John Hession, Of Counsel

John Hession is Of Counsel in the Venture Capital Financings and Emerging Companies practice groups and a member of the Cooley Business department. He joined the Firm in 2007 and helped open Cooley's Boston office.  

Mr. Hession represents emerging-growth companies, principally in the medical device, life sciences, software and digital media fields, as well as angels and venture capital funds in the investment process in these areas. His practice includes both start-up and later-stage company work; equity-based compensation strategies; public offerings, representing either underwriters or companies; mergers and acquisitions, representing either buyers or sellers; corporate partnering, joint ventures and other strategic alliances involving technology transfers; license and distribution arrangements for medical devices and biotechnology, software and hardware companies; and venture capital or angel financings of technology companies, representing either investors or companies.

Mr. Hession lectures frequently on corporate partnerships, technology licensing and venture capital financings, at both national and local forums. He has authored or co-authored numerous books, articles and trade group presentations on venture capital financings, strategic alliances and technology licensing, including chapters from published books or industry conferences "Venture Capital Financings," "Website Development and Hosting Contracts," "Structuring and On Negotiating Strategic Alliances," "Internet and e-Commerce Law," and "A Technology Licensing Primer." He also has been an adjunct professor at Boston College Law School, where he taught a course for several years entitled "Venture Capital Fund Formations and Investments," and also served as an adjunct professor for several years at Boston University Law School, where he taught courses on intellectual property licensing, legal aspects of electronic commerce, and general technology licensing.

In 2001, Mr. Hession was named by Digital Industry as "one of Boston's best VC lawyers," and by Boston Magazine in 2002, as "one of Boston's best start-up company lawyers." He was nominated in the 2004 through 2009 issues of Boston Magazine as "one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Massachusetts." In addition, Mr. Hession was named as one of The Lawdragon 500 Leading Dealmakers for 2007. In 2005 through 2011 he was also acclaimed by Chambers and Partners as one of the distinguished members in his field of venture capital and private equity. Mr. Hession has also been recognized as one of the leading venture capital lawyers in the United States by the peer review and legal directory, The Best Lawyers in America, and has also been named to the Super Lawyers list. Most recently, Mr. Hession was recognized as an "IP Star" by Managing Intellectual Property magazine in 2013 and 2014.

Mr. Hession began his legal career at Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault LLP, where he practiced for twenty-plus years as one of Testa's lead attorneys representing venture-backed technology companies in all stages of financing, from start-up to later stage. At Testa, he structured and negotiated two of the top four acquisitions in the firm's history (Silknet Software, $4 billion, and Excel Switching, $1.2 billion.) In prior life incarnations, Mr. Hession was a sales representative with Burroughs Corporation, a Fortune 500 manufacturer of computer hardware, where he achieved Burroughs' "Legion of Honor" award for one of its top-performing sales representatives for several years; a high school English teacher; and a carpenter in Ireland.

Mr. Hession received his law degree, cum laude, from Boston College Law School, and graduated with his B.A., summa cum laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Notre Dame.


  • Boston College Law School
    JD, 1982, cum laude
  • University of Notre Dame
    BA, 1973, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

  • Massachusetts

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