The go-to firm for startups and early-stage companies, Cooley is ideal for those seeking cutting-edge work with innovative clients. The firm has a highly social culture that will no doubt appeal to affable personalities and boasts a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. With more than 1,200 lawyers practicing across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, Cooley is synonymous with tech and venture capital work. The firm is also well regarded for its clean tech, cyber/data/privacy, IP, M&A, private equity, and securities practi...

Firm Stats


Total No. Attorneys (2021)

1K - 1.5K


No. of Partners Named (2021)



Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100


No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2020)



No. of Summer Associates (2021)

146 total (128 2Ls; 17 1Ls; 1 SEO)


Base Salary

1st year: $215,000

Vault Verdict

Cooley is a highly social firm where lawyers frequently got together—both during and after office hours—pre COVID and have continued to meet up virtually during the pandemic. The identity is so strong that lawyers use the firm’s name as an adjective to describe its culture. In interviewing candidates, Cooley strives to find candidates who will fit with the firm’s culture, and while there are grade cutoffs, the firm isn’t a prestige snob. Diversity is also a key recruiting component, and the firm has embraced behavioral interviewing. Unlike many of its peers, Cooley is exceptionally transparent with its associates—from firm finances to partnership. While making partner isn’t a shoe in, it’s possible, and associates are given ample support and guidance on the process. Associates are...

About the Firm


With more than 1,200 lawyers practicing across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, Cooley is synonymous with tech and venture capital work. The firm is also well regarded for its clean tech, cyber/data/privacy, IP, M&A, private equity, and securities practices.

Tech Roots

Cooley was founded by Arthur Cooley and Louis Crowley in 1920 in San Francisco. Six decades later, the firm opened an office in Palo Alto, the epicenter of American technology. The rest is history. The firm began working with venture capitalists, life sciences companies, and emerging technology startups, representing the likes of Adobe Systems and Gilead Sciences; it also took Genentech and Amgen public in 1980 and 1983, respectively. The firm also advised on the formation of Draper, Gaither a...

Associate Reviews

  • Pre-COVID we were a very social office. We actually like each other and enjoy hanging out outside of work. We would attend happy hours, parties at one another's homes, attend each other's weddings, etc. The day-to-day atmosphere is also very social. I often ate lunch or got coffee with my colleagues.”
  • As far as collegiality goes, you cannot do better.”
  • Generally we are very collegial and friendly and socialize with some regularity. We are all working remotely and have not seen each other in person for the past year, owing to the pandemic. But we have made efforts to do Zoom happy hours and the like.”
  • It’s telling that inside Cooley, the word “Cooley” is not only a proper name, it is also an adjective, as in ‘That’s so Cooley’ or ‘That’s not very Cooley.’ We all pretty much know what this means, although it can be a little hard to explain to outsiders. Depending on the context, it is probably some combination of friendly, generous, professional, inclusive or cutting-edge. To me, it is a sign that this firm is imbued with a very strong, positive culture and identity and that this culture helps the firm collectively be what it strives to be and self-correct when it falls short. Overall, this is one of the features that drew me to the firm in the first place, and that will continue to ensure its success in the long term.”

Why Work Here

Diversity at Cooley

"Cooley champions a diversity and inclusion strategy that is designed and implemented by a growing diversity & inclusion team and firm management, alongside key firm committees. Our three-pronged approach focuses on recruiting, retaining and promoting diverse talent across our firm. We engage and sustain these efforts through several innovative initiatives that drive career development, strengthen recruiting initiatives and promote acceptance and integration of diversity and inclusion as key priorities firmwide. From innovative..."

Getting Hired Here

  • The firm does have a hard grade cutoff and generally prefers candidates from top law schools. That being said, I didn't work on a journal or have a clerkship, and the firm is more interested in what kind of lawyer you are than in those sorts of hoop-jumping. … There has been more of a focus on diverse candidates, which has led to much more diverse and, frankly, better summer classes. In interviewing, Cooley uses behavioral interview questions to keep things as fair as possible.”
  • “[We] care a lot about personality fit; much less concerned with which law school you went to. …”
  • “The firm doesn't really discriminate [based on] credentials in a pretentious way, but is looking for competent people that want to do what's best for the team. There are guidelines regarding the types of questions that should be asked during interviews.”

Practice Area Q&A’s

Koji Fukumura & Jessica Valenzuela Santamaria

Partner & Partner

Rachel Proffitt & Danielle Gershowitz

Partner & Associate

Karen Deschaine & Kevin Milgram

Partner & Associate

Jon Avina & Giselle Rivers

Partner & Associate

Brooke Nussbaum & Matt Hallinan

Partner & Associate


Perks & Benefits