In a significant acquisition of corporate tech attorneys, Cooley has hired four partners in New York and Washington, D.C., from rival Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Cooley also has plans to hire up to 20 more lawyers to support their business, which could generate millions for the firm.
Joining Cooley this week are partners Adam Dinow, Sacha Ross and Robert Sanchez, longtime attorneys at Wilson Sonsini. The firm also added as a partner Daniel Peale, who left Wilson Sonsini in 2015 for research and advisory company Gartner Inc., where he was most recently general counsel.
Altogether, the group could bring $20 million to $25 million in business for Cooley, which had revenue per lawyer surpassing $1.1 million last year.
The group’s work includes representing technology clients at all stages of development. They handle seed, angel and venture capital financing, IPOs and mergers and acquisitions, complex securities matters, public offerings and corporate governance issues.
Cooley CEO Joe Conroy said the partners have “portable practices” with clients that will likely move with them. He declined to name specific clients.
Cooley is in the process of interviewing associates to support the partners, including some attorneys who previously worked with the partners and some who did not, Conroy said.
“These four partners have really robust practices that are currently being serviced by groups of associates,” Conroy said. “I wouldn’t be surprised, when the dust settles, that this ends up being a 25-lawyer group, split between Washington and New York.”
“This move represents a pretty significant acquisition of talent,” he said. “They are directly in our space, our core practices and core markets. It’s a remarkably powerful addition.”
The partners are veterans of Wilson Sonsini. Dinow, who represents tech clients in all stages of development, joined his prior firm in 2001. Ross, who advises tech companies and their investors, joined Wilson Sonsini in Silicon Valley in 1999 before coming to New York in 2007.
Sanchez, a Washington, D.C., attorney who focuses on M&A, public and private financing work for issuers, investors and underwriters, had been at his prior firm for 24 years. Peale, also in Washington, had been at Wilson Sonsini between 2001 and 2015, before joining Gartner.
The group acquisition did not come easy. Cooley was in touch with some of the partners for years, Conroy said.
A Wilson Sonsini spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday about the firm’s departures.
The moves are just the latest sign of the ever-increasing competition in New York for partners with expertise in representing clients, investors and banks in development, financing and M&A deals involving technology companies or new tech platforms.
Cooley just added from Greenberg Traurig Meredith Beuchaw, who focuses on technology acquisitions.
Meanwhile, Fenwick & West, which opened up a New York office in 2016, hired transactional partner Ethan Skerry from Lowenstein Sandler earlier this year. Goodwin Procter hired as a partner Salil Gandhi, formerly of counsel at Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian.
In January, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr hired David Haber, also from Lowenstein, to advise companies and investors through transactions.
Describing the New York scene, Conroy said in the last decade there have been growing opportunities for venture capitalists and private equity in tech deals, and a “more receptive community for entrepreneurship.”
It’s not yet Silicon Valley, he said, “but it’s not that far off.”
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