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‘Growth in the offing’: Cooley’s City turnover hit by IP team exit as PEP tops $3m 

Cooley’s London office has suffered a 4% revenue drop following the loss of its intellectual property team amid a striking 25% surge in PEP to $3.2m and strong financials globally.

The results revealed London turnover fell to $70.3m from $72.9m in 2019 – a reversal after a 9% increase last year marked a third consecutive year of revenue growth

In contrast, firmwide figures were more heartening, with the Palo Alto-bred firm recording a 17% global revenue uptick to $1.55bn from $1.33bn in 2019 and a 10% hike in revenue per lawyer (RPL) to $1.5m from $1.32m last year.

Justin Stock (pictured), managing partner of the now six year-old London office, attributed the City revenue dip largely to the departure last year of a London IP team led by its head of international trade mark, copyright and advertising group, Nick Bolter, to Morgan Lewis.

Speaking to Legal Business, Stock is nevertheless bullish about the firm’s position in London. ‘What has been exciting recently has been our capital markets and emerging companies and venture capital (ECVC) practices. Emerging companies is a big part of the history of the firm. We came to London six years ago from a standing start and that part of the business has really come into its own. We are leading in that space on bigger, fast-growing companies.’

Recent standout venture capital matters Include advising Snyk on its series D financing round, which valued the company at a $2.5bn pre-money, and General Catalyst Venture Partners as a lead investor in Cazoo’s £240m equity funding round, valuing the company at £2bn.

Cooley was also one of four law firms advising the government on the Future Fund as part of the coronavirus pandemic. Life sciences has also been busy, with the firm advising, among others, Silence Therapeutics on a strategic collaboration with AstraZeneca to discover, develop and commercialise small interfering RNA therapeutics for the treatment of cardiovascular, renal, metabolic and respiratory diseases.

Pandemic-related mandates included acting for UNION Therapeutics on an option and licence agreement with TFF Pharmaceuticals to acquire an option to obtain a worldwide exclusive licence for the use of their thin film freezing (TFF) technology in combination with niclosamide to focus on treatments for Covid-19.

Stock pointed to an uptick in foreign private issuer work acting for foreign companies wanting to list in the US, as well as the recent hire of Guadalupe Sampedro as a data protection partner from Bird & Bird, as being particular highlights. ‘In a firm like ours it makes sense to have data protection capabilities. We have a fantastic team in the US and data privacy will very much be the flavour, not just of the month, but of the next several years,’ said Stock.

He signalled a clear wish to build out the London office, especially on the transactional side. ‘We are crazy busy, unbelievably so, and as a result we are doing a strong hiring push, not only associates but laterals. In M&A, litigation, ECM and ECVC, everyone has been flat out and the pipeline shows no signs of abating.’

Pandemic notwithstanding, Stock ended on an optimistic note: ‘We are due to move into our new offices after Easter. The new offices are significant bigger than our current ones and, obviously allowing for flexible working, we intend to fill them. There is a huge amount of growth in the offing.’