Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Cooley (UK) LLP

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Cooley (UK) LLP

Why did you choose this firm over any other? ‘Impressive international clientele, very collegiate and supportive environment plus early responsibility’; ‘great culture, location, trainee intake size’; ‘sense of the friendly and laid-back culture that I got from the vacation scheme and events I attended’; ‘great clients, forward-looking, fairly flat hierarchy and small intake’

Best thing about the firm? ‘People, culture, environment’; ‘the people – I haven’t met anyone who’s intimidating, mean, or unwilling to answer questions. The culture here is very unlike the rumours you sometimes hear about City firms’; ‘focus on diversity and wellbeing of employees, friendly and inclusive colleagues, teamwork culture, opportunity to be heard and seen as a trainee’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘Hours can be anti-social (but to be expected) – and when it’s busy it’s usually very busy’; ‘a small intake means you can be quite busy’; ‘sometimes the day goes slowly and properly kicks off at 3-4pm when the US offices start to wake up’; ‘poor internal communication, between teams and about things like seat rotation’

Best moment? ‘When work I’ve done has made it into the final pleaded case and/or advice to the client’; ‘the responsibility I was given in pro bono matters – having the chance to lead on some of these matters and getting lots of experience with drafting and speaking to clients’; ‘helping to close transactions after weeks of hard work’

Worst moment? ‘Pulling the dreaded all-nighter’; ‘realising I’d sent an incorrect form to Companies House, but this was fixable and the associate was really understanding and supportive’; ‘late-night bundling’; ‘working with clients on the west coast of the US – all work arrived in the evening London-time’; ‘working on too much at once and not being able to meet people’s demands’

The Lex 100 verdict on Cooley (UK) LLP

The firm: Cooley lawyers solve legal issues for entrepreneurs, investors, financial institutions and established companies. Clients partner with Cooley on transformative deals, complex IP and regulatory matters and high-stakes litigation, often where innovation meets the law. Cooley has been named a Fortune Best Company to Work For seven years in a row.

The deals: Advised DocuSign, Snap, Uber and Zoom Video Communications on their IPOs; advised General Catalyst on its investments in Deliveroo as part of its $275m Series E, $385m Series F and $575m Series G financing rounds; advised Accel and General Catalyst on their investments in Monzo as part of its £85m Series E and also its £113m Series F financing rounds; advised Bavarian Nordic on its acquisition of the manufacturing and global rights to two commercial vaccines from GlaxoSmithKline, for up to €955m; representing IQVIA, the world’s largest provider of biopharmaceutical development services, in its dispute with Cardiorentis, a Swiss pharma company which engaged IQVIA to conduct a global clinical trial in over 20 countries to test a heart failure treatment.

The clients: Facebook; Google; Gilead Sciences; Jazz Pharmaceuticals; NVIDIA; Salesforce; Sony; SpaceX; Uber; Zoom Video Communications.

The verdict

‘International’ and ‘forward-looking’ Cooley (UK) LLP is a US-headquartered global firm with a strong tech focus and recent move the UK legal market. With ‘impressive international clientele and a very collegiate and supportive environment’, the firm is emerging as a favourite with trainees, particularly those looking for City-work with a small intake size and an ‘inclusive feel’. With its ‘fairly-flat hierarchy’ and ‘high levels of responsibility and high-quality work’, the firm’s training programme is rated very highly by current trainees. A respondent comments that ‘it sounds like my training is more comprehensive and that I get more involved in deals and have better quality of work as opposed to photocopying and bundling all the time’. With the small intake comes more responsibility and attention from senior colleagues, and trainees feel that ‘we get a lot more support from associates and partners than at some bigger firms’. A trainee comments that ‘I haven’t met anyone who’s intimidating, mean, or unwilling to answer questions. The culture here is very unlike the rumours you sometimes hear about City firms’. The firm is a Lex 100 Winner for inclusivity and has a strong ‘focus on diversity and wellbeing of employees, friendly and inclusive colleagues, teamwork culture, with the opportunity to be heard and seen as a trainee’. Cooley also secured a Lex 100 Winner award for financial remuneration. Drawbacks focused on the hours, ‘sometimes the day goes slowly until the US offices start to wake up’, and the occasional ‘late night bundling’. However, trainees applaud the ‘opportunity to take the initiative’, the ‘wide range of pro bono opportunities’ and client secondments. If a US-firm salary and workload are what you are after, Cooley delivers with a personalised touch.

A day in the life of… Corinne Robinson, first-year trainee, Cooley (UK) LLP

Corinne Robinson, Cooley (UK) LLP

Departments to date: Technology transactions, capital markets

University: University of Edinburgh

Degree: Law LLB Hons (1st); MSc International Business and Emerging Markets (1st)

9.20am: I’ve been working from home for most of my seat due to the Covid-19 crisis but everyone at Cooley has stayed amazingly connected and managed to follow similar routines as when in the office. I get to my desk just before 9.30am – the later start suits me well as I like to fit in yoga and a relaxed breakfast. I manage my inbox and have a chat with my supervisor. We have a catch up for about half an hour everyday – I get loads of support and feedback. Today we plan a to-do list and talk about some client calls coming up next week that I can get involved in.

10.15am: I receive an email from the partner who reviewed my drafting of a director indemnity yesterday asking me to research a particular point and incorporate it into a new version. At the same time a client who has their AGM today has just emailed asking if we will check their draft letters/announcements to file later on. I know that this is more time sensitive so I start a mark-up straight away. I send the documents to the partner who then does a final check before forwarding them to the client.

11.30am: We have our team meeting now so I grab a coffee (in the office, fresh fruit and hot drinks are always available at Cooley which I love). Cooley’s capital markets practice consistently earns elite rankings so it is always interesting to catch up with the team and hear about the client matters they are working on. You’re encouraged to get involved at the meetings and I update the team on the verification I did last week for a client’s investor presentation and some business development IPO materials I am working on.

12.00pm: I spend the rest of the time before lunch finalising my mark-up of the director indemnity. Trainees work closely with both associates and partners and so once I have finished drafting the document, I send it over to the relevant partner to review. The partners at Cooley are great at giving feedback and often take you through the documents explaining the changes you need to make.

12.40pm: Normally the trainees have lunch together. Sometimes we grab something from Spitalfields market or go to the Cooley Hub where there is always amazing food and we can all sit together. As a small intake, we see a lot of both trainee year groups as well as the NQs and everyone gets along very well. Today however there is a quiz over lunch for the corporate departments – a bit of fun that breaks up the day.

1.40pm: My supervisor asks me to help draft an audit committee terms of reference for a client planning to list on a US stock exchange. We discuss the background and my approach before I get started, which is always really helpful.

3.30pm: I share a response from Companies House to my enquiry earlier in the week about the name change of a pro bono client (a really cool small tech/life science company). Pro bono is a great way for trainees to get experience taking the lead on projects and to collaborate with various teams around the office.

4.00pm: I spend the rest of the day finishing the terms of reference and drafting a client alert about regulatory changes affecting public companies to be published on Cooley’s blog.

6.30pm: I have a language class this evening and so I check in with my supervisor to make sure there is nothing that needs my attention at the moment. As we work a lot with our US offices, colleagues and clients, work can come in later on so I tend to check my emails from time to time each evening just in case something urgent comes in.

About the firm

CEO: Joe Conroy

Managing partner (London): Justin Stock

Other offices: Beijing, Boston, Brussels, Colorado, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York, Palo Alto, Reston, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Shanghai, Singapore, Washington DC.

Who we are: Clients partner with Cooley on transformative deals, complex IP and regulatory matters, and high-stakes litigation, often where innovation meets the law. The firm has 1,100+ lawyers across 16 offices in the US, Asia and Europe.

What we do: Cooley’s London office has built out robust practices, including corporate/M&A, finance, venture capital and private equity, capital markets, technology transactions, insurance, litigation, IP, product compliance and liability, white-collar crime, tax, employment, competition, and privacy and data protection, among others.

What we’re looking for: Individuals stimulated by solving business and legal challenges. Academic excellence, great analytical skills, a rigorous approach, plus demonstrating plenty of energy, drive, determination and a collaborative approach is key.

What you’ll do: Trainees rotate every six months through contentious and non-contentious areas. Smaller working teams mean exposure, responsibility and the opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways is significant. Extensive internal and external training and development programmes focus on progression as a true business lawyer.

Perks: Gym subsidy/health and fitness reimbursement, private healthcare, life assurance, wellness programme, pension scheme with company contribution, income protection, STL, social and sporting events.

Sponsorship: After training place offer, GDL/LPC fees plus maintenance allowance while studying of up to £8,000 per year of study.