Cooley has arrived in London much later than other US firms but with no less ambitions. CEO Joe Conroy talks to Des Cahill about the firm's plans.
California based firm Cooley may not be the first US law firm to launch a practice in London but it hopes to have learnt significant lessons from the law firms that went before it. “We are trying to be the last mover with something significant to offer,” said Joe Conroy, CEO of Cooley on a recent visit to London. Cooley is well known for a number of very high profile technology clients like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn and offers a range of corporate, litigation and regulatory advice. It is also well placed to help start-ups and small IT companies with a range of flexible approaches with services like “Cooley Go” - an online repository of useful documents and advice for start-up companies which recently won a People’s Voice Webby Award. It was the first US law firm to win one of these awards which recognise internet excellence.
The Cooley Go app is going to be updated for a UK/European start-up audience moving entrepreneurs from incorporation to venture capital financing through trademark registration and IP protection to litigation and sale. As well as trying to engage with the tech companies from Silicon roundabout, Conroy believes that London is an important office for the firm's more established US client base. “There is definitely a need for representation of mature companies in London and through London”, he said. The recent addition of tax partner Natasha Kaye is part of a plan to equip the new office with a significant skill set to handle big ticket corporate/M&A deals. “The London partners are settling in to the Cooley culture and getting used to working on California time - when needed”.
Rise in revenue
Cooley is a firm which likes to harness AMLAW 100 profitability with an engaged and diverse workforce. The last 12 months has seen a rise of 19 per cent in revenue but also awards for innovation, gender equality and ethnic diversity from Fortune, the Financial Times and Working Mother Magazine. In terms of the importance of diversity, Conroy does not need to be convinced. “There is no question about the strength of the diversity business case”.
Cooley’s approach to diversity should play well with the existing 12 trainees in London and the emphasis on mentoring and support for female lawyers from the Cooley Women’s Initiative playing even better for the 9 women trainees. There is also a recognition of the loss to the workforce from women abandoning law as a career with the establishment of the OnRamp Fellowship, an initiative which looks to help experienced female lawyers back into the office after a lengthy absence. Very Cooley.