When Cooley moved into its new offices in D.C.'s Warner Building on Pennsylvania Avenue on New Year's eve, it was largely to facilitate the firm's growth in Washington. From the end of December 2011, the firm has expanded from 53 attorneys to 85 today.
Legal Times recently sat down with Ryan Naftulin, Cooley's partner-in-charge of the Washington office, in the firm's new digs to talk about growth, robust areas of practice and cycling. (Naftulin has been both the partner-in-charge and vice chair of the business department since the first quarter of 2011.)
Legal Times: How does the new office compare to the old space?
Naftulin: Being here has been great. The space is really functional. It feels more collaborative, much more open space, fewer dead ends. People pass each other more frequently in the hall. You're more inclined to get up and go see the person you want to talk to rather than picking up the phone or emailing them.
What's the possibility of future growth?
I'd be surprised if we're done growing. We have grown a lot in the last 18-24 months. We didn't wake up one day and decide to grow. We acknowledge how much opportunity there is for our client base to work with us on things that are D.C.-centric. We're not on a growth mission, but I would expect us to grow.
What has the Cooley office been working on lately?
For a long, long time, we've been a technology firm and a life sciences firm. The intersection between technology and healthcare is increasingly obvious and inevitable. Things like electronic medical records, electronic devices that monitor your health while you're at home and transmit that information over the internet, but [are] paid for by insurance companies.
A lot of technology companies are selling their services to the federal government in ways that they didn't previously. It was certainly the case that big companies sold computers to the government and now you have cyber security, cloud services. Our client base is increasingly selling to the federal government.
As businesses evolve, there are very significant transactions that get antitrust scrutiny. We have a fantastic antitrust group here that is already very busy on some of those transformative transactions. It's another area where, as the technology companies become some of the cornerstones of the economy, you're going to get interaction with the government.
As a cyclist, what were your thoughts on Lance Armstrong's confession to doping?
As a cyclist and probably more so as an episodic rabid fan of sports other than mainline professional sports – I'm a huge Olympics watcher, I love watching the [Tour de France] – so for me it's a significant disappointment. You'd love the heroes to stay the hero that you thought they were.
How often do you bike to work?
I bike daylight savings. I don't bike in the dark. When I bike, the goal is five [times] a week. The only time I can't is when I have too much early morning or late night [work]. I average three-and-a-half to four times a week.
This is the first in a series of Q&A sessions Legal Times will be conducting with D.C.-based law firm managing partners.