A Video Conversation with Neil Cooper, Partner at Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld - Part IV


By Jeffrey E. Mack, Executive Managing Director, NGKF

Neil A. Cooper

Click here for Part IPart IIPart III

Helping mid-market enterprises grow with a suite of legal services

Neil A. Cooper is Executive partner at Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld (RCCB), a Philadelphia law firm. Comprised of a diverse group of entrepreneurially minded attorneys, RCCB is dedicated to providing innovative solutions to emerging growth and middle market organizations, as well as executives, investors and high net worth individuals and families, with an emphasis on business insight and real world results. Neil leads the firm alongside his three co-founders: John E. Royer, Jr., Barry L. Cohen, and Roger J. Braunfeld. Prior to starting RCCB, and its predecessors, Neil was General Counsel of a publicly traded software company. He started his career at Morgan Lewis, a leading international law firm.

Neil Cooper spoke with Jeff Mack, Executive Managing Director at Newmark Grubb Frank, for this interview.

RCCB recently moved its Philadelphia office to Two Logan Square. What drew you to the new space?

NEIL COOPER: We’re very excited about our new space. A lot of law firm space is very traditional, and in the past we’ve had fairly traditional space, but we felt we wanted to do something that was different. As the millennial generation gets a little older and is looking around at what law firm they want to establish for their future career, they’re looking for a different kind of approach, more collaboration, a looser and more fun work environment. We’re looking for a way to bring those concepts into our firm, and we are very fortunate to find the space which has a lot of glass. People aren’t hiding behind closed doors. We have open ceilings in part of our space, which I think makes it feel very informal in certain areas. And people are very approachable and like to get together frequently throughout the day. We’ve designed a lot of collaboration areas into our space, where folks can get together and chat, talk with each other. They can have clients in to talk about different things. We constantly have clients coming in and out of the firm and in and out of the office. We’re really amazed at what we’ve done here. A lot of people come in and they say, “Where is the corner office with that great view?” That’s not how we look at things. We save the great views for the space where everybody can get together and enjoy it and make great use of it.

Q. When did you decide you were going to become a business attorney? Do you have any role models?

A. I didn’t know when I was a young kid that I was going to be a corporate lawyer, but I did know that law school would be a place where I could learn a lot of things that could set me up for a range of different careers. I’ve used my law firm training to do a lot of different things both in my law career, but also in my volunteer activities. But I knew a lot of this at an early age because my uncle was a lawyer, and so I spent a lot of time with him. I think my first job was actually working for his firm as a clerk.

In terms of role models, I’ve had many. I wouldn’t point to any one in particular. I started my career at Morgan Lewis, which is one of the largest law firms in the world. At Morgan Lewis, there are a number of great lawyers who were working in the emerging growth and middle-market space, and Morgan Lewis did a lot of large international deals, but Steve Goodman was one where he was working with a lot of entrepreneurial companies in the region, and he was an inspiration. Then when I went to a software company, because while I was at the large law firm, I had an entrepreneurial bug. I needed to find a way to scratch that itch, and I decided to go to a software company that had been a startup a couple of years earlier and was actually going public. I had a lot of great mentors there who found ways to build the business from scratch, including the CEO of that company, whose name was Ray Hood. He was originally from the Philadelphia area, and I learned a tremendous amount about building and growing a company from Ray and from many of the others at that firm. And Jeff I learn every day from my partners and the other lawyers at this firm.

Q. What advice would you give to young lawyers?

A. It’s been a tough series of years for law school graduates because with the contraction in the economy in 2008 and 2009 and 2010, there’s been a lot less legal work to go around. A lot of the larger firms had found themselves with too much capacity and therefore had a lot of lawyers that they had to let go. I think that challenge has continued for a lot of young lawyers coming out of law school, but I think the most important thing is for a young lawyer to find a way to get experience. Whether that’s at a large law firm or a small law firm, or in-house at a company, or in some other way, they really need to get whatever experience they can get. I would advise a young lawyer today to be as open-minded as they can, to network as much as they can, and to think about different ways they might be able to gain experience.

We really do like young lawyers to have some sort of alternative experience in their background. I mean the typical approach for lawyers going back 50, 60, 70 years was go to the best college you can go to and go to the best law school you can go to, and then go to the biggest firm you can go to. That’s what a lot of lawyers did who didn’t become judges or professors, and I think that’s changing. Clients want to see something different and we want to see something different because we believe it adds value.

Connect with Neil on LinkedIn


Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (NGKF) is one of the world's leading commercial real estate advisory firms. Together with London-based partner Knight Frank and independently-owned offices, NGKF’s 12,800 professionals operate from more than 370 offices in established and emerging property markets on six continents.

With roots dating back to 1929, NGKF’s strong foundation makes it one of the most trusted names in commercial real estate. NGKF’s full-service platform comprises BGC’s real estate services segment, offering commercial real estate tenants, landlords, investors and developers a wide range of services including leasing; capital markets services, including investment sales, debt placement, appraisal, and valuation services; commercial mortgage brokerage services; as well as corporate advisory services, consulting, project and development management, and property and corporate facilities management services. For further information, visit www.ngkf.com.

NGKF is a part of BGC Partners, Inc., a leading global brokerage company servicing the financial and real estate markets. BGC’s common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol (NASDAQ: BGCP). BGC also has an outstanding bond issuance of Senior Notes due June 15, 2042, which trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol (NYSE: BGCA). BGC Partners is led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Howard W. Lutnick. For more information, please visit www.bgcpartners.com.

Jeffrey E. Mack, Executive Managing Director

Jeffrey E. Mack is a senior leader in Newmark Grubb Knight Frank's Philadelphia operation. Jeff has been a significant member of the commercial brokerage community in Philadelphia since 1979. He co-founded Smith Mack & Co. in 1984 and has continued to lease and sell more suburban office space than any other individual agent. He served as past chairman of the Philadelphia Board of Realtors, commercial and industrial division. NGKF acquired Smith Mack & Co. in 2012.

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