Cooley LLP is an American international law firm, headquartered in Palo Alto, California, with offices worldwide. 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 LLP
HeadquartersPalo Alto, California
No. of offices17
No. of attorneys1,072 (2020)
Major practice areasCorporate, Litigation, Intellectual Property, Regulatory
Key peopleRachel Proffitt (CEO)[1]
RevenueIncrease $2 billion (2022)[2]
Date founded1920 in San Francisco
Company typeLimited liability partnership

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 & financing.[5] It has consistently been ranked as an elite law firm for technology and life sciences companies, startups and emerging growth companies, and venture capital firms 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 one of the fifty 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 organized on the West Coast. In the 1950s, Cooley formed Raychem and National Semiconductor.[11] In 1971 the firm (then Cooley, Crowley, Gaither, Godward, Castro & Huddleson) began representing Disney in the 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 relocated its offices from San Francisco to Palo Alto.[14] In 1989, the firm (then Cooley, Godward, Castro, Huddleson & Tatum) facilitated the IPO of Qualcomm.[15] The firm incorporated NVIDIA in 1993 and later took the company public in 1999.[16] In 1995, two former partners of the firm, Robert Gunderson and Scott Dettmer, formed the law firm of Gunderson Dettmer.

On October 31, 2006, the firm (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".[17]

Like many other law firms, Cooley laid off 114 people in 2009 from its offices, citing "the uncertain economy".[18][19][20][21] After aggressive hiring to meet "soaring demand" in 2020 and 2021, Cooley concluded that several of its practices were "substantially overbuilt" as demand for the firm's services did not grow as much in 2022.[22][23] Cooley responded by laying off 150 employees in late 2022,[24] instituting a hiring freeze, and delaying the start date for incoming associates from November 2023 to January 2024.[25] Cooley then offered incoming associate hires for its corporate practice the option to start in January 2024, or to delay their start date by another year in exchange for a $100,000 stipend.[26]


Cooley's San Francisco office at 101 California Street

Cooley has offices in ten U.S. cities, London, Shanghai, Beijing, Brussels, and Singapore.[27][28]

Cooley launched in London in January 2015, creating a 55-lawyer practice and the firm's first office in Europe. Its lawyers were 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.[29]

The firm launched its Beijing office in 2018.[30]



The American Lawyer has ranked Cooley number forty-seven in its annual ranking of U.S. law firms by gross revenue.[31] 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.[32] In addition, U.S. News & World Report nominated Cooley as the 2011–12 law firm of the year in biotechnology law.[33] In 2011, Cooley LLP was named U.S. Tax Court Firm of the Year by the International Tax Review.[34] Cooley was recognized as one of Law360's Capital Markets Practice Groups of the year for 2015,[35] and 2019.[36] In 2016, Chambers UK recognized Cooley as being a leading practice in six practice areas along with singling out sixteen lawyers for their performance.[37] In 2018, Cooley was named by U.S. News & 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.[38][39]

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.[40] The firm's first-year associates are paid a salary of US $215,000.[41]


  • 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.[42]
  • Fortune recognized Cooley on its Best Workplaces in New York list, designating the firm in the top 10 of all large companies in the state.[43]


  • Law360 Names Cooley 2018 Capital Markets Practice Group of the Year[36]

See also



  1. ^ "Cooley Announces Rachel Proffitt to Succeed Joe Conroy as Firm's Next CEO". September 18, 2023. Retrieved February 6, 2024.
  2. ^ "In a Year of Precipitous Change, Cooley's Profits Fell Nearly 20% as Revenue Surpassed $2B". American Lawyer. March 23, 2023. Retrieved February 6, 2024.
  3. ^ "Cooley LLP - Law Firm Cooley LLP Overview". August 10, 2010. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  4. ^ "Cooley". Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  5. ^ "2 Law Firms Dominate January IPO Activity - Law360". Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  6. ^ "The White Sandal Elite Go To Law Firms of Silicon Valley". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  7. ^ "Best Law Firms for Venture Capital Law". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  8. ^ "WSJ Billion Dollar Startup Club". Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  9. ^ "Litigation Powerhouse: Cooley LLP - Law360". Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  10. ^ "Law Firms by the Numbers". Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  11. ^ "Cooley LLP | About | History". Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  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. ISBN 9780804737340. 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. ISBN 9780814428580. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  16. ^ Brian Baxter (June 20, 2023). "Cooley's Cozy Relationship With Nvidia Goes Beyond a Paycheck". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved May 31, 2024.
  17. ^ "Leading Silicon Valley Law Firm Hooks Up with New York Counterpart". The New York Times. August 22, 2006. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  18. ^ Eric Young (January 22, 2009). "Cooley Godward lays off 114 people". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  19. ^ Martha Neil (January 21, 2009). "Cooley Godward Fires 52 Attorneys and 62 Staff Members". ABA Journal. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  20. ^ Lat, David. "Nationwide Layoff Watch: Latham Cuts 440 (190 Associates, 250 Staff)". Above the Law. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  21. ^ "2009's Toll: More Than 10,000 Law Firm Layoffs and Lower Pay Trend". ABA Journal. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  22. ^ "Citing 'overcapacity,' Cooley lays off 150 lawyers and professionals". ABA Journal. Retrieved March 20, 2024.
  23. ^ "What's Next for Cooley's Laid-Off Attorneys and Staff?". The American Lawyer. Retrieved March 20, 2024.
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Cooley Delays Start Date for Incoming First-Year Associates (1)". Retrieved March 20, 2024.
  26. ^ "Cooley to Delay Some First-Year Associate Start Dates by Year". Retrieved March 20, 2024.
  27. ^ "Cooley". Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  28. ^ Eli Segall (June 17, 2011). "Cooley LLP sets sails for Shanghai with representative office". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  29. ^ "Cooley".
  30. ^ "Cooley Expands in China With Office in Beijing". January 29, 2018. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  31. ^ "US Results Round Up". February 12, 2015. Archived from the original on March 25, 2016. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  32. ^ "> Cooley LLP > Washington DC, USA > What we say". The Legal 500. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  33. ^ "Best Lawyers | Cooley LLP - Firm Overview". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  34. ^ "America's Awards 2011". International Tax Review. November 1, 2011. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  35. ^ "Capital Markets Group Of The Year: Cooley". Law360. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  36. ^ a b "Law360 Names Cooley Practice Group of the Year for Capital Markets". Cooley. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  37. ^ "Cooley". Cooley. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  38. ^ "US News – Best Lawyers Names Cooley Law Firm of the Year for Venture Capital". Cooley. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  39. ^ "The Recorder Names Cooley VC Group Corporate Department of the Year". Cooley. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  40. ^ "Fortune 2017 100 Best Companies to Work For". Fortune. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  41. ^ "Cooley, Brewer Latest To Usher In Associate Raises, Bonuses". Law360. February 16, 2022. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
  42. ^ "Crain's 2018 Best Places to Work". Crain's New York. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  43. ^ "The 25 Best Workplaces in New York". Fortune. Retrieved January 22, 2019.