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 others? ‘Opportunities for greater responsibility’, ‘clients in the tech space’, ‘friendly firm culture’, ‘when I applied Cooley had just launched in London and I wanted to be part of the expansion’, ‘focus on technology sectors’, ‘friendly work environment’, ‘small trainee intake’, ‘high-quality work’

Best thing about the firm? ‘Great culture’, ‘the benefits package’, ‘the people; everyone is friendly and willing to help you to learn’, ‘very interesting work and inspiring colleagues’, ‘the upward trajectory – it feels as though the firm is going from strength to strength in terms of community and financial success’, ‘high quality of work’, ‘feeling content with the training and feeling like a valued member of the team’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘Teams are quite small which can mean that things can get very busy at times’, ‘finding out about seat rotations and NQ jobs really late’, ‘no trainee social budget’, ‘poorly-timed training sessions, e.g. having corporate training only after you’ve done five months of your corporate seat’, ‘seat rotation planning’, ‘the division between business and contentious teams, but it’s definitely improving!’

Best moment? ‘Seeing my suggestions incorporated into the final work product’, ‘seeing a matter I had worked on appear on the BBC news’, ‘attending a hearing that I worked very closely on’, ‘helping on the completion of a deal that closed with two minutes to spare (before a deadline that, if missed, would have delayed the deal by another month)’

Worst moment? ‘Bundling after midnight’, ‘a month of late nights and eating dinner in the office’, ‘the particularly late nights in corporate just before Christmas (in particular, getting dinner at 11.30pm in McDonald’s Liverpool Street on the Thursday before Christmas, knowing I had to go back to the office and being surrounded by Christmas party-goers)’

The Lex 100 verdict on Cooley (UK) LLP

The firm: 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 deals: Advised Pizza Hut Restaurants UK and its senior leadership team on the management buyout of the business from Rutland Partners; advised General Catalyst on its investments as part of both the $275 million Series E and $385 million Series F financings for Deliveroo; advised Snap and Uber on their IPOs on the NYSE; advised Therachon Holding, a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on rare diseases, on its $810 million agreement to sell to Pfizer; advising a client (as a core participant) in the Public Inquiry instituted by the UK government into the Grenfell Tower fire, as well as in any regulatory and litigation issues related to the incident.

The clients: Allergy Therapeutics; Betway; DocuSign; Facebook; Google Ventures; Jazz Pharmaceuticals; Sony; SpaceX; Tata Steel; Twitter.

The star performers:
(Top-ranking departments according to The Legal 500 – see legal500.com for more details) 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

The verdict

A firm on an ‘upward trajectory’, Cooley is ‘going from strength to strength’, and this pleased trainees no end. The US firm’s ‘focus on technology sectors’ translates to ‘super-interesting work’ for great clients. A ‘small trainee intake’ brings with it ‘the associated benefits of greater responsibility and exposure to high-quality work’, although it can also ‘result in very high-intensity periods’. It’s a good job that the work environment is ‘welcoming and unpretentious’. Supervisors are ‘approachable and willing to answer questions’, as well as ‘listen to your input on strategy’. Although ‘actual training can sometimes feel like an afterthought’, on the up side there is a ‘more flexible approach to seats, meaning you can end up working for several departments at the same time’. This translates to ‘opportunities to challenge ourselves regularly by performing roles more similar to those of a junior associate’. The firm is a Lex 100 Winner for its impressive salary, and respondents were pleased that that there is a ‘great benefits package’ on offer too. Among the work highlights were ‘seeing a matter I had worked on appear on the BBC news’, ‘attending a hearing I had worked very closely on’ and ‘seeing my suggestions incorporated into the final work product’. Less enjoyable moments were ‘bundling after midnight’ and ‘a month of eating dinner in the office’. On the ‘excellent and very fulfilling’ pro bono side, ‘there is something for everyone’ and all such hours are billable. To be ‘part of the expansion of a well-known US firm which prides itself on diversity and innovation’, consider Cooley.

A day in the life of… Alicia Johnson-Cole, second-year trainee, Cooley (UK) LLP

Alicia Johnson-Cole, Cooley (UK) LLP

Departments to date: Technology transactions, competition, business litigation

University: Loughborough

Degree: Politics with International Studies, 2(1)

8.30am: I usually get in a little after 9am, but today I’m heading to breakfast with other women in the firm as part of Cooley’s Women’s Initiative Connection Circles. These are a really great opportunity to get to know some of the associates and partners outside the office. You can hear about their career experiences and form bonds with those you may go on to develop a mentoring relationship with.

10.15am: I settle in at my desk and have a quick chat with my supervisor. We briefly discuss my current work flow to make sure everything is manageable. Once settled in, I read through my emails and prioritise my tasks for the day.

10.45am: I am currently taking a lead role on a pro bono matter regarding an international white-labelling agreement. We had a call with the client earlier in the week and I have since been progressing the first draft of the agreement. I review some of the additional documents from the client and jot down information we may require to flesh out some of the terms. I initially discuss these with the supervising associate before sending an email to the client setting out our queries.

11.30am: Today we have our technology transactions group weekly catch-up meeting. Here, everyone has a chance to share what they are working on as well as discuss any interesting developments or experiences they’ve had that may be of benefit to the rest of the team. These meetings are quite informal and are a really good opportunity to put yourself forward for new matters. Following the catch-up, one of the associates notes that there is a new privacy matter that might be of interest and I’m invited to join a call with the client later in the week.

12.00pm: I’m back at my desk and see we have received updated heads of terms for a software licence agreement. I stop by the office of an associate on the matter for a brief chat on next steps. She asks whether I’d like to have a go at inputting some of the changes into the client’s standard terms. I quickly re-prioritise my workload to ensure I can turn to this in the afternoon.

12.30pm: The sun is out so I take advantage and head out to lunch with some of the other trainees. We go to Spitalfields Market and sit outside to enjoy the rare good weather. We have a relatively small intake, so we end up getting to know each other really well.

1.30pm: The competition team have been working with our US colleagues on a large joint venture (JV) requiring multiple filings across several jurisdictions. As such, we have a weekly call with the Cooley team and solicitors on the other side of the JV. We discuss progress in each jurisdiction and outline next steps.

2.15pm: After the meeting, I start reading an industry report which provides some useful insight into how the product and services market for the JV is segmented. This is done with a view to extracting the EU-relevant market share data. I send an email to the associate with my notes and arrange a time to discuss the findings tomorrow.

4.30pm: I start my review of the heads of terms for the software licence agreement. I have a couple of queries which I discuss with my supervisor before I proceed with incorporating the terms into the draft agreement. I spend a couple of hours updating the document. Following this, I send my draft of the agreement to the associate on the matter.

7.00pm: I have a netball match this evening so I check in with my supervisor to see if there is anything else that might need my attention before leaving; fortunately, there isn’t. I update my to-do list and check my calendar for the next day before heading out.

About the firm

CEO: Joe Conroy

Managing partner (London): Justin Stock

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

Who we are: Cooley is one of the pre-eminent law firms for technology and life sciences. The firm has 1,000+ lawyers across 15 offices in the US, Asia and Europe.

What we do: Cooley’s UK practice has strengths across many of the firm’s equivalent core practice areas, among them: corporate/M&A, venture capital, capital markets, technology and life sciences transactions, IP, complex high-stakes litigation, international arbitration, insurance and reinsurance, product compliance and liability, tax, competition, employment, compensation and benefits, fraud, data protection and privacy.

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 opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways are 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.