Cooley closes in on UK launch as it circles Edwards Wildman’s City base

Facebook adviser Cooley is believed to be in talks with a number of Edwards Wildman’s London partners in preparation for a City launch. 

It is understood that a group of Edwards Wildman partners are talking to Cooley about the launch of a London office, after the Silicon Valley firm hired a specialist consultant to find it a potential suitor in the UK.

In February this year Cooley CEO Joe Conroy told The Lawyer that he would be looking for a team of “20-30 lawyers” if a UK launch went ahead (11 February 2014). He also said Cooley’s plans to launch a London base had “ratcheted up” the firm’s agenda this year, partly because the quality of opportunities had improved for the firm. 

“Seven years ago or so no-one knew who Cooley was in London, we’ve really raised the visibility of the firm,” he said. 

Edwards Wildman is just one of a number of potential suitors thought to be getting close to Cooley, which is understood to have been circling the market for a number of months. 

Sources suggested that lawyers were looking to leave Edwards Wildman because of growing tensions between legacy Kendall Freeman partners and those at legacy Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge (30 October 2007).

Yesterday The Lawyer reported that a group of Edwards Wildman partners had allegedly threatened to walk out in a row over pay (19 June 2014). The firm, which has 25 partners based in London, has dismissed allegations that it is looking to offload its London base.

Earlier this week a spokesperson for Edwards Wildman said it was “completely false” that teams were looking to decamp for another firm or that the firm was trying to sell its London office. 

Cooley is best known for venture capital, technology and emerging company work, with its 2013 revenue split 50:50 between business services advice and litigation. In corporate the firm advised on 58 completed equity public offerings in 2013, raising more than $8.3bn.

While its best known clients include Facebook and Linkedin, Edwards Wildman’s IP team in London has worked for clients such as Apple, Amazon, Master Card and Elizabeth Arden.

Neither Edwards Wildman or Cooley commented.