
No. of Partners Named 2023:
1st year: $215,000
2nd year: $225,000
3rd year: $250,000
4th year: $295,000
5th year: $345,000
6th year: $370,000
7th year: $400,000
8th year: $415,000
Summer Associate: $215,000 annualized, paid semi-monthly (approximately $4,134/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: 12
No. of International Offices: 6
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Palo Alto, CA
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Santa Monica, CA
Washington, DC |
Antitrust & Competition
Financial Services Regulatory
Health Care & Life Sciences Regulatory
Intellectual Property Litigation
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.