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Cooley Adds Two Public Companies Partners in Season of SPACs (1)

April 7, 2021, 2:01 PM; Updated: April 7, 2021, 4:08 PM

Cooley has hired a pair of partners in its New York office to broaden its team advising in one of the hottest areas of finance: special purpose acquisition companies.

Rupa Briggs joins the firm from White & Case, where she was a partner, and Nicolas Dumont arrives from Fenwick & West, where he was of counsel. The pair join the firm’s public companies practice.

The hires come as Big Law firms have experienced a nearly yearlong surge in work helping companies issue debt and list their shares publicly. With record-low interest rates and an uncertain economy brought on by the pandemic, companies have lined up in droves to bolster their balance sheets. That work fueled one of the best financial years in memory for Big Law firms and has contributed to a tight labor market.

Cooley has been among the five busiest law firms for IPO work over the past 12 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, advising on more than 210 priced share offerings that raised nearly $50 billion.

The firm also is among the 10 busiest firms for so-called “de-SPAC” M&A transactions, according to a Bloomberg Law analysis. Those transactions are the culminating event for SPACs, which raise a pot of money and use it to acquire a private company and take it public.

“Cooley has really become the go-to firm for complex and very sophisticated SPAC and de-SPAC transactions,” Briggs said in an interview. “Being able to support clients through all stages of their corporate lifecycle—and not just taking them public—is what I’m focused on, and Cooley really is an extremely strong platform in that.”

Cooley recently advised a SPAC, BowX Acquisition Corp., on its agreement to merge with WeWork and take the office-sharing company public. On the company side, the firm last month represented semiconductor maker Achronix Semiconductor Corp. on its agreement to combine with a SPAC in a deal valued at more than $2 billion.

The recent abundance of business for Big Law firms has led them to reward heavily worked associates with new bonuses and spurred an early-year surge in lateral partner hiring in big-ticket practice groups and high-rate cities like New York.

“The demand overall is high for the top players in the market,” Nicole Brookshire, who co-chairs Cooley’s public companies practice group, said in an interview. “We want to attract the best and that’s our philosophy whether it is a busy time or not.”

(Adds description of practice group at Cooley the partners will join.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Roy Strom in Chicago at rstrom@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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