The Legal 500

Cooley LLP


United States

Top-tier recommendations


United States: Industry focus

Within Energy: renewable/alternative, Cooley LLP is a third tier firm,

Cooley LLP’s clean energy and technology practice is ‘excellent across the board’, and has particular experience representing venture capitalists and start-up companies. Recommended for their ‘very good value, excellent response time and deep knowledge of the practice area’, attorneys in this Washington DC-based practice recently acted for New York City Corporation for Energy Efficiency on the structuring of an energy efficiency retrofit finance model for commercial buildings in New York. Renu Gupta and Laura Hegedus acted as lead counsel for Southeast Renewables on the sale of a series of biomass projects in South Carolina utilizing a cost pass-through structure. Interestingly, the firm advised Brightfarms on the development, financing and construction of a nationwide network of hydroponic greenhouses to be located on grocery retail rooftops; and is also working on utility-scale generation projects in Tanzania, Sri Lanka and India. Practice head Tom Amis is ‘able to think outside the box to bring together parties’, and ‘all around solid, especially when negotiating terms’.

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Within Healthcare: life sciences, Cooley LLP is a second tier firm,

Cooley LLP’s group, headed by highly regarded transactional lawyer Barbara Kosacz in Palo Alto, is ‘excellent in all categories’ and is particularly well known for its corporate and capital markets work. Licensing and partnership highlights included advising Regulus Therapeutic on its $512m deal with AstraZeneca; and FORMA Therapeutics on a $815m agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim for various oncology-related treatments. M&A deals included acting for NextWave during its high-profile $700m acquisition by Pfizer; and BASF on its $1bn acquisition of Becker Underwood. Boston-based Marc Recht is ‘very technically skilled in corporate matters and plays a strong quarterback role’. Capital markets mandates included advising Regulus, Rigel and Sequenom on their respective public offerings.

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United States: Intellectual property

Within Patent litigation: full coverage, tier 5

Cooley LLP has ‘a good bench of litigation talent that is skilled in defending hi-tech clients’. The team is also well regarded for its cost-effective service and solid industry knowledge. Michael Rhodes and Heidi Keefe successfully defended Facebook against a $100m damages claim brought by Leader Technologies in both district and federal court proceedings. Stephen Neal has tried numerous patent cases. Ronald Lemieux ‘provides honest, in-depth advice’ on patent litigation matters and has strong appellate experience. Jonathan Graves focuses on a broad range of technologies, including medical devices, hi-tech and consumer products. Stephen Smith is recommended for his knowledge on Section 337 investigations. Smith, IP litigation head Thomas Friel and Tim Teter successfully represented Nintendo as respondent to an ITC case filed by Creative Kingdom. Smith and Friel have also handled ITC investigations for HTC.

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Within Trademarks: litigation, Cooley LLP is a third tier firm,

Cooley LLP’s bi-coastal practice continues to handle a number of key litigation matters across a broad cross-section of industries such as hi-tech and consumer products. Practice chair Peter Willsey is acting for Sazerac as plaintiff in a trademark and trade dress infringement lawsuit against competitor Hood Rover Distillers regarding cinnamon flavored whiskey products. Willsey and Janet Cullum are defending Google in a dispute regarding the client’s ownership of several marks that incorporate the word ‘google’. Anne Peck is part of the team handling a similar case for defendant Facebook over infringement claims in relation to the client’s Timeline product. Cullum and John Crittenden represented the International Trademark Association as amici in Christian Louboutin v Yves Saint Laurent.

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Within Trademarks: non-contentious - full coverage, tier 4

Cooley LLP’s trademark and copyright team continues to punch above its weight in terms of clients - representing a raft of impressive names, with particular strength in social networking - the group represents both Facebook and LinkedIn on portfolio management, prosecution and strategic matters. Recent instructions also include the development of a trademark-licensing program for the USB Implementers Forum. The team comprises four partners and is headed from Washington DC by Peter Willsey who advises Sazerac and Bluetooth SIG; and John Crittenden in San Francisco, who acts for Lonely Planet Publications. New York-based Janet Cullum is noted for her domain name expertise, and in Palo Alto Anne Peck is recommended for international matters.

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United States: Investment fund formation and management

Within Private equity funds, tier 5

A dominant service provider to venture capital funds’, Cooley LLP provides ‘incredible knowledge and expertise; the service it provides, from inception through to final closing, is nothing short of superb’. Its team of over 40 specialist fund formation lawyers acts as counsel to more than 250 private investment funds, advising it on formation and structuring, to specialist securities, tax, Bank Holding Company Act and ERISA matters. In 2012, practice head Craig Dauchy, Ian O’Donnell and Daisy Qi represented Institutional Venture Partners in the formation and closing of a $1bn fund to invest in internet, digital media and mobile technology companies. Other highlights included representing Castonia Venture Capital in the formation of its first fund, which will make early-stage investments in cloud-based services; and representing Excel Venture Management in its £150m healthcare fund. Jordan Silber draws praise for his ‘responsiveness and productivity’.

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United States: Litigation

Within Leading trial lawyers, Cooley LLP is a second tier firm,

Stephen Neal, Cooley LLP: Stephen Neal and colleague Michael Rhodes are ‘highly experienced trial lawyers on major cases, both commercial and patent’; and are known as ‘exceptional strategists, who are very effective in the courtroom’. In 2012, Neal joined forces with respected colleagues Michelle Rhyu and Mary Schenker in representing Onyx Pharmaceuticals in a flagship IP contract dispute; the matter resulted in a significant stake in a promising cancer compound and a large payout for the client. Also recommended at this ‘best in San Diego’ firm are: Steve Strauss (‘great preparation and courtroom presence’); William Schwartz (‘expert in white-collar defense’); and Jonathan Bach (‘invaluable’). Michael Attanasio and patent litigation specialist Thomas Friel also have superb reputations.

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Within Securities: shareholder litigation, tier 6

Cooley LLP securities litigation group continued to expand with 2012 seeing the recruitment of Scott Balber, formerly with Chadbourne & Parke LLP to the New York office and Lyle Roberts, formerly with Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP to Washington DC. Roberts recently represented include Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, in an SEC insider trading case. New York-based William Schwartz is representing Credit Suisse in a multi-district securities fraud case, based in Ohio, relating to the collapse of NCFE, a major health care services finance company. Representative clients include Credit Suisse, Micromet and Smith Micro Software.

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Within White-collar criminal defense , tier 8

Cooley LLP handles a capacious range of issues within the white-collar space, and is comfortable representing the full range of clients, from banks, hedge funds and corporates, to individuals. This ‘breadth of experience is invaluable’, and the team has had some notable successes at trial lately, such as obtaining a complete acquittal for baseball player Roger Clemens in an obstruction of Congress and perjury case brought by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. It also defended former AU Optronics president - a Taiwanese citizen - in a criminal antitrust trial over price-fixing in the thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panel market. Ongoing matters include representing former Mayer Brown senior partner Joseph Collins in a criminal fraud case relating to the collapse of commodities broker Refco; the case has spawned civil litigation and the team has thus far shielded the client from any civil liability. William Schwartz heads the national practice from New York, where vice-chair Jonathan Bach is also based; both attorneys are ‘intelligent and diligent’, have the ‘appropriate combination of common sense and empathy’, and are ‘well respected by their peers’. Michael Attanasio in San Diego is also recommended, along with firm chairman Stephen Neal and John Dwyer in Palo Alto.

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United States: Media, technology and telecoms

Within Technology: data protection and privacy, Cooley LLP is a third tier firm,

Cooley LLP’s attorneys ‘are smart and effective in their briefing and arguments, and they know how to take off the gloves and litigate’. The 40-lawyer interdisciplinary privacy group is led by Susan Lyon in Seattle and Michael Rhodes in San Francisco. Lyon represents mobile, social networking and cloud computing clients in FTC investigations regarding CAN-SPAM, the FTC Act and the COPPA, and investigations by state agencies into data security breaches. Highlights included assisting HTC in its response to media and FTC inquiries regarding its Carrier IQ mobile analytics software. Clients describe Rhodes as ‘the best in the business’. He and his team are representing Facebook in the high-profile class action concerning its “Sponsored Stories" and successfully defended Sony against a putative class action concerning customer information. In 2012, healthcare regulation specialist Drew Gantt in Washington DC advised more than 75 companies on HIPAA/HITECH compliance and health care data privacy issues.

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Within Technology: transactions, Cooley LLP is a first tier firm,

Cooley LLP’s 27-attorney group, led by Adam Ruttenberg in Reston, focuses on complex IT-related transactions and operates out of the firm’s 11 offices. Clients range from established software and hardware infrastructure vendors and companies offering products and services where intellectual property is a key value driver to innovative start-ups, with particular expertise in social networking, software-as-a-service (SaaS), consumer electronics, information services, semiconductor and cleantech. 2012 saw a focus on IP rights. Ruttenberg represented Facebook in the $550m acquisition of 650 patents and pending applications from Microsoft. As part of the deal between Microsoft and Facebook, Facebook also licensed out to Microsoft the 650 patents, which allows Microsoft to use the Facebook-owned technology in its products.

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United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts

Within M&A: large deals ($1bn-5bn), tier 4

Cooley LLP represents global leaders, particularly in the technology, health care and life sciences sectors, in a wide range of M&A matters. In addition to handling acquisitions of venture capital-backed corporations and other closely held entities, the practice regularly negotiates acquisitions involving large, publicly traded companies. Recent highlights include representing Boston Biomedical in its sale to Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma, which currently aims to commercialize the compounds BBI608 and BBI503 in 2015 or later, the deal valued at $2.6bn; advising Objet in its combination with Stratasys - both parties make 3D printers, which are used to make prototypes of products or three-dimensional objects from a digital file, and can be utilized to manufacture everything from phones to cars using a computer-controlled printer - the deal valued at $1.4bn; and acting for URS, as US counsel, in its acquisition of Flint Energy Services (Flint), which cash transaction was valued at $1.25bn and saw URS also assume $225m of Flint debt. Barbara Borden is the San Diego-based practice head. Jennifer Fonner DiNucci and Craig Menden, in Palo Alto, Alfred Browne III, in Boston, Samuel Livermore, in San Francisco, San Diego-based Frederick Muto, Francis Wheeler and Laura Medina, in Broomfield, and Reston and Washington DC-based Mike Lincoln are experienced attorneys. Babak Yaghmaie, in New York and Palo Alto, and Seattle-based John Robertson are also well-regarded practitioners. Andrew (Drew) Williamson joined the firm’s San Francisco office from Latham & Watkins LLP. The firm opened its 11th office in 2012 in Santa Monica, the converging point for technology, media and venture capital in greater Los Angeles. Heading up the Santa Monica office is David Hernand, who advises companies, board of directors, special committees, investment banks, private equity and venture capital firms, and high net-worth individuals and families in public and private M&A transactions. David Young is also a key contact in Santa Monica.

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Within Venture capital and emerging companies, Cooley LLP is a first tier firm,

Silicon Valley-headquartered Cooley LLP has become a leading national and international firm in the emerging company and venture capital sector. The firm works on several hundred venture capital transactions each year and it represents more than 3,000 emerging companies in all the major industries, including software and technology, telecoms, semiconductors, life sciences and cleantech. Over the years, it has advised on investments in many of the world’s most well-known technology companies, such as eBay, Google, Adobe and Yahoo! Other clients include Ambit Biosciences, Intarcia Therapeutics, One Focus Ventures, Sonim Technologies, and Digital Reasoning. The growth of its Boston office has given it even further credibility in the life sciences industry, a sector where the firm is a market leader. In this regard, its San Diego office continues to play a pivotal role in the firm’s ever-blossoming life sciences reputation. It also has sizeable offices in Colorado, New York City and Washington DC. In 2012, the firm launched a new office in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, with a focus on technology, media and venture capital. The new office is headed by David Hernand, a lateral hire from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and he was joined by the eminent David Young and Chris Shoff, hired from DLA Piper. Several other senior laterals have also arrived in Los Angeles and the firm also further expanded its San Francisco team with the hire Drew Williamson from Latham & Watkins LLP. Cooley LLP continued to work on numerous impressive transactions in 2012, including representing C8 on its $200m Series C-1 preferred stock financing. On the investor side, it advised LLR Partners on its $112m Series B investment in Message Systems and represented Institutional Venture Partners on its $106m Series E Preferred Stock investment in LifeLock. Key partners include Palo Alto partner Mark Tanoury, a leader in growth company and venture work, including cleantech matters. New York partner James Fulton is another leading figure, with a fine reputation in the technology, life sciences and venture capital sectors. The immensely experienced Craig Dauchy heads the venture capital department and continues to earn accolades, and the highly-reputed Barbara Kosacz heads the life sciences department. San Diego’s life sciences specialist and chair of the business department Fred Muto is widely praised. Head of the technology transactions department Adam Ruttenberg is also recommended.

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United States: Real estate and construction

Within Land use/zoning, Cooley LLP is a third tier firm,

Cooley LLP acts for owners, developers and investors regarding all facets of land use, zoning, development and operation, and is particularly active throughout Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC. The firm is advising on acquisition, entitlement and zoning matters pertaining to each of the 11 rail stations located along the planned Silver Line section of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail extension project. Antonio Calabrese is the key contact.

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Within Real estate, tier 5

Cooley LLP handles a significant flow of property work and related capital markets transactions, with specialisms including transactions in the hospitality sector, joint ventures and restructurings. The ten-partner team is chaired by Antonio Calabrese, and includes Samantha LaPine and Ben Pierson. It represented LaSalle Hotel Properties in its purchase of a $72m mezzanine loan in Shutters and Casa Del Mar hotel in California; and is assisting DuPont Fabros in pursuing approval of a mixed-use project involving various buildings and residences located between the last Metro stations on the Silver Line. Arbor Commercial Mortage, Boston Properties, Greenfield Partners and Southwest Value Partners are also clients. Former practice head Thomas O’Connor left the firm in January 2013 to join Duval and Stachenfeld LLP.

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United States: Tax

Within Domestic tax: West Coast, tier 4

Cooley LLP’s Californian tax practice works from the firm’s San Francisco, Broomfield, Palo Alto and San Diego offices. The firm’s client base primarily consists of hi-tech and bio-pharma companies, although the practice extends to other industries. Senior counsel Robert Miller in Palo Alto has extensive experience in the areas of federal and California income tax law and federal estate and gift tax law. Also in Palo Alto, Mark Windfeld-Hansen focuses on tax issues arising in business transactions and executive compensation. In Broomfield, Mark Hrenya handles tax matters relating to transactions, including international tax planning. Susan Cooper Philpot is the key corporate tax partner in the San Francisco office.

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Within Tax controversy, tier 4

Cooley LLP has gained considerable recognition in the market for its work, including the victory gained for Entergy Corporation involving $250m in foreign tax credits. Tax controversy head Stephen Gardner led the advice in this matter and has a very solid reputation. Seasoned litigator Kathleen Pakenham is another name to note; she represented Newmont Mining in a case before the US tax court concerning issues relating to commodity forward sales contracts, creditability of foreign taxes, and valuation of complex mining assets.

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