Wainwright Fishburn, Partner

M. Wainwright Fishburn, Jr. is a partner in the Cooley LLP Business department. He joined the Firm in 1992 as a founding partner in the San Diego office.

Mr. Fishburn's practice emphasizes general representation of life science, technology and other operating companies that range from start-up through IPO. His practice focuses on corporate governance matters as well as mergers, acquisitions, strategic alliances, and intellectual property licensing and management. He also assists his client companies in financing matters, often involving the placement of debt and equity securities. Mr. Fishburn has been counsel to public and private companies operating in a variety of environments, including biotechnology, information technology, internet, computer hardware and software, communications, composite materials, retail, service and manufacturing industries. He has also represented U.S., European and Japanese companies in international transactions of varying descriptions. Mr. Fishburn has been widely recognized as a leading attorney in numerous publications, including among others, his recent recognition by The Daily Journal as one of California's top attorneys.

As a recognized life science and digital health thought-leader, Mr. Fishburn is a frequent speaker at programs addressing industry issues, including CES Digital Health 2014, USC's Body Computing Conference, Impact Forum 2013 and the Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance's Convergence Summit.

Mr. Fishburn has assisted as counsel to numerous start-up companies and is a founder of two publicly-traded companies. Mr. Fishburn is immediate past Chairman of the Sanford-Burnham Institute for Medical Research, one of the nation's leading independent biomedical research institutes. He recently joined The Executive Committee of the Board of the UCSD Moores Cancer Center where he is afforded a clinical perspective for the application of breakthroughs in genomic medicine and serves as on the organizing committee for the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy. He also serves as a Board Member for the Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance. He is a founding director of both the Corporate Directors Forum and BIOCOM, the largest regional life science association in the world, representing more than 550 member companies and is a member of its Executive Committee. Mr. Fishburn is active in numerous other community organizations.

Prior to attending law school, Mr. Fishburn worked in the corporate environment serving as assistant to the CEO during the divestiture of a group of 12 operating companies. Thereafter, as a corporate development officer for the acquiror, St. Paul Companies, Inc., a Fortune 500 insurance and financial services company, he served as Assistant Vice President Planning and Development of the newly formed operating subsidiary.

Mr. Fishburn received a JD degree in 1981 from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and served as President of the Hastings Board of Governors. He received a BA from the University of Arizona and has served on the University of Arizona Technology Advisory Committee. Mr. Fishburn completed post-graduate study at the Australian National University and was appointed as a Senior Fellow of Bergmann College affiliated with the A.N.U.

Mr. Fishburn is admitted to practice before the State Bar of Arizona and the California State Bar and is a member of the American Bar Association.


  • University of California Hastings College of Law
    JD, 1981

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California

Bar Admissions

  • Arizona
  • California


  • American Bar Association

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