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Drinks With The Deal: Cooley's Jamie Leigh

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Published: September 3rd, 2020
Cooley's Jamie Leigh discusses advising tech and life sciences companies, her work for Mirror on its agreement to sell to Lululemon and how she's staying sane in the pandemic.

Jamie Leigh has had a busy 2020, but the co-head of M&A at Cooley LLP in San Francisco is particularly proud of advising Curiouser Products Inc., an interactive home fitness company doing business as Mirror, on its sale to Lululemon Athletica Inc. (LULU) for $500 million.

“We did manage to get it in the hardest part of Covid with the most volatility in the retail sector,” Leigh said on the latest installment of the Drinks With The Deal podcast.

“It was a joy stewarding the founder Brynn Putnam through that transaction. She did not hire a banker. She thought she could sell her company herself with the advice of her board members around her and a great legal team,” Leigh said. “It was thrilling to watch a female entrepreneur with her very dedicated and disciplined view of her own business effectively take it to market.”

Leigh has worked on several other large deals this year, advising Forty Seven Inc. on its $4.9 billion sale to Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD); Principia Biopharma Inc. on its $3.68 billion agreement to sell to Sanofi SA (SNY); SunRun Inc. (RUN) on its $3.2 billion agreement to buy Vivint Solar Inc. (VSLR); Portola Pharmaceuticals Inc. on its $1.41 billion sale to Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ALXN); and Fastly Inc. (FSLY) on its $775 million agreement to buy Signal Sciences Corp.

That’s typical of Leigh’s practice, which she says involves a mix of buy- and sell-side work as well as technology and life sciences. She didn’t expect to build a career in the law when she started as an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in New York in 2002 after graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law. But she enjoyed the energy and intellectual challenge of the work.

“With an athletic background, I took very few things personally,” says Leigh, who rowed crew in college at UVA. “I just thought it was my job to get as good as I could as fast as I could.”

A stint in Davis Polk’s Menlo Park, Calif., office brought her to Silicon Valley, and she moved to Latham & Watkins LLP in 2005 and then to Cooley in 2012 after first thinking she would go into corporate development at a company.

Instead, she said, she was captivated by “the joy and intrigue of being an adviser.”

“There’s something very noble and very special and very interesting and refreshing year over year about continuing to advise in better, more nuanced, more sophisticated, more human ways,” she said.

Listen to the full interview below:

More podcasts from The Deal are available on iTunes, SpotifySoundCloud and on TheDeal.com.

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