Press Release

New Leadership for Cooley Life Sciences

Longtime head Barbara Kosacz retires from partnership, remains senior counsel
July 17, 2020

Palo Alto – July 17, 2020 – After 28 years of practicing law with Cooley, Barbara Kosacz is retiring from the partnership to become chief operating officer and general counsel at a life sciences company client. She will remain as senior counsel with Cooley. With the retirement of Kosacz, Kay Chandler assumes the new role as chair of the global life sciences industry practice, with Christian Plaza serving as vice chair. Marya Postner will lead the firm’s life sciences partnering practice.

Cooley’s preeminence in life sciences goes back decades, beginning in the 1980s when the firm took public both Genentech and Amgen. Today, the firm represents more than 1,600 public and private life sciences clients worldwide, including counseling more than 50% of the companies on the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index. With offices in each of the most important industry hubs, Cooley’s deep bench works with executives across the company life cycle – from initial formation and funding to accessing capital markets, product development and commercialization, and protection and enforcement of their intellectual property. Cooley’s lawyers work seamlessly across disciplines to help clients achieve their business objectives.

During her tenure, Kosacz has overseen a remarkable chapter in the history of Cooley’s life sciences practice, which has grown to encompass a global interdisciplinary team of lawyers across emerging and public company representation, capital markets, strategic partnering, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property and litigation. The firm’s life sciences partnering group of more than 30 lawyers is regularly recognized by leading authorities, with Chambers USA ranking Cooley as Band 1 for life sciences, LMG Life Sciences naming the firm 2019 Licensing & Collaboration Firm of the Year and Best Lawyers repeatedly recognizing Cooley as Biotechnology Law Firm of the Year.

Kosacz is universally acknowledged as one of the top life sciences lawyers in the US. She has racked up an array of awards and accomplishments, including recognition as a leading lawyer for healthcare and life sciences by Legal 500, as a Band 1 lawyer by Chambers USA and as a highly recommended transactions lawyer by IAM Patent 1000 for “advising diverse companies in the industry at a deeply strategic and commercial level and overseeing their most complex and profitable deals.” Kosacz is a thought leader in the industry, and she has the distinction of serving as a member of the BIO Emerging Companies' Section Governing Board and as a guest lecturer at Berkeley Law and Stanford Law School.

We are so very proud of all that Barbara has accomplished in her career at Cooley, and I am personally grateful to have called her my partner and friend for so many years,” said Joe Conroy, Cooley’s chairman and chief executive officer. “I have no doubt that Barbara’s success will continue as she embarks on this next chapter.”

Chandler, a partner who has devoted more than 30 years to representing the firm’s life sciences clients, will assume the role of chair of the firmwide life sciences practice, and Plaza, a partner who has dedicated more than 25 years to representing leading life sciences clients in corporate and securities matters, will serve as vice chair. Postner, a Palo Alto-based partner focused on life sciences strategic alliance transactions, will lead the firm’s life sciences partnering practice.

We are fortunate to have a deep bench of senior leadership and rising stars in our life sciences practice,” said Conroy. “We cannot wait to see what new heights the practice will achieve with the leadership of Kay, Christian and Marya. Having worked for decades with Kay, Christian and Marya and the rest of our life sciences team, I know our clients are in great hands as the firm continues to provide unparalleled advice and counsel on both business and strategic matters.”

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