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Cooley expands new Chicago outpost with partner trio

3 minute read

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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  • Palo Alto-based firm now has 13 partners in Chicago
  • New additions include Mayer Brown and Kirkland & Ellis partners, and Latham litigation chief-turned-federal prosecutor.

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(Reuters) - One month after opening an office in Chicago, Cooley is expanding its Windy City footprint with three partners from Kirkland & Ellis, Mayer Brown, and the city's U.S. attorney's office.

Palo Alto-based Cooley on Wednesday announced that Matt Kutcher, Bobby Earles and Lei Shen have joined the firm. Earles joins from Kirkland while Shen was at Mayer Brown. Kutcher was deputy chief in the Chicago U.S. attorney's general crimes section.

Kutcher chaired Latham & Watkins' litigation group in Chicago before he became a federal prosecutor in 2015. At Cooley, he'll focus on white collar defense and investigations, as well as securities and general commercial litigation. Earles is joining Cooley's business litigation practice, while Shen is a member of the firm's cyber/data/privacy practice.

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"They are the cream of the crop in Chicago," said Travis LeBlanc, the vice chair of Cooley's cyber/data/privacy practice and one of the leaders of its litigation department. "They are diverse. They are the leaders of the next generation and they represent the key legal needs of the companies driving the economy, whether in technology or life sciences."

With the three partners signing on, Cooley now has 13 partners, eight associates and one special counsel in the city of big shoulders. LeBlanc said the firm expects to continue growing the office throughout the year.

Kutcher, Earles and Shen each cited Cooley's commitment to Chicago as part of their attraction to the firm. It wasn't just any law firm whose Chicago office they were helping start, "it was starting the Cooley Chicago office that made it really attractive," Kutcher said.

Cooley launched the office in May with a group of 10 partners from Winston & Strawn, DLA Piper and Latham, including Winston's capital markets and securities chair.

Even though Chicago is home to several law firm giants, including U.S. law firm revenue leader Kirkland, the city continues to attract major out-of-town firms, including Willkie, Farr & Gallagher, Venable and Dickinson Wright, all of which planted flags in the city last year.

"It’s an exciting moment to be in Chicago, just period," Earles said, citing the city's status as an emerging life sciences and technology hub.

Read More:

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

Chicago legal market expands as Venable, Dickinson Wright launch Windy City outposts

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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 d.thomas@thomsonreuters.com and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.

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