After 12 years at a tech-focused venture capital fund in the Valley, James Strawbridge is returning to Big Law.

Strawbridge, who was general partner and chief operating officer at Worldview Technology Partners since 2001, joined Cooley’s Palo Alto office as a partner in the business and finance practice group on Monday. Earlier in his career, as a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, he helped put together transactions for clients such as Netscape Communications Corp., Pixar Animation Studios Inc., NetGravity Inc., Xilinx Inc. and NeXT Software Inc.

Strawbridge said he was recruited to Cooley by his old friend Mark Weeks, who joined Wilson Sonsini the same day he did in 1987 and now chairs Cooley’s medical device practice from the firm’s Palo Alto office.

“I’ve been following Cooley’s success through Mark for years,” Strawbridge said. “The siren call was too tough to resist.”

Worldview’s CEO recently opted against raising another fund, which Strawbridge acknowledged was a factor in his decision. Strawbridge said he “kept his legal tool set pretty sharp” as COO of Worldview, serving as general counsel to the management company and supporting the portfolio companies in their legal needs. Additionally, he said he has seen upward of 100 pitches from young companies seeking funding. “Clients don’t necessarily come to us for that kind of thing, but I’ll be able to provide my perspective when it’s relevant,” he said.

Frederick Muto, the San Diego-based chairman of Cooley’s business department, said he and others at Cooley had worked opposite Strawbridge on deals when he was at Wilson Sonsini.

“It’s not easy to find a highly skilled lawyer who has 25 years of deal-making experience in the Valley,” Muto said. “I’ve been at the firm 33 years, and this is one of our busiest times I’ve ever seen. As great of a year last year was, we’ve already seen 32 offerings year to date.”

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