A Flexible Partnership Path
We only hire associates whom we believe have the potential to become partners of Cooley. There is no preset limit on the number of associates we elect to partnership in any year; nor is there a preset length of time before an associate can become a partner. Our experience shows that it takes approximately eight years for new law school graduates to develop and demonstrate the full range of skills necessary for Cooley to consider them for partnership. However, our track has been and always will be flexible. Absent special circumstances, associates who join the Firm laterally must remain with Cooley for at least three full years before they can be considered for partnership.
As part of the associate review process, Cooley's partnership nominating committee—comprised of partners from several offices—carefully assesses all associates and special counsel who are eligible for partnership consideration. During this time, they meet with the candidates individually and review memos prepared by them that detail their accomplishments, contributions to the Firm and plans for the future. They also discuss the candidates' strengths and weaknesses with partners in and outside of the candidates' practice groups and clients with whom the candidates have worked. The partnership nominating committee then provides this information along with their recommendations to the partnership and the management committee.
The committee uses a broad range of criteria when evaluating candidates, which take into account their overall contribution to the Firm and include factors, such as:
- Improving the productivity and satisfaction of other Firm personnel through successful recruiting, training, mentoring and team- and morale-building efforts
- Consistent adherence to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism
- Delivery of consistently superior client service through the effective application of professional talents, knowledge, judgment, diligence and interpersonal skills
- Enhancement of Cooley's reputation and standing in the community by helping the Firm fulfill its social and professional responsibilities through pro bono, professional, civic, educational and other activities
New partners are elected by an affirmative vote of a supermajority of the entire partnership. Admissions to the partnership are generally announced in late fall and become effective at the beginning of the next year.