Michael Rhodes, Partner

Michael G. Rhodes is a litigation partner in the Cooley San Francisco and San Diego offices. Mr. Rhodes is co-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 Facebook, Google, eBay, Nintendo, NVIDIA, ServiceNow 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.

Mr. Rhodes also has a leading privacy practice, having handled multiple privacy class actions for Facebook, Google, Time, Conde' Nast, The Weather Channel, LinkedIn, Sony, HTC and Provide Commerce. 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, who served as chair of the firm's Venture Capital Litigation practice group for a number of years, also represents venture capital funds in all manner of disputes and litigation and frequently speaks at venture capital trade groups on litigation trends affecting the industry. 

The following are some of his recent matters:

  • IP Litigation: successfully tried both of Facebook's jury trials, receiving verdicts in both trials that invalidated all patents-in suit. Rembrandt Social Media v. Facebook (E.D. Va.) and Leader v. Facebook (D. Del)
  • Privacy Litigation: served as lead counsel for Facebook in the Beacon and Fraley privacy class action litigations, including negotiating and finalizing both settlements which drew extensive national media coverage. Successfully argued motions to oppose class certification on behalf of Google in the Gmail, Diamond, Marquis, and AdWords litigations, defeating class certification in all four cases. Won a case of first impression before the Ninth Circuit for Sony that established there is no private right of action for retaining PII under VPPA.
  • 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.
  • Investment Litigation: led the successful trial team on behalf of eBay in eBay v. craigslist in which the Delaware Court of Chancery found that select craigslist directors "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.
  • Shareholder Litigation: represented eBay in an earlier Delaware Court of Chancery case involving corporate governance.

Mr. Rhodes is widely recognized as a top litigator in the areas of privacy and intellectual property law. The American Lawyer named him "Litigator of the Week" for the outcome he obtained in In re: Google Inc. Gmail Litigation, highlighting his experience "defending Silicon Valley giants in privacy class actions." He has been recognized by several additional legal publications and directories, including:

  • Chambers USA: Recognized as a top lawyer in the areas of general commercial litigation, intellectual property litigation and privacy and data protection for his "renowned...privacy practice" and "notable [IP] litigation skills." (2013-2016)
  • Benchmark Litigation Legal Guide: Named a "Litigation Star." Benchmark noted that Cooley litigators "were incredibly strong and provided very insightful guidance." (2013-2015)
  • Law360: Named an MVP in the "Privacy & Consumer Protection" category for five consecutive years, a feat achieved by only two other attorneys in the United States. (2011-2015)
  • The Daily Journal: Named among the Top IP Litigators in California (2012, 2014, 2015); Named among the Top 100 Lawyers in California (2011-2013)
  • The National Law Journal: Named a "Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Trailblazer" (2015)
  • Legal 500: Named a "Leading Trial Lawyer," recognized 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." (2013-2016)
  • Managing Intellectual Property: Named an "IP Star" for his patent and trademark contentious work (2013-2014)
  • Intellectual Asset Management: Recognized on the "IAM Patent 1000" list, an honor that recognizes the best IP and licensing attorneys in the world. (2013-2014)
  • The Recorder: One of only 16 lawyers named as an "attorney of the year" for high-profile achievements in court (2010)
  • Best Lawyers in America: Named a "Best Lawyer" in the categories of Commercial Litigation,  Derivative Litigation and Intellectual Property Litigation (2007-2017)
  • Southern California Super Lawyers: Named a "Super Lawyer" in the category of Business Litigation (2007-2015)

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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