Cooley makes a big entrance in Chicago, betting on Midwest hub

NEW YORK, NY (Reuters) - Cooley is setting up shop in the Windy City with 10 partners, including nine who are joining the Palo Alto-based firm from Latham & Watkins, Winston & Strawn and DLA Piper.

The Chicago office will be Cooley's 17th globally, and 11th in the U.S., as the firm continues to expand its market share for tech and life sciences deal work.

The move also marks Big Law's latest vote of confidence for Chicago, and especially for its venture capital and emerging companies growth. Despite hosting its share of homegrown giants such as U.S. law firm revenue leader Kirkland & Ellis, Chicago has remained a major draw for out-of-town firms. Last year Willkie, Farr & Gallagher, Venable and Dickinson Wright each planted flags in the city.

To start, Cooley's Chicago office will launch with five partners from Winston & Strawn, three from DLA Piper and one from Latham. The firm snagged Winston & Strawn's former capital markets and securities practice chair Christina Roupas, who will work alongside another Winston alum Courtney Tygesson on capital markets and public company matters.

Roupas has represented Groupon in its $805 million initial public offering, PetIQ in its $185 million acquisition of Perrigo's animal health business and Pacer International in its $335 million sale to XPO Logistics, according to her former firm bio.

The other Winston lawyers joining Cooley are Rick Ginsberg as the Chicago office's partner-in-charge, fund formation partner Zach Robert and executive compensation and benefits partner Nyron Persaud.

Gregory Grossman is leaving DLA Piper to co-head the Chicago office's corporate group. M&A partner Erin Kirchner and employment partner Ryan Vann also join from DLA Piper. Laurie Bauer, a former Latham partner, will also co-head the corporate group.

Grossman has represented Bunker Labs and Easter Seals in pro bono matters. Bauer advised Canapi Ventures and TTV Capital in 2020 in securing $215 million in Series C funding for Greenlight Financial Technology.

Cooley corporate and capital markets partner Yvan-Claude Pierre will now split his time between the Chicago and New York offices.

"Chicago and Cooley align perfectly," Cooley chairman and CEO Joe Conroy said in a statement. "As the financial and innovation hub of the Midwest and home to many of our game-changing clients, including high-growth, disruptive companies, venture capitalists fueling the market and established Fortune 500 companies, we look forward to opening an office in a city and region where we have loved to work for decades."

Representatives for DLA Piper, Latham & Watkins and Winston & Strawn were not immediately available to comment on the departures.

Cooley said it plans to turn Chicago into a full-service office for the firm in the coming months, including with "a bench of elite litigators."

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Mayer Brown adds dealmaker with Boeing ties in Chicago

Reporting by Arriana McLymore

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Arriana McLymore is a New York-based reporter covering e-commerce, online marketplaces, alternative revenue streams for retailers and in-store innovation. She previously reported on telecoms and the business of law.