Christopher Austin spent sixteen years at Ropes & Gray, the crème de la crème of Boston law firms. He was the co-head of the Technology Company and Venture Capital Practice group. So it was with some fanfare that Cooley Godward announced earlier this month that the Yale Law grad was leaving Ropes to join Cooley’s burgeoning Boston office.
The firm issued a press release, and the news made it into the “Human Capital: People on the Move” column of the Boston Business Journal, on February 3:
Cooley Godward Kronish LLP added Christopher Austin, previously the co-head of the technology company and venture capital practice at Ropes & Gray LLP, as partner. Austin will be a resident in Cooley’s Boston office.
So it was with some surprise that one of our readers saw his name mentioned again in the same paper and the same column, but with a different firm destination, on February 19:
Goodwin Procter LLP added a new corporate partner in the firm’s Boston office. Christopher Austin’s practice focuses on the representation of public and private technology and life sciences companies, venture capital funds and investment banks. Austin was previously co-head of the technology company and venture capital practice at Ropes & Gray LLP, where he practiced for 16 years.
Cooley Godward added Austin’s bio to its website and put out a news release when Austin joined the firm. It is now available online in cached form. From the release:
“New England is second only to Silicon Valley in terms of the volume of venture capital investments in companies based in the region, and I look forward to helping Cooley to continue to grow its presence here as successfully as the firm has established itself as a leader in other key technology markets around the country,” said Austin.
But he spent less than one day helping the firm grow its presence before he started talking to another Biglaw suitor. When we inquired about Austin’s abrupt departure, a Cooley Godward spokesperson told us:
“This was a baffling situation to say the least. However, given he was with the firm a total of nine business days and was approached by his new firm less than 24 hours after he arrived, he will hardly be missed. We are as excited and optimistic as ever about our Boston office as we continue our expansion in the Boston market.”
We reached out to Goodwin Procter, but were informed that Chris Austin is currently traveling. In the Goodwin press release heralding Austin’s arrival, he said:
“One of Goodwin Procter’s strengths is the sophistication of its public company practice combined with its focus on serving emerging companies and venture capital firms,” said Austin. “Ultimately I concluded that this would be the best platform for me to continue to grow and expand my practice.”
Unsurprisingly, Goodwin did not include Austin’s two-week partnership at Cooley in his official firm bio.
Human Capital: People on the move, Feb. 3 [Boston Business Journal]
Human Capital: People on the Move, Feb.19 [Boston Business Journal]
Goodwin Procter Welcomes New Corporate Partner [Goodwin Procter]
Cooley Adds Leading Corporate Partner in Boston (cached version) [Cooley Godward]