Cooley Godward tests water for international expansion

A London office could be on the agenda for Silicon Valley firm Cooley God-ward

A team of partners is investigating what the firm's international strategy should be and whether an overseas presence is required.
Chairman Steve Neal said in an email to the firm: “If that effort leads to a decision that we should be overseas, then the management committee and the partnership will have to consider whether we should try and build an overseas presence organically, following the model we have used for domestic expansion, or through a combination with another firm.”
Chief operating officer Mark Pitchford said that decisions were not likely to be made quickly, but the firm had to identify its options.
He added: “We've reached a point where we have to ask 'What is the next step for a firm like ours?' We're trying to assess the international needs of our clients and what we have to do to meet those needs.”
Neal said that it was essential to ask whether firms with international cross-border capabilities will have a competitive edge.
London has often been the first port of call for US firms seeking to branch out internationally. Pitchford said: “It is one of the markets that we have to analyse.”
Bird & Bird has previously been mooted as a potential merger partner for Cooley Godward and the firms have a referral arrangement.
Cooley Godward has been hit by the slump in corporate activity within its core technology sector. Last year, despite a 3 per cent rise in turnover, profits per partner tumbled 21 per cent to $715,000 (£502,000). Pitchford denied that the firm had been forced to address the issue of international capability.
Pitchford said: “Whatever we decide will in no way be an escape route.”