Cooley London revenue jumps 22% as global turnover hits $1bn

Cooley’s City office revenue jumped 22% in 2017, as global revenue rose 10% to $1.07bn (£770m).

In London, the firm’s income rose to $57.5m (£41.5m) in 2017, up from $47m (£37.6m) in 2016.

Meanwhile, the firm posted a global revenue figure of $1.07bn for 2017, up from $974m (£702m). Revenue per lawyer rose 5% last year to almost $1.2m (£866,000), while profits per equity partner increased 6% to $2m (£1.4m).

Since 2010, the Silicon Valley-based firm has reported steady growth in overall revenue and headcount, the latter of which rose 5% last year, to the 897-lawyer mark. Cooley also said it had 305 partners, 208 of them equity and the remaining 98 non-equity.

Cooley chief executive Joseph Conroy said the firm is focusing on expanding in three regions: California, the East Coast and London. Cooley is also examining potential opportunities in Germany.

“For us, our focus has been to grow in those power centers, and grow in a way that we tie all the pieces together to deliver something truly integrated and distinctive,” Conroy said. He expects even more growth in the nation’s capital as Silicon Valley’s technology giants clash with increased calls for regulatory oversight in Washington.

In 2017, standout lateral hires in the City included Hogan Lovells international product law head Rod Freeman in May.

It most recently bolstered its London corporate team with the hire of M&A partner Michal Berkner from Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom earlier this month.

Cooley London managing partner Justin Stock told Legal Week: ”Our equity capital markets practice was very busy during the year. We advised on a large number of UK companies that were either listing in the US or dual listing. We expect that the space will remain busy this year and it’s an obvious growth area for us – I’d be disappointed if we didn’t make some hires into the practice.”

“During the second half of last year the private M&A space picked up quite a lot, particularly in technology and life sciences.”

He added: “Rod Freeman was a great hire – we hope that this products space will grow to be very profitable for London and the firm globally. Following Michal Berkner’s arrival last week, we intend to continue growing in corporate.”

The City base originally launched in January 2015, with the hire of 20 partners from Edwards Wildman and Morrison & Foerster. It is the firm’s sole European outpost and winner of British Legal Awards London Office of the Year 2017.

The firm, which has started off 2018 by opening an office in Beijing and hiring the former head of Morrison & Foerster’s drones practice, has come a long way from the uncertain outlook that Cooley faced in the aftermath of the dotcom bubble nearly 20 years ago.

“What really differentiates us [from other firms] is our deep historical ties to these industries that are now shaping the world: serving technology, life sciences and high-growth, innovative companies, investors and financial institutions,” said Conroy, who became head of the firm a decade ago.

Conroy attributed Cooley’s performance to its clients’ success in that innovative marketplace. As the technology industry matures, he added, Cooley has earned more revenue from industries that typically did not have any new companies in their field. And as Silicon Valley has become a larger part of the national and global economy, Cooley has reaped the benefits, handling capital markets, M&A and regulatory matters for its clients, as well as intellectual property and securities litigation.

Perhaps not surprisingly, when asked about partner promotions and lateral hires, Conroy said the fastest-growing practice for Cooley in 2017 was its startups and emerging companies group.