LA's Technology Ecosystem Expands, As Silicon Valley Law Firm Sets Up Shop

In a sign that the Los Angeles technology and startup world is starting to be taken more seriously by Silicon Valley, one of Silicon Valley's more prominent law firms has set up shop in Santa Monica. Cooley LLP said Tuesday that it has added four partners to a new, Los Angeles office, and also hired one of the most active and connected insiders in the region to head up business development efforts in Los Angeles. Cooley said it had added David Hernand (formerly of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher), David Young (formerly of DLA Piper), Christopher Schoff (also from DLA Piper), and Jennifer Massey (formerly of Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein & Kohner) as partners in the new office, and also hired Randy Churchill, the former Director of Emerging Company Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and current President of the Los Angeles Venture Association, to head up business development at the firm in Los Angeles.

Although Los Angeles, and Southern California, in general, does not have a shortage of high powered, legal firms with experience in the high tech sector, the move is notable as the first Silicon Valley firm to make a concrete move into the market. At least a couple of other, high profile Silicon Valley high tech legal firms have been making moves to possibly set up an office in the region, with frequent visits to local events and meetups, but the announcement by Cooley looks to be the first major move in that direction by a Silicon Valley Company.

(Editor's note: in fair disclosure of potential multiple conflicts here, PwC is a sponsor of socaltECH, a number of legal firms that may compete with Cooley are also sponsors; and one of the new Cooley hires, Randy Churchill, was in charge of PWC's sponsorship of this publication. We'd normally skip service provider news but felt this worthy of mention despite the conflicts.).