(Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi)

Ray LaSoya, chair of the private equity practice at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, has joined Cooley as an M&A partner in Los Angeles.

LaSoya, who came to Stroock in 2011 after co-chairing the private equity group at Hughes Hubbard & Reed, said he has known and worked on deals with various Cooley lawyers, including M&A co-chair Barbara Borden, for about 15 years.

Last year when Cooley made three notable lateral additions—partners Stephen Rosen in London, Ronald Hopkinson in New York and Eric Schwartzman in Palo Alto, California—it signaled to LaSoya that the firm was committed to building out its private equity practice.

“I think one of the things that’s exciting is that the private equity investors have started to focus a lot more on technology,” LaSoya said Monday. “Being at a firm like Cooley that’s got a strong tech and life sciences practice creates a lot of opportunities.”

C. Thomas Hopkins, head of Cooley’s Los Angeles office, where a founding partner left the firm almost a year ago, called LaSoya “a superb practitioner” in a prepared statement.

“Ray has the technical capabilities, client base, professional relationships and personality to help Cooley expand its M&A and private equity practices on the West Coast and more broadly,” Hopkins said.

Cooley saw its gross revenue and profits per partner tick up in 2016 despite a challenging economic climate. A team from the firm is currently advising Snap Inc., the parent company of photo-sharing and ephemeral messaging service Snapchat, on a planned $3 billion initial public offering. (A recent securities filing by Snap states that the company expects to incur $1.8 million in legal fees and expenses as a result of its IPO.) Cooley CEO Joseph Conroy said earlier this month that the firm would continue to expand in California in 2017.

Cooley lawyers advised on more than 200 M&A deals in 2016, including the $14 billion sale of San Francisco-based biopharmaceutical company Medivation to Pfizer Inc., the largest corporate transaction in Cooley’s history.

The firm did see complex commercial and IP litigation partner Timothy Teter in Palo Alto leave in January after he was named general counsel at computer graphics technology company Nvidia Corp., as noted by sibling publication Corporate Counsel. Jason Koral, another IP litigation partner in New York, recently left Cooley to start his own firm.