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Cooley Bulks Up With Another Three Wilson Hires

Sept. 7, 2017, 9:43 PM

By Joyce Cutler, Bloomberg BNA

Cooley LLP is adding three partners from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC to strengthen its core corporate practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The 900-lawyer Cooley hired emerging growth specialists Jon Avina, Calise Cheng, and Rachel Proffitt.

Avina and Cheng are based in Palo Alto, Calif., and Proffitt in San Francisco. The hires are part of a decade-long growth plan for Cooley to be the go-to firm for technology and life sciences companies, Cooley CEO Joe Conroy said.

“We are becoming a big firm. We’ll be a billion-dollar firm this year and will be a big highlight for us,” Conroy told Big Law Business in an interview on Thursday.

“We want to be in a position not to represent the hottest and fastest startups but we want to be in the position to represent them in all parts of their life cycle,” Conroy said.

This is Cooley’s second Wilson group hire in three months. The Silicon Valley powerhouse added four corporate tech partners in New York and Washington, D.C., in July.

Wilson Sonsini chief operating officer Courtney Dorman said in an email that “transitions and mobility are simply a reality in this business.”

She said that the firm will perform well despite the turnover.

“As always, we are extremely proud of our people, our clients, and our performance and will continue to grow in all areas of strategic importance to the firm and our client base,” she said. “We, too, are investing in others.”

As for Conroy, he downplayed the firm’s recruiting from Wilson specifically.

“It’s really not about Wilson. These are lawyers that are very, very well known to us. They’re known commodities. Our partners have worked with and across these folks for years. We know that they are extremely sticky with their clients, that is they have a growing client bases and clients vote with their feet,” Conroy said.

Avina’s clients include Box and Palo Alto Networks, Proffitt’s clients include Instacart and Flipboard, and Cheng’s clients include Sunrun and Square.

The three partners are expected to join Cooley this month following their official release from Wilson Sonsini.

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