Michael Rhodes, Partner

Michael G. Rhodes is a litigation partner in the Cooley San Francisco and San Diego offices. Mr. Rhodes is Chair of the Firm's Privacy practice and has formerly served in numerous management roles for the firm over the past two decades, including as the Chair of the Firm's national Litigation Department and member of its Management Committee.

Michael Rhodes:
'The best in the business.'

The Legal 500 (2013)

Mr. Rhodes represents technology and Internet companies in matters involving patents, copyrights, trade secrets, and trademarks for clients such as eBay, Nintendo, Facebook, Google, NVIDIA, HortonWorks, Wikimedia Foundation, Mutual Pharmaceuticals, Shoe Dazzle and LinkedIn. He is co-chair of the Firm's Internet practice and speaks publicly on matters ranging from social media law to the Communications Decency Act Section 230 safe harbor for interactive web companies. E.g., Gentry v. eBay (2002) 99 Cal.App.4th 816.

Mr. Rhodes also has a leading privacy practice, currently handling multiple privacy class actions for Facebook, Google, Time, Conde' Nast, Soundbite, The Weather Channel, LinkedIn, Sony, Living Social, HTC, Provide Commerce, Clearspring and Medialets. He also has an extensive class action practice outside the privacy area, involving ecommerce, Internet advertising, copyrights, consumer rights, online payment processing, the California Auction Act, the California Credit Card Act and RICO.

Mr. Rhodes also represents venture capital funds in all manner of disputes and litigation, serving as the Chair of the Firm's Venture Capital Litigation practice group and frequently speaking at venture capital trade groups on litigation trends affecting the industry. 

The following are some of his recent matters:

  • IP Litigation: successfully tried Facebook's first jury trial, Leader v. Facebook (D. Del), receiving a jury verdict invalidating the patent-in-suit.
  • Investment Litigation: led the successful trial team on behalf of eBay in the eBay v. craigslist case in which Chancellor William B. Chandler, III of the Delaware Court of Chancery found that craigslist directors Jim Buckmaster and Craig Newmark "breached their fiduciary duties" to eBay by implementing provisions (including a poison pill) aimed at diluting eBay's stake to 24.9% from 28.4%, and hindering its ability to sell that stake to a third party (C.A. No. 3705-CC, September 9, 2010.).
  • Shareholder Litigation: represented eBay in an earlier Delaware Court of Chancery case involving corporate governance. In re eBay Inc. Shareholders Litigation, 2004 WL 253521 (Court of Chancery of Delaware 2004).
  • Privacy Litigation: lead counsel for Facebook in the Facebook-Beacon privacy class action settlement approved by the federal district court in Spring 2010, which drew extensive national media coverage.
  • Venture Capital Litigation: led a team which secured the dismissal of a suit against Softbank Asia Investment Funds for the alleged wrongful expulsion of one of its claimed partners.

From 2011-2013, Mr. Rhodes has been named to the list of the Top 100 Lawyers in California by The Daily JournalLaw360 named him an MVP in the "Privacy & Consumer Protection" category for three consecutive years, a feat achieved by only two other attorneys in the United States. In 2010, Mr. Rhodes was one of 16 lawyers named as an attorney of the year by The Recorder for high-profile achievements in court. In 2013, Chambers USA selected Mr. Rhodes for its exclusive rankings in the areas of intellectual property and business litigation law, highlighting his "renowned...privacy practice" and "notable [IP] litigation skills." He was also recognized individually, among others in Cooley's litigation department, in Benchmark Litigation Legal Guide as a Litigation Star, which noted that Cooley litigators "were incredibly strong and provided very insightful guidance." He was named a "Leading Trial Lawyer" by Legal 500 in its 2013 edition, recognizing him as a "highly experienced trial lawyer on major cases, both commercial and patent" and as an "exceptional strategist, who is very effective in the courtroom." In 2013, Mr. Rhodes was named an IP Star for his patent and trademark contentious work by Managing Intellectual Property magazine, as well as selected to the Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) Patent 1000 list published by IAM magazine, an honor that recognizes the best IP and licensing attorneys in the world. From 2007-2014, he has been named to the Best Lawyers in America in the categories of Technology Law and Derivative Litigation for Los Angeles and San Diego and named to the Southern California Super Lawyers list in the category of Business Litigation.

Mr. Rhodes has also been a member of Law360's Privacy & Consumer Protection editorial advisory board since 2013.


  • Loyola Law School
    JD, 1984, With honors
  • University of California, Los Angeles
    BA History, 1980

Court Admissions

  • All California State Courts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California

Bar Admissions

  • California


  • American Bar Association
  • San Diego County Bar Association

Professional Affiliations

  • Board of Editors of "The Internet Newsletter"

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