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Cooley Grows Chicago Trial Team With Former Federal Prosecutor

Dec. 6, 2021, 10:00 AM

Cooley hired Lindsay Jenkins, former criminal division chief in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago, as it bolsters the white-collar practice.

Jenkins said Cooley attracted her because of excitement around its Chicago office that opened in May and has quickly expanded to more than 40 lawyers.

“She’ll come into a department locally that is continuing to grow,” said Matthew Kutcher, a Cooley partner and former prosecutor with Jenkins. “Having her there with me—the plan is that we think we can basically match any white collar shop in the city.”

Cooley has been bulking up its white-collar group this year by adding former federal prosecutors. The firm a month ago hired for its Boston office Zachary Hafer, former chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Massachusetts.

In July, Cooley added Russell Capone in New York, where he’d spent a decade as a federal prosecutor in Manhattan.

The firm, founded 101 years ago in San Francisco, reached $1.6 billion in revenue last year, according to data reported to the The American Lawyer, ranking it among the 20 largest in the U.S. Revenue jumped by a third over the last three years while its headcount grew 13% to nearly 1,100 lawyers.

The firm’s emerging companies practice has been a growth area, as it advised companies including Zoom Video Communications Inc., Snapchat Inc., and Allbirds Inc. Firm litigators recently represented Facebook Inc., Walmart Inc. and Coinbase Global Inc., according to a review of federal dockets.

Jenkins said she sees the firm as filling a local gap by representing high-tech and life-sciences clients. “There is certainly a need for it in the Chicago area,” she said.

She was a Jones Day associate before becoming a federal prosecutor for 15 years. Chicago U.S. Attorney John Lausch named Jenkins in 2018 to lead the violent crimes division before she took on the criminal division role and supervised nearly 150 prosecutors.

She oversaw a bribery scandal case involving politicians and energy giant ComEd, which admitted to misconduct and paid $200 million in 2020. Kutcher also worked on the ComEd case before he left to join Cooley in June.

Jenkins, who is Black, is joining an office that has placed an emphasis on recruiting women and diverse lawyers. Nearly 70% of the lawyers in the office are women and 44% are racially diverse or identify as LGBTQ+, a firm spokeswoman said. Those figures far outpace the legal industry average.

“The strategic idea of bringing on Lindsay in many ways is a capstone to the other growth we’ve had over the last year,” said Andrew Goldstein, head of Cooley’s white collar defense and investigations group. “We now have in my view white collar practitioners with credibility and experience to be able to handle the most sophisticated matters in each of our major geographies.”

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com;
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com