Legal Business Blogs

Cooley’s City base passes $70m revenue mark as global growth slows

Cooley’s London outpost has outpaced the West Coast firm’s global revenue growth for the third consecutive year, rising 9% to $72.9m five years after its launch.

The results disclosed today (13 February) show a global revenue increase of 8% to $1.33bn while profits per equity partner (PEP) rose 6% to $2.54m in 2019.

The pace of growth slowed somewhat on last year, when both global and City turnover were up by double digit figures, 16% to $66.7m and 14% to $1.23bn respectively. Revenue per lawyer at the 1,000-strong firm grew by just 2% in 2019 to $1.32m compared to an 8% rise in 2018.

But overall the results signal another solid year for the Palo Alto-bred firm, fuelled by an ever busy Silicon Valley tech scene and faster-than-usual international expansion, with new offices launched in Brussels and Hong Kong in 2019, followed by Singapore this year. Cooley has grown its global turnover 157% since 2010.

‘It was another very successful year, notwithstanding the uncertainty over Brexit and so forth,’ London managing partner Justin Stock told Legal Business. ‘Our London revenue continued upwards without much growth in partner numbers and that’s a great result.’

The firm’s City base now counts around 100 lawyers including 30 partners. It is about to move into new premises at 22 Bishopsgate with room for more than 150 lawyers. Recent hires included capital markets partners Claire Keast-Butler and David Boles from US rival Latham & Watkins.

‘There is still definitely room for growth,’ added Stock, conceding that the process took longer than expected: ‘I would have loved to be closer to 150 lawyers by now, but we are not going to hire just for the sake of hiring, we have to make sure we get the right people. But the plans is still to grow materially over the next few years.’

UK deals included advising biotech company Therachon on its $810m sale to Pfizer and manufacturer Bavarian Nordic on its €955m acquisition of manufacturing rights for two vaccines from GlaxoSmithKline.

‘We started to see in addition to the capital markets work, significant high profile deals in life sciences,’ said Stock. ‘The emerging companies group is on fire and is one of the key players in the UK venture capital market.’

Cooley was also active on the City contentious side, advising Allergy Therapeutics on a breach of contract claim against Canadian company Inflamax, and biopharma company IQVIA in a dispute with Swiss pharma company Cardiorentis.

In other financial results announced this week, revenue at the London base of US disputes heavyweight Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan rose 20% to £100.6m, while King & Spalding increased its UK turnover 15% to $55.7m. Wall Street firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, however, saw its London revenue drop for the second year in a row, falling 4% to $41.3 in 2019.