Cooley Reviews

Updated August 11, 2015
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Joe Conroy
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12 Employee Reviews

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  1. It's fine

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Attorney in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Associate Attorney in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Cooley (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    I am relatively will paid. The work I get can be interesting. It's a law firm gig, for good and for ill.

    Cons

    I just don't see what the long term plan is. The firm is gobbling up a bunch of smaller groups of lawyers but it all seems so haphazard.

    Advice to Management

    Help us understand what the goal is here other than just get bigger. Or if it is just "get bigger" above all else, just that that.


  2. games

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Cool boss and paid lunches

    Cons

    Long hours and better pay

    Advice to Management

    More employees


  3. Assistant's View

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Cooley full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Mostly nice people, onsite cafe, office supplies, location, facilities and great IT staff (these guys really go out of their way to help you out). On a side note, I'm glad not to be part of IT, since they're only contacted when something goes awry. Outlook for the firm looks good. There were two layoffs a couple of years back, but work has been steady and busy for the most part. And unless you do something really dumb, chances are, you won't be fired (the first time around).

    Cons

    You work with attorneys. Some are nice, some are jerks and some intentionally go out of their way to demoralize you. Even the nice ones have their moments. They are all petty to some degree. Coming from two other law firms in SF, I can say that the upstairs/downstairs mentality is much less pronounced here. However, I feel that firm values are changing and Cooley may soon fall into the ranks of Wilson and the like. I know most associates. paralegals, and staff, myself included (obviously), feel under-appreciated and overworked. As a non-exempt employee, I find there is no benefit in working harder than my fellow assistants. Rewards are minimal best and pay seems to be solely based on seniority. No upward mobility, nor do they encourage promoting within, but it's a law firm so that's to be expected.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in management training or hire new management team. Most middle management seriously lack interpersonal skills which translates to poorly managed and unhappy staff. Mid-level associates and partners who parse out work should also be required to take some kind of management training. Yelling, blaming others, cursing, are not constructive ways of encouraging people to work harder or smarter nor does it play any role in training subordinates. There is a real disconnect between the partners and associates, and attorneys and staff. Mentorships and liaison positions should be voted upon, by the group that is being mentored or has recently been mentored. These positions should NOT be appointed by the managing partners, who are so at the top of the food pyramid that they are clueless as to the goings-on of lesser folk like me.


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  5. S'okay

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Legal Secretary in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Legal Secretary in San Diego, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Cooley full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good colleagues. Decent pay. Some of the health initiatives are nice. We get a subsidy for a gym membership.

    Cons

    Some secretaries do A LOT more work than others. No room for advancement.


  6. Cooley is a great place to work although there is nothing that makes it stand out from other big firms IMHO. Congenial

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Paralegal in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Paralegal in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Cooley full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Cooley has a congenial office culture. The people are professional, courteous and respectful. I have stayed in touch with many of my former colleagues.

    Cons

    The day to day experience is typical of other big law firms. There is a fair amount of overtime and sometimes weekend work. Given the firm's history, I think the biggest fear is the possibility of layoffs

    Advice to Management

    I hope there will be no more major layoffs.


  7. Helpful (1)

    Better than most law firms but far from perfect.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Professional in Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Professional in Palo Alto, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Cooley full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Excellent vacation time which grows the longer you have been there. Most people are friendly. Environment is better than most other law firms.

    Cons

    Slow to promote people. Managers have no desire to mentor employees. Management can be cutthroat. Each office seems to be run differently depending on the Partner in Charge of the office. Some administrative departments are unfairly compensated. Some people are fired over making one mistake while others that are lazy, poor performers are kept around.

    Advice to Management

    Upper management has been making questionable choices recently. Seems as though they are hiring their friends who are not right for the task at hand. Think about compensating your non exempt staff more in their bonuses.


  8. Smart People, but no "big" egos.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Cooley full-time

    Pros

    The work is interesting and you work for some big name clients. The firm tries hard to make sure that there are no "big" egos even though the people are all really smart and really good. Everyone works hard, including the partners, but the firm does not work their associates to death, like at other large firms. The Firm does not try to take itself too seriously. It is possible to keep a decent work/life balance

    Cons

    I can't think of any.


  9. Upstairs/Downstairs?

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palo Alto, CA
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Firm still has solid 'high tech, emerging markets' reputation. Some business-oriented and business-savvy partners.

    Cons

    There's an 'upstairs, downstairs' mentality amongst many in the partnership - if you're not a partner then get below stairs to the sweatshop. There used to be a 'Cooley culture' espousing collaboration and 'we are one-firm' mentality. Not anymore.

    Advice to Management

    Treat the firm as if it were a business, not a high school football team.


  10. Let's talk turkey, legal staff!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Legal Secretary in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Legal Secretary in San Francisco, CA
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Not too many extreme personalities among the attorneys. Has a reputation for quality legal work.

    Cons

    Support staff don't generally feel valued. Mid-level management is not professional. For example, HR people are not professionally trained. More needs to be done to establish teamwork, cooperation and respect between attorneys and staff. Firm needs to loosen up the purse strings and invest in higher-quality infrastructure and training. Huge Profit Per Partner ratio does not relate down to staff level. Staff salaries do not increase at anywhere near the rate of associate salaries, let alone partners.

    Advice to Management

    Demand more of your mid-level management in terms of qualifications and continued education in their fields. Encourage more communication and teamwork among the offices. Provide more training and educational opportunities for staff as well as attorneys. Look at your personal income compared to the lowest paid workers at your firm and ask yourself if you are part of the problem or the solution when it comes to widening class differences in the U.S.


  11. About the Same as Other Big Law

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate
    Former Employee - Associate
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Good compensation; Good contacts with client companies for your in-house job after Cooley; some excellent partners, especially the most senior partners in the firm; many smart associates; excellent locations and ability to switch offices if needed; some lawyers in other departments are terrifically helpful

    Cons

    Partnership chances are minimal; despite supposed emphasis on training, seemed to lack sustained training for associates or partners, with no emphasis on attending outside seminars if no CLE requirement in your state; younger partners in management seem more focused on hanging out with their buddies in the various offices than connecting with other partners or associates; the usual office politics

    Advice to Management

    Better and ongoing training of attorneys at all levels. Younger partners in management need to learn from the senior partners.



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