Press Release

Cooley Announces Rachel Proffitt to Succeed Joe Conroy as Firm’s Next CEO

September 18, 2023

Palo Alto – September 18, 2023 – Cooley announced today that Rachel Proffitt has been selected as the firm’s next chief executive officer, effective January 1, 2024. She will succeed Joe Conroy who has held the position since January 1, 2008. Conroy will continue in his role as chairman.

Proffitt currently heads Cooley’s San Francisco corporate practice and serves on the firm's board of directors. She also co-chairs the firm’s legal education committee and has served as a member of the firm’s strategic committee and board nominating committee. Proffitt has a robust corporate and securities law practice and is a trusted strategic advisor to public and private companies, as well as venture capital and investment banking firms and other institutional investors, across a broad range of industries. She will be Cooley’s first-ever woman CEO.

“Rachel is a widely respected and compassionate leader and the ideal person to carry forward our vision of becoming one of the great law firms of the next generation,” said Conroy. “Above all else, she personifies our core values and is a standard bearer for Cooley’s unique and special culture. Her incredible energy, strategic thinking and deep understanding of our global practices and approach to serving clients make Rachel an outstanding selection.”

The CEO succession process began in fall 2022 and included extensive consultation with and input from Cooley’s global partnership. Proffitt’s primary areas of focus will include continued elevation of the firm’s powerful brand, shaping and executing the firm’s strategic priorities, managing day to day operations, continuing to enhance the firm’s internal infrastructure and support its commitment to innovation, and reinforcing and strengthening the firm’s unique culture.

Proffitt commented: “I am incredibly honored and excited to be Cooley’s next CEO. Through Joe’s extraordinary leadership, we have become the go-to law firm for companies that are defining the future of the modern economy. Our success is attributable first and foremost to a culture of inclusivity that genuinely promotes a one-firm, team-centered approach, and an entrepreneurial spirit that reflects our innovative and forward-thinking clients. I am extremely optimistic about our future as we remain committed to our core strategy and to building a community of exceptional professionals who share our vision and embrace our values.”

Since 2008, Cooley has experienced significant expansion and grown from its roots as a west coast Silicon Valley-focused firm to becoming the dominant global law firm supporting high-growth companies and their investors at the intersection of innovation and disruption at every stage of the corporate lifecycle. During Conroy’s tenure as CEO, the firm has more than doubled in headcount with gross revenues growing from just under $500 million to over $2 billion and has firmly established a truly elite and distinctive brand. This growth was achieved with an unyielding focus on nurturing a fully inclusive and unique culture that would attract and retain the best and most diverse talent at all levels.

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

Cooley has nearly 1,400 lawyers across 18 offices in the United States, Asia and Europe, and a total workforce of more than 3,000.

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