Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Cooley (UK) LLP

The Lex 100 verdict on Cooley (UK) LLP

‘Forward-looking’ Cooley has an ‘exciting client base, especially when it comes to emerging companies’. A ‘relative newcomer to the London market’, the US firm has demonstrated ‘rapid international growth’ and boasts a ‘vibrant culture’ complete with ‘approachable associates and partners’. Indeed ‘no matter how busy people are, they are mindful of how they communicate with you’. The ‘quality of work given to junior lawyers’ was highly praised and the firm is a Lex 100 Winner for its impressive salary. A small intake means that trainees are ‘better known in the office’ and receive more client contact, although the training is described as ‘slightly less structured’ than at larger firms. Cooley’s diversity initiatives deserve a special mention; they are ‘genuine and deeply thought through’. The work/life balance ‘could be better’ though; ‘sometimes work can carry on late into the evenings and, although rarely, on weekends too’. Recruits cited ‘the feeling of making a mistake and letting people down’ and ‘feeling overwhelmed during a transaction due to time pressures’ as some of the lowest points of their training so far. Thankfully, ‘closing a crossover funding round in record time, during which I was given a good amount of responsibility’ and ‘taking the lead on a multi-party pro bono matter’ are compensations. Elaborating on the pro bono offering, trainees spoke of a ‘plethora of opportunities’, the quality of which is ‘phenomenal’. Whilst recruits have ‘missed out on the more natural training you get from being in an office environment’, at least the ‘move to remote working has been as smooth as it could be in the circumstances’. To work with an ‘innovative clientele’, consider Cooley.

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, Immunocore, Snap, Snowflake, Uber and Zoom Video Communications on their IPOs; advised Super Group, a holding company for online sports betting and gaming businesses Betway and Spin, on its merger with Sports Entertainment Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC); advised Brandwatch, a global leader in digital consumer intelligence and social media listening, on its sale to public relations and marketing technology company Cision for $450m; advised Snyk, a cybersecurity software startup, on its $530m Series F financing, bringing the company’s valuation to $8.5bn; 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; Snap; SpaceX; Uber; Zoom Video Communications.

A day in the life of... Morgan McCormack, second-year trainee, Cooley (UK) LLP

Departments to date: Technology transactions group; Product liability and compliance

Degree: BA European Studies with Spanish and Italian (2(1))

9.15am: I get to my desk at 9.15am. The slightly later start gives me the chance to have a relaxed breakfast before reviewing emails from the previous evening and making a to-do list for the day ahead. While the majority of my seat has been spent at home rather than in Cooley’s exciting new office at 22 Bishopsgate, the products group has made a great effort to make me feel an integrated part of the team.

9.45am: Yesterday, I emailed local counsel in 15 jurisdictions with instructions relating to a multi-jurisdictional launch of a new virtual reality product by one of our clients, a large technology company. The turnaround time is short as the client wants the advice by Thursday, so I create a simple tracker in Excel that I can use to monitor responses and ensure the deadline is met. I update the team on who has confirmed that they can assist, and from whom we are still awaiting responses.

10.30am: I meet with my supervisor. We have a general catch-up, and discuss ongoing client matters and what new projects are in the pipeline. We agree an action list for the week, and he asks me if I have extra capacity to help with something, which I do. We arrange a further call for the afternoon to discuss it in more detail.

11.00am: I meet with the products team. One of my roles as a trainee is to chair the team meeting, so once everyone has joined I start to run through the action list that we agreed last week. The focus of the meeting is on business development and client updates, so I keep notes on the team’s work regarding new blogs and podcasts, and industry conferences that the team has attended or plans to attend. We also discuss product regulatory updates at the UK and EU level and receive an interesting briefing from one of the associates who is on secondment to a major technology client. We wrap up by providing our capacity for the week so as to ensure that work is evenly distributed. I tidy up the action points after the meeting and circulate them to the team.

12.00-1.00pm: This is the team’s ‘Power Hour’. During this period, we try not to schedule any meetings (internal or external). I take advantage by pulling on some shorts and going for a run, which helps me stay fresh for the afternoon.

1.15pm: I finish lunch and update the local counsel advice tracker. About half of the external counsel have confirmed that they can assist, so I follow up with those that we haven’t heard from yet. I create a template with which we can
populate their advice and circulate a further update to the team.

2.00pm: An associate provides me with some comments on a research memo which I drafted last week and enquires whether I have capacity to review and send her an updated version by Friday. The research relates to an e-commerce company which sells botanical products in the UK and EU. We need to provide the client with an overview of the post-Brexit legal regime and the practical implications for its business. The rules are detailed and require some time to analyse. I review the comments and agree to provide a revised draft by Friday.

3.00pm: I meet with my supervisor and one of the associates to discuss a new matter. Our client has purchased an e-commerce company that specialises in cosmetics products. As part of a brand re-vamp, it wants to ensure that the cosmetics are fully in compliance with EU and UK regulations. My supervisor asks me to prepare a practical checklist of requirements for both jurisdictions. He asks me if I have capacity to finish this before the end of the next day. I confirm and agree to send a first draft of the checklist within that timeframe.

3.30pm: I review and file some invoices which have been sent to us from our external counsel for a previous piece of advice. As it is my most urgent piece of work, I then turn to the multi-jurisdictional tracker and begin populating it with the advice we have received so far. I realise that external counsel has missed one of the questions we asked, so I send them a follow-up email about it. Once I have finished populating the tracker, I analyse the advice, correct any spelling mistakes, and format it in a ‘client-ready’ way. I then send my draft to the team for review.

5.00pm: I review UK and EU plant health and importation regulations for our e-commerce client and gather the key research points into one document. I then set out a structure for the advice email and begin to populate it. I estimate that the memo will take me most of the next day to complete, so I advise the team as to my capacity. I also ensure that all external counsel have responded with their product launch advice and send an update to the team.

7.00pm: I remember that I have a music lesson that evening and finish the day by creating a research plan for the morning. I check in with the multi-jurisdictional team to see if they need any further support with anything. As the team is very busy at the moment, I might check my emails on my phone once or twice during the evening to ensure that nothing urgent needs my attention.

About the firm

CEO: Joe Conroy

Managing partner (London): Justin Stock

Other offices: Beijing, Boston, Brussels, Chicago, 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 1,300+ lawyers across 17 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 with coaching and therapy sessions, pension scheme with company contribution, income protection, STL, employer-sponsored funds for fertility treatments and family-forming services, social and sporting events.

Sponsorship: After training place offer, GDL/LPC fees plus maintenance allowance while studying of up to £10,000 per year of study.

Cooley's UK Diversity Fellowship

As part of Cooley’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, we are proud to offer Diversity Fellowships to outstanding university students intending to study for qualification as a solicitor in England and Wales. Students who demonstrate a commitment to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion are encouraged to apply.

The Cooley UK Diversity Fellowship is a unique opportunity to gain valuable insights about a career in law with Cooley, with the opportunity to participate in Cooley’s Summer Programme a year sooner than students are typically eligible to participate. Our Summer Programme is an essential part of our trainee solicitor recruitment process, as participants are traditionally considered for a training contract at the conclusion of the programme. As Diversity Fellows will be participating in the Summer Programme a year early, at the conclusion of the programme they will be considered for participation in the programme again the following year. The two-year approach will provide the opportunity for Fellows to learn about our work environment, develop relevant skills and gain invaluable contacts and experience that will enable them to perform to their best when they attend the Summer Programme in their second year.

For full details, including eligibility and how to apply, please visit https://www.cooley.com/careers/uk-trainees/diversity-fellowship-uk.