Cooley opens up shop in LA with hires from Gibson Dunn, DLA Piper

Cooley has opened an office in Los Angeles with the hire of media, technology and entertainment partners from DLA Piper and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher as well as entertainment firm Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein & Kohner.

David Hernand, a former Latham & Watkins partner and co-chair of Gibson Dunn’s media, entertainment and technology group, will serve as partner-in-charge of the new office, based in Santa Monica, California, with immediate effect. He will work alongside the office’s business and technology head David Young, who was former chair of DLA Piper’s corporate and finance group in Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix.

Corporate partner Christopher Shoff also joins from DLA Piper, along with entertainment specialist Jennifer Massey from Hollywood firm Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein & Kohner.

A source at the firm said the office was “actively” looking for new partners, with a new wave of hires expected in due course. A press release from Cooley confirms that the firm is planning to grow the office “aggressively” to provide for clients ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies.

Los Angeles is fast emerging as a technology hotbed, with reports saying that entrepreneurs in LA have attracted $567m in venture capital in the first quarter of 2012. For this reason, a number of Silicon Valley firms are said to be eyeing up the area for a second home.

“Firms are definitely looking around,” said one source in the area. “It’s rumoured that one [unknown] Silicon Valley firm is opening here in January.”

However Cooley, which already has three offices in California, is understood to be the first major Silicon Valley firm to open in LA, a region in which the firm claims to have more than 200 client relationships.

“Launching in Los Angeles marks a transformative moment for the firm,” said Cooley CEO Joe Conroy in a statement. “It’s the country’s hub of creativity and the home to the convergence of technology and content.”

A firm spokesperson added: “The ‘theme’ is to be at the heart of this convergence of tech and content. LA being all about film/celebs, Silicon Valley all about innovation/digital media/tech.”