Cooley adds federal prosecutor to fast-growing Chicago ranks

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Signage is seen on the exterior of the building where law firm Cooley LLP is located in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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  • Lindsay Jenkins is a 15-year veteran of the Chicago U.S. attorney's office
  • Cooley entered Chicago with 10 partners in May
  • The Silicon Valley firm now boasts 43 Windy City lawyers
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(Reuters) - Six and a half months after launching in Chicago, Cooley is expanding its new office with a former federal prosecutor who once helped convict the city's public schools chief of taking bribes.

The Silicon Valley-founded law firm on Monday said it hired Lindsay Jenkins, the former criminal division chief of the Chicago U.S. attorney's office. The move reunites Jenkins with her former colleague Matthew Kutcher, a former deputy chief of the office's general crimes section, who joined Cooley in June.

Jenkins cited Kutcher's presence at Cooley as one reason she opted to join the firm after 15 years in the U.S. attorney's office. She also pointed to Cooley's mix of technology and life sciences clients, calling it "an emerging area for the Chicago white collar and litigation market."

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Cooley has steadily grown its Chicago office since it opened in May with 10 partners from Latham & Watkins, Winston & Strawn and DLA Piper. The firm's Windy City outpost now has 43 lawyers and 15 staffers, and will soon be housed in the new Bank of America Tower at 110 N. Wacker Drive.

Jenkins was part of the team that prosecuted Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who received kickbacks and bribes for steering lucrative contracts to one of her previous employers. Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in October 2015 and was sentenced to 4-1/2 years in prison in April 2017.

She also assisted the Justice Department in its civil rights investigation into the Chicago Police Department following the November 2015 release of dashcam video showing a white Chicago police officer killing a Black teenager. That 2017 report found that Chicago police routinely violated people's civil rights.

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UPDATE 2-Former Chicago Public Schools chief sentenced for fraud

Chicago police routinely violated civil rights: U.S. Justice Department

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David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based out of Chicago. He can be reached at and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.