Cooley, Palo Alto California

Unicorns? Cooley represents plenty of them. This past year Cooley represented software company C3 IoT on its Series E financing, raised at a $1.4 billion valuation; Quanergy Systems Inc. on its $90 million Series B, which valued the company at more than $1 billion; and Intarcia Therapeutics Inc. in its Series EE closings at a $3.5 billion valuation. Cooley’s Matthew Bartus and Patrick Mitchell, co-chairs of the firm’s emerging companies practice, responded to The Recorder’s question about what keeps a stream of up-and-coming Silicon Valley companies turning to the firm.

What do each of these engagements you’re being recognized for demonstrate about Cooley’s ability to work with emerging companies? We’ve worked with each company—C3 IoT, Quanergy Systems and Intarcia Therapeutics—from the beginning. Cooley’s ability to scale strong cross-practice teams to mirror company growth provides a great asset as we help companies navigate industry hurdles. Each client has unique needs, and we adapt our cross-practice teams to best assist in their journey.

What would you say are the traits of deal lawyers and the department overall that keep emerging company clients coming back to Cooley? How do you keep yourself start-up friendly as the firm grows nationally and internationally? The emerging companies ecosystem is the backbone of Cooley. In 1958, we formed the first VC limited partnership in the western United States—Draper, Gaither and Anderson—so it has been an essential part of our identity for generations, and we are extremely connected to the pulse of the community. In addition to our networking, we place a lot of our focus on tech-enabled services, such as Cooley GO, our free online resource platform and document generator for entrepreneurs and investors at tech companies at all stages of the growth cycle.

A prospective emerging company client with an urgent matter calls and asks why your team should be retained to handle it. What is your answer? We know the space better than any other firm, and we are the best equipped to handle the issues that arise as companies scale. An early-stage company might not need, say, a securities litigation person now, but we can easily integrate such specialists as needs change. A unique part of Cooley’s platform is that there are no origination credits, which helps to break down barriers in terms of access to the top lawyers in different practices.

What is the firm doing to train the next generation of emerging company lawyers in its ranks? Cooley is focused on next generation leadership. Senior associates are highly involved in matters, which saves money, increases efficiency and allows them the opportunity to further their own professional development. The firm also places a lot of emphasis on increasing diversity in law – both to build a workforce that is more diverse in opinions and perspectives, and so our ranks better match those of the groundbreaking companies we represent.

How do you balance the need to cross every “T” and dot every “I” in a particular deal with demands to be efficient with client resources? Our client base demands efficiency. Based on our long experience in the emerging companies ecosystem, we know precisely when to go fast and when to go slow. Regardless of the situation, our commitment to excellence and accuracy does not waiver. Cooley GO also provides a breadth of free legal and business content to assist the tech community, and it is regularly updated with new topics, content and features.

How are your emerging company teams using technology to work more efficiently? We don’t waste time reinventing the wheel. For example, in early September, we released a new incorporation package for Delaware public benefit corporations on Cooley GO. And in June we released a package of customizable Series Seed Note and Series Seed Equity documents on both Cooley GO and under open source license on GitHub. Setting up this kind of tech-enabled document generation allows both our internal teams to be more efficient and also helps entrepreneurs overcome financial barriers and more quickly get their ideas to the marketplace. We also have a dedicated practice innovation team who are tasked with expanding our technology services, including on Cooley GO, and generally finding new ways to enable success at all levels of company growth.