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May 13, 2011 1:30 PM

Cooley Plans Shanghai Office

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

The paperwork is in and Cooley is hoping to gain approval to open its first international office, in Shanghai.

The firm announced on Thursday that it has filed an application for the office with the Ministry of Justice of the People's Republic of China, according to sibling publication The Recorder. Cooley chief executive Joseph Conroy said Cooley would open the office at some point in early 2012, assuming the application is approved.

"Becoming international at the right time and in the right way became an imperative for us," Conroy told The Recorder.

Cooley has an ongoing relationship with the London firm Olswang. Cooley also has put some focus on China in the past, having represented clients in the country for years with support from local firms. 

The Recorder notes that Cooley has a history of representing U.S. fund managers in China, and has formed 43 Chinese venture capital and private equity funds for managers there.

The move was inspired, the firm said, by client demand, as U.S. companies increasingly look to expand overseas. "This is really being driven by communication from our clients," Conroy said. "A ton have reached out to us saying they need us to be there."

Sibling publication The Asian Lawyer noted one of Cooley's Palo Alto rival firms, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, has made similar moves to the Chinese market in recent years. Wilson Sonsini opened offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong in 2007 and 2010, respectively.

Conroy--who did not offer specifics on the number of partners who would open the office or local lawyers who would be recruited--added that the office will do both inbound and outbound work. The focus will be on the firm's venture capital, life sciences, information technology, clean energy, commercial, intellectual property, and securities litigation practices. 

Cooley, based in Palo Alto, has about 650 attorneys throughout nine cities in the U.S.

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