The go-to firm for startups and early-stage companies, Cooley is ideal for those seeking cutting-edge work with innovative clients. The firm is also known for its work with life science and technology companies. Cooley has a highly social culture in 17 worldwide offices that will no doubt appeal to affable personalities, and boasts a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Firm Stats


Total No. Attorneys (2022)

1.5K - 2K


No. of Partners Named (2022)



Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100


No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2021)



No. of Summer Associates (2022)

176 total (149 2Ls; 23 1Ls; 4 SEOs)


Base Salary

1st year: $215,000

Vault Verdict

Cooley celebrated its centennial anniversary recently, yet has the feel of a trendy and modern law firm—due largely to its work in the fields of startup companies, technology, and life sciences. It’s an attractive landing-spot for new associates, most of whom come from elite law schools and perform well academically. Clerkships, prior experience, personality, and cultural fit are primary hiring considerations, too. Cooley is looking for associates who are team players and who mesh well with the firm’s laidback and collaborative environment. This ethos is reflected in the integration of lateral hires, though COVID has stymied these efforts somewhat. Partners treat associates as equals and care about their well-being and professional development. Beyond “Cooley College”—a structured...

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 and Anderson, the We...

Associate Reviews


  • “Attorneys at Cooley (partners and associates alike) take their work seriously, but do not take themselves too seriously. Folks here are smart, but not pretentious; driven, but not cutthroat; and sociable, but not fratty.”
  • “Cooley has an extremely collegial and friendly work atmosphere. The workplace is very diverse and people from very different backgrounds seem to get along splendidly. There are various levels of social involvement without any social pressure to conform or participate in any activities. The firm is very egalitarian; staff and lawyers are treated equally respectfully, and respectful behavior is expected from all.”
  • “After having worked at other top BigLaw firms, I can say Cooley is genuinely different when it comes to how they treat their employees. Collegiality and kindness isn't just encouraged, it is a baseline expectation when conducting yourself at the firm.”

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 is very competitive with most graduates coming from top tier law schools, graduating top of their class. The firm also values clerkship experience, as well as prior work experience for those who come in laterally. Diversity is very important to the firm.”
  • “We look for strong candidates with exceptional academic performance in law school, but the key for us is personality—does the candidate have that special something that makes them excellent team members and contributors to our firm culture.”
  • “Academic performance, fit (talk about something interesting outside work), communication skills, work ethic, professionalism, leadership, initiative.”