Cooley is entering the Chicago legal market, hiring partners from Winston & Strawn, DLA Piper, and potentially other competitors as the firm known for representing cutting-edge technology companies looks for a foothold in the Midwest.
The lawyers who will lead the office launch for Cooley, according to multiple sources familiar with the individual moves, include the chair of Winston & Strawn’s technology and emerging companies practice, Rick Ginsberg, and DLA Piper partner Greg Grossman, who helps lead a practice representing clients in technology and real estate matters.
Cooley declined to comment. Ginsberg and Grossmann did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Cooley has been one of the fastest growing law firms in the country over the past decade as the firm’s fortunes rise with the increasingly prominent technology and life sciences industries. The 101-year-old law firm founded in San Francisco maintains one of the highest regarded emerging companies practices in the country.
The firm’s financial performance in 2020 stood out even in a strong year for Big Law. Cooley’s revenue grew nearly 17% to $1.55 billion and its profits per equity partner rose by more than 25% to $3.18 million. The firm’s revenue has more than tripled since 2010, according to data from The American Lawyer.
On the back of that success, the firm has already been busy hiring lawyers across the Eastern seaboard, including a pair of capital markets partners in New York, a former U.S. Food and Drug Administration enforcement lawyer, and a veteran New York-based securities litigator from Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. The firm, which has ties to Facebook Inc., in December hired the social media company’s former assistant general counsel who led a team investigating cyberattacks.
The launch of a Chicago office, with partners whose clients dot the local venture capital and start-up scene, would likely be its biggest investment so far this year.
Ginsberg has long been a go-to lawyer for Eric Lefkofsky, the billionaire entrepreneur who founded coupon site Groupon Inc., medical data startup Tempus Labs Inc., and third-party logistics provider Echo Global Inc. Ginsberg in December represented Tempus Labs in a $200 million financing that valued the private company at more than $8 billion.
Prior to joining Winston & Strawn in 2018, Ginsberg was co-chair of DLA Piper’s U.S. fund formation and operations practice. Ginsberg overlapped with Grossman while at DLA Piper, which also has a long history of representing growth companies. Grossman in 2019 was named co-chair of a “PropTech” practice DLA Piper launched aimed at the intersection of real estate and technology.
Grossman has represented a number of prominent Midwest-based venture capital groups, including Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Baird Capital, Lightbank, and Chicago Ventures. He also has represented growth stage companies including Uptake Technologies, Inc., which was founded by Brad Keywell, a billionaire investor who co-founded businesses with Lefkofsky including Groupon and Echo.
Cooley has recently focused on building out its international footprint, opening offices in London, Beijing, Brussels, Hong Kong, and Singapore since 2015. Its Chicago office will be the firm’s first stateside office opening since Los Angeles in 2012.