The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Cooley is a global leader for technology and life sciences and has particular expertise in complex litigation, including in high-stakes IP, white collar and insurance work. The firm has offices in the US, China and Europe, with the London office being the firm’s first in Europe.
The star performers
Brand management; Commercial contracts; Commercial litigation; Corporate tax; Data protection privacy and cybersecurity; Employee share schemes; EU and competition; Fintech; Fraud: civil; Insurance; Intellectual property; IT and telecoms; M&A: lower mid-market deals, £50m-£250m; Media and entertainment (including media finance); Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; Product liability: defendant; Public international law; Venture capital
Defending Whirlpool in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, as well as advising its rollout of a $250 million product safety action for customers globally; acted for Zenith Hygiene Group on its recommended final cash offer to sell to Bain Capital Private Equity through its investment in Diversey; led advice to West African Aquaculture, as claimant, in an ICSID arbitration brought against the Republic of the Gambia, which concerned the direct expropriation of the claimant’s aquaculture business by the Gambia; assisting Eve Sleep with commercial and strategic matters relating to online sales and advertising; appointed UK counsel for TGI Fridays and representing the restaurant group in a trade mark protection case TGI Fridays v TGI Frydays
Apollo Global Management; BuzzFeed; Esteé Lauder; Fuze; Mastercard; MoneyFarm; Oxford BioTherapeutics; Receipt Bank; Sapphire Ventures; ShieldPay
A Lex 100 Winner for salary, Cooley recruits receive ‘excellent remuneration’ as part of a ‘fantastic benefits package’ which includes ‘free mortgage advice’ and, to the delight of one respondent, ‘a free fitbit’. Also pleasing was the firm’s ‘flat management structure’ and ‘significant pro bono commitments’. We were told that ‘time spent doing pro bono counts towards billing targets’ and so trainees have assisted ‘a charity with an appeal in the county court’ and ‘run sessions on stop and search at a youth centre’. Aside from pro bono, trainees engage in ‘excellent work’ in the firm’s ‘strong litigation, technology and life sciences practices’. ‘Early responsibility’ is given and trainees are ‘far more involved in strategy decisions than friends elsewhere’. A ‘small trainee intake’ means ‘the level of responsibility I‘m given tends to be higher because I’m working in leaner teams’, however, with a small intake and ‘big-name clients’ it sometimes means that ‘when a matter flares up, things can get very stressful’. Also problematic was the ‘lack of transparency regarding the qualification process’ and the air conditioning which is ‘never quite right’. Recruits grumbled about the working hours which can be ‘very long in busy periods’, and a ‘long succession of late nights preparing for a large disclosure’ isn’t unheard of. Nevertheless, trainees praise the firm’s people and culture, and were happy when ‘a senior partner specifically thanked me in the foreword to a global legal guide’ and when they became ‘the person who junior associates approach for advice on how to proceed on a global (80 jurisdiction) action’. With an ‘excellent culture’ and ‘interesting work’, Cooley is a US firm worth setting your sights on.
A day in the life of...
Ben Sharrock second-year trainee, Cooley (UK) LLP
Departments to date: Insurance litigation (first seat), business litigation (second seat)
Degree:Ancient & Modern History, 2:1 (Hons)
9.00am: I arrive at the office. Following my typical morning routine, I pour a cup of tea, pop in to see the other trainees on my floor and tidy my desk ready for the day ahead. I take time to prioritise my current workload in order to get a clear structure for the day.
9.30am: I am currently taking a lead role on a large pro bono matter and am due to provide the client with a status update. I am reporting directly to the responsible partner so I check through the latest correspondence and documents in order to draft an update for the partner to review.
10.15am: An associate stops by my office to discuss a commercial dispute that I am currently assisting with. She asks me to conduct some urgent research into summary judgments and strike-out applications and, following that research, draft an order as appropriate with supporting documents. I quickly re-prioritise my workload in order to create some time in the afternoon to begin drafting.
10.30am: I am in the middle of preparing a detailed memorandum of novus actus interveniens and contribution claims. The first draft of the memo is due for Friday and I have spent some time earlier in the week gathering the most salient case law and academic articles. I dedicate some time to analysing the gathered material and begin to flesh out the structure of the memo. I check in with the associate who gave me this work to let them know that the Friday deadline is still realistic, and that work is progressing well. I take the opportunity to have a brief conversation about the more interesting research points I have come across.
12.30pm: My supervisor has scheduled a catch-up lunch so we head out to eat – we agree on sushi. We use the time to discuss my current work flow, my work product and life outside the office. It’s a great opportunity to raise any queries I have with my supervisor in an informal setting (and lunch out is always welcome!).
1.30pm: I have been asked to attend a hearing for a regulatory investigation matter I am working on. I am there to ensure we are aware of all the key points that come up and I will circulate a summary to the core Cooley team and our client later on in the week.
4.30pm: I return to the office and begin conducting research into summary judgments and strike-out applications. I have a couple of short queries for my supervisor but otherwise I am confident in the research so begin drafting the relevant documents. I send the initial drafts to the associate I’m working with in order for her to review and amend as appropriate. After I’ve sent her the drafts, we have another short discussion about the most appropriate strategy going forward.
5.30pm: There is a quarterly litigation group meeting so I pop down to one of the ninth floor meeting rooms. The head of our group, James Maton, provides an overview of the current work including major client successes and details of new associates joining the team. There are drinks and nibbles on offer and it’s a great chance to catch up with people.
6.30pm: I return to my desk and find an email asking that I arrange a video conference call with a client towards the end of the week. I contact the client and find a mutually convenient time for the call and arrange the internal logistics with reception and the information services team.
7.00pm: I have dinner plans with some friends that work nearby. I check in with my supervisor to see if there are any urgent outstanding matters that might need my attention in the evening but fortunately there are none. I head out of the office.
About the firm
Address:Dashwood, 69 Old Broad Street, London, EC2M 1QS
Telephone: 020 7583 4055
CEO: Joe Conroy
Managing partner (London): Justin Stock
Other offices: Beijing, Boston, Colorado, Los Angeles, New York, Palo Alto, Reston, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Shanghai and Washington DC.
Who we are: Cooley is an international, commercial law firm and is best known for its representation of high-growth companies, often on matters where technology and innovation meet the law.
What we do: We have pre-eminent technology, life sciences, venture capital and fund formation practices. We solve legal issues for entrepreneurs, investors, financial institutions and established companies.
What we are looking for: Individuals with incisive minds, who enjoy solving complex business and legal challenges. High levels of achievement, both academically and in activities beyond study, are key.
What you'll do:Trainees rotate every six months through some of the firm’s contentious and non-contentious areas. Many of our clients are household names and the quality of the work is extremely high. Our smaller working teams mean the level of exposure and ability to contribute in meaningful ways is significant. An extensive professional development programme, including the professional skills course, supplements this hands-on approach.
Perks: Gym subsidy, fitness reimbursement, income protection, life assurance, pension scheme with company contribution, private healthcare, STL, and social and sporting events.
Sponsorship:Course fees and a living allowance while studying: £8,000 if studying in London, £7,500 outside London.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 28
Other fee-earners: 60
Total trainees: 8
Trainee places available for 2021: 4
Applications received pa: 400
First year: £46,000
Second year: £50,000
Newly qualified: £115,000
At Cooley, our commitment to diversity and inclusion is integral to our culture, as well as to our efforts to leverage human talent and enhance competitiveness. We are dedicated to maintaining a truly diverse workforce that values and celebrates differences – from the way we hire and train our lawyers, to the way we work together as one firm to meet the needs of our clients. It is the unique abilities and perspectives of every individual at Cooley that creates such a rewarding workplace and constantly reaffirms our inclusive culture.
Diversity is championed in Cooley’s London office through the leadership of partner and associate members of the Diversity Committee and Women’s Initiative. The Diversity Committee and the Women’s Initiative work closely alongside the Management and Hiring Committees and serve as springboards for programmes and policies to increase the representation of women and other diverse talent across all levels in the firm. Notable initiatives since Cooley’s London launch in 2015 include:
- Growing the Minority Associates Group
The Minority Associates Group (MAG) is an affinity group comprised of non-partner lawyers and patent personnel with a shared goal of promoting the interests of diverse lawyers both within Cooley and within the legal profession. The London chapter of MAG sponsors a variety of activities throughout the year, including opportunities for client mixers with outside counsel to promote diversity in the industry, internal networking events and small group luncheons with firm leadership. In an effort to be inclusive, participation from all with an interest in diversity is encouraged.
- Launching unique mentoring opportunities
Women lawyers across the firm are engaged in Connection Circles, which facilitate mentorship opportunities within each of our offices. This initiative came about as a result of feedback from our associates and relies heavily on the involvement of senior associates to build and strengthen relationships among our women lawyers.
- Celebrating Diversity Awareness Month
To further weave diversity into Cooley’s culture, the firm recognises Cooley’s Diversity Month each October. Throughout the month, communication from the CEO, partners and local diversity committee members focus on the importance of diversity to the firm and our clients. Updates on the progress we are making to hire and retain more diverse lawyers is shared. Cooley employees participate in a variety of social, educational and cultural events centered around diversity in an effort to celebrate differences and increase overall awareness.
- Piloting trainee recruitment best-practices and widening access placements
In an effort to ensure equitable hiring opportunities for all, Our London Diversity Committee members piloted a programme to review application forms on a name-blind basis and invested in behavioral interviewer training for all our lawyers, directors and managers. We are also sponsors of Pathways to Law; a work placement scheme with a social mobility focus, offering 4 placements to A-level students each year.
- Exhibiting leadership in the community
We are proud members of diversity and women’s legal organizations in the London market, most notably Women in Law London, a network founded by a Cooley associate to promote and engage the next generation of women leaders in law. As signatories to IP Inclusive, a pan-professional diversity task force, and the Law Society and Inclusion Charter, we are able to exchange ideas and promote diversity outside the walls of Cooley.
For more information on Cooley’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, please visit:
Apply to:Sarah Warnes – trainee recruitment and legal talent manager.
What's involved:The main route to a trainee position is via our summer placements. Successful candidates undergo online critical appraisal exercises, then a morning assessment centre with group business case study, followed by selection through to interview in the afternoon on the same day.
When to apply:
Training contract commencing 2021: By 31 January 2019.
Summer vacation scheme: By 31 January 2019.