Cooley Godward secures merger with Kronish Lieb

Silicon Valley-based firm Cooley Godward has ended its long-running search for a merger partner, announcing a tie-up with New York litigation boutique Kronish Lieb Weiner & Hellman.

The merger, which will be effective from 1 October, will to create a 550-lawyers national US firm to be known as Cooley Godward Kronish.

Cooley Godward, which is traditionally a technology and biotechnology-based firm boasting 440-lawyers, has made no secret of its merger ambitions in an effort to reposition itself as a national, full-service firm.

But 110-lawyer Kronish Lieb is a surprise partner, as it has long been regarded as one of New York’s most fiercely independent firms.

Cooley Godward chairman and chief executive officer Stephen Neal will become chairman of the combined firm. Kronish Lieb managing partner Alan Levine will head the New York office and serve on a newly created executive committee.

Cooley Godward reported gross revenues of $298m in 2005. Its client base includes Gilead Sciences and eBay.

Kronish Lieb, meanwhile, is best known for its bankruptcy practice, having represented Enron’s employees in the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

It also boasts a reputable financial institutions litigation practice having represented clients including Goldman Sachs and Sumitomo Corp.