Press Release

Financial Times Recognizes Cooley's Impact on Innovation

December 8, 2015
  • Cooley Ranks #4 Most Innovative Law Firm Overall
  • Michelle Rhyu Named one of the "Most Innovative Lawyers in America"

New York  December 9, 2015 – From the frontier of drone regulations to the complexities of national security, Cooley provides innovative legal solutions to new and complicated problems that will have a lasting impact. In its annual report of the most "innovative lawyers" in the United States, the Financial Times recognizes the firm's breakthrough work.

Cooley ranked #4 most innovative law firm in the ‘FT Top 10;' ranked #3 and was signaled out as a ‘standout' firm for its work for MissionLink; ranked #4 in the ‘Expanding Clients Business' category for its regulatory work for companies in the drone space; and ranked #4 and #5 in the ‘Protecting Clients Business' category for litigating on behalf of clients Gilead and Kinder Morgan. Rounding out the awards, IP litigation partner Michelle Rhyu was named one of the "Top 10 Most Innovative Lawyers in America," in which she was commended for using her "science background to good effect as a litigator of high-stakes disputes in the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology industries." The FT calls Rhyu "the epitome of the 21st-century lawyer."

"Supporting our clients as they innovate and change the world is core to what drives everyone at Cooley," said Joe Conroy, Cooley's CEO. "To be consistently recognized by the Financial Times for our work in supporting some of the world's most innovative companies is a great honor and a credit to the grit and creativity of so many Cooley lawyers."

Cooley's litigators have a track record of partnering with some of the most innovative companies in the world. In what has been heralded as an "industry-defining" arbitration victory, Cooley worked with Gilead Sciences to defeat a challenge by F. Hoffmann-La Roche over the rights to Sovaldi, a multi-billion dollar drug that cures more than 90% of patients with the most common forms of hepatitis C. The revolutionary drug earned nearly $6 billion in sales in its first six months – making it one of the most successful drug launches in history. On the day of the arbitration win, Gilead's market value increased by $4 billion.

Kinder Morgan
Cooley's litigation momentum has also impacted the railroad industry. Last year an appellate court issued a unanimous opinion reversing a $100 million judgment against Cooley client Kinder Morgan. Union Pacific Railroad claimed Kinder Morgan owed the sum for back rent and interest for pipelines running underneath its right-of-way. The decision, which is now final, is likely to substantially impact railroads and other industries as it calls into question the practice of charging rents for easements on century-old rights-of-way. The FT, which ‘highly commended' Cooley for its work on behalf of Kinder Morgan noted: "the firm refocused a lengthy litigation from the amount of rent owed to the underlying right to collect that rent."

Cooley received particular attention for helping its clients secure the first FAA drone exemptions, which paved the way for the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles in the US. The Cooley-developed legal template has been followed and used by other firms and companies in securing additional exemptions. The firm's success in the industry can be measured by the multiplicity of applicants that relied on its groundbreaking work to secure their own grants, which now exceeds 1,300. As the nascent industry accelerates, Cooley is working with manufacturers, operators and investors on the regulatory, transactional, privacy and the many other issues the industry faces.

On the corporate side, the FT recognized Cooley's work with MissionLink, a nonprofit trade association co-founded by Reston, Virginia-based Cooley partner Andrew Lustig, which connects innovative companies with national defense leaders. In 2010, as US defense spending slowed, getting in front of key government officials became an ongoing challenge for smaller companies. MissionLink solved this problem by providing an environment where relationships can begin or grow stronger with little-to-no publicity. More than 270 companies have participated. Upon entering the program, approximately 50% of the companies have an existing federal presence. By the time they complete the program, 90% of participants have a federal footprint.

In October, Cooley was also recognized in the Financial Times' Innovative Lawyers report for Europe. The firm was listed as one of just ten "standout" firms for dispute resolution and was commended for its overnight expansion in London. Cooley opened its London office in January 2015 with 20 partners and more than 55 lawyers and other professionals. From the outset, the office has offered depth and recognized practitioners across key areas, including corporate/M&A, complex litigation, venture capital, technology transactions, IP, tax, competition and privacy. Since launch, Cooley has grown in corporate, tax, life sciences, patent prosecution, compensation and benefits, and emerging companies. The firm also recently launched the UK version of Cooley GO, the award-winning online resource for the startup and investor communities.

About Cooley LLP

Clients partner with Cooley on transformative deals, complex IP and regulatory matters, and high-stakes litigation, where innovation meets the law.

Cooley has 850 lawyers across 12 offices in the United States, China and Europe.

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