Cooley Reviews | Glassdoor

Cooley Reviews

Updated February 8, 2017
76 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.8
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Joe Conroy
41 Ratings

76 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great benefits and vacation policy even for new people, great work life balance and people are very reasonable to easy to work with (in 4 reviews)

  • Cooley provides great benefits, a friendly environment, a large organized support system, and they also encourage you to live a healthy lifestyle (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • Heavy workload; difficult to achieve work life balance (in 9 reviews)

  • as a law firm - poor work-life balance, high stress environment, poor paralegal management (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Crazies, Cliques, and Kissing Ass"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Paralegal in Reston, VA
    Former Employee - Paralegal in Reston, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The best reasons to work for these weirdos are the location and salary.

    Cons

    If you want to take a trip back to high school and deal with cliques and kissing ass then this place is for you. The people are absolutely crazy. I've never worked somewhere like that before. I would avoid it at all costs.

    Advice to Management

    I would say something but my mom always told me not to say anything if you can't say something nice.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Great place to work if you don't plan on using your skills."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Paralegal
    Current Employee - Paralegal
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Mostly friendly people. Good work location.

    Cons

    No career advancement. You spend all day everyday doing menial work. No sense in going to college to work here. Management only cares about attorneys.

    Advice to Management

    Utilize your paralegal's skills or continue to lose good people.


  3. Helpful (4)

    "Miserable and corrupt firm don't waste your time"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Perm Staff Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Perm Staff Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Co-workers - salary is better because they pay more in trying to get people to stay

    Cons

    Management discriminates against their employees; no advancement

    Advice to Management

    Practice what you preach and do not discriminate against employees. The firm offers no real advancement and if an employee makes any complaint, they will find themselves out the door - this firm discriminates against its employees as well. You would think being a law firm that they would follow the law and be more ethical but they are not. They are arrogant to the point that they believe they are above the law.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    "If You're Not a Partner -- Don't Work Here"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Associate in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Cooley full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Salary; they will just about hire anyone

    Cons

    No advancement; in order to work on the better matters, you need to really kiss up to the senior partners. The associates and non-exempt staff are treatly horribly. The firm is so cheap that you can't get a writing tablet or a box of pens to work with. However, the partners line their pockets with gold.

    Advice to Management

    Spread the wealth around and stop lining your pockets with gold. Gross misappropriate of funds in this firm.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Awful sweatshop"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate (Litigation) in Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Associate (Litigation) in Palo Alto, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Cooley full-time

    Pros

    The pay is decent, like most biglaw firms. If you want to sell your soul, Cooley is a perfect fit.

    Cons

    Backstabbing politics. That sums up a lot of the office environment.

    Advice to Management

    Remember - associates are people too. Please treat us like such.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "standard BigLaw jerks, but won't admit it"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Associate in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Cooley full-time

    Pros

    BigLaw salary. Did not have to share an office. Administrative staff is treated very well.

    Cons

    It may have been a collegial place to work at one time. The focus on moving up the rankings has killed that.

    The firm touts its rankings as a great place to work. First, several of those rankings require an initial payment to be considered. Second, the firm treats its administrative staff very well, and the staff boost the rankings; associates' experience is quite different from staff's. And third, the firm has no tolerance for any sort of "life interference;" I spoke to associates who took time off for illness, parental leave, or disability and had their bonuses reduced.

    Associates are expendable cogs in the profit-generating wheel. So long as associates bill, the firm does not care if they are mistreated, disconnected, or they burn out. Associates constantly try to one-up each other, so there is much stealing of credit and throwing under the bus.

    The firm will take any opportunity to cheat associates out of their bonus, to the extent of punishing those juniors who get a bad review from impossible-to-please managers. I got stuck working for a manager who literally refused to work with anyone else. Even though no one else was good enough to work with that manager, I was still penalized with a substantial bonus reduction when the manager bashed me in reviews (then turned around and added me to a new matter).

    Partners have no interest in training associates, and no patience when associates do not instantly and magically know everything. Because Cooley markets itself as a cost-effective firm, matters are often staffed too leanly for there to be a senior- or mid-level associate to whom the junior can turn for guidance. I had matters that were staffed only by a partner and me, yet the partner still refused to answer strategy questions. (I was not stupid enough to ask a partner questions about substantive law I could research myself; I asked about the direction I should take for the client.) This was in my first year, when I had never handled any similar task. I only had 1-2 questions per week...and the partner still refused to answer them.

    In short, it's like any other BigLaw firm. The difference is that Cooley won't admit it.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your associates like people. If you learned a little about their lives, said thank you once in a while, and tried to develop them into better lawyers, associates might actually stick around.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "If you aren't an attorney, this isn't a place to have a growing career."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    If you are looking for a job to just do your thing and leave at 5pm, this place is for you.

    Cons

    As some others have said, this place does discriminate. After being told I was getting a promotion, twice, it was given to someone else. After the second time that happened, I left for better opportunities.

    Advice to Management

    Stop being an "all boys" club and let some women in.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "unhappy associates, but high-quality work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Cooley full-time

    Pros

    -the best partners are really extraordinary litigators, extremely tough people -- if you become a favorite, you can learn and advance fast
    -biglaw pay

    Cons

    -associates are almost uniformly miserable, many desperately so
    -the same partners who are the best lawyers are also abusive and horrible people
    -favoritism - huge differences in treatment of junior associates. if you don't get singled out for grooming early on, leave


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Good firm if you work for the good partners"

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

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

    Pros

    Great clients, great salary and benefits, can count pro bono as billable hours

    Cons

    Several partners are rude, condescending and refuse to mentor you or provide constructive criticism (rather they just yell or criticize). People won't hesitate to throw you under the bus to save themselves. Very much a boys club. Don't expect to have a life because you're expected to work all the time

    Advice to Management

    work on mentoring younger associates and provide more positive feedback and training


  11. Helpful (2)

    "Good overall- some bad groups"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Cooley full-time

    Pros

    Cooley is a great firm IN GENERAL. Everyone seems pretty happy.

    Cons

    There are certain groups within the firm (within certain practice groups at certain offices) that are nearly impossible to work for. Be wary of joining a group that consists entirely of attorneys from another firm that moved together- they do not represent Cooley well. As someone stuck in that situation, I would NOT recommend Cooley. When able to work with others outside of "the" group, it's a great place. So, really, a mixed bag.



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