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Longtime eBay Lawyer Gets a New (Old) Job

June 13, 2016, 11:00 AM UTC
Michael Jacobson, ebay

Mike Jacobson, the lawyer who helped take eBay public and who remained the company’s general counsel until last summer, has rejoined Cooley as of counsel in its business department. He had been a partner with Cooley and head of its public securities practice until August 1998, when he left for eBay.

“It’s obviously a firm I know and has some interesting clients with interesting problems,” says the 61 year-old Jacobson, who will spend most of his time in Cooley’s Palo Alto office “I think I can be very useful in translating what outside counsel do, which is legal-focused, and what inside counsel and executives do, which is very business-focused.”

Jacobson was with eBay (EBAY) for its 1998 IPO, its 2002 acquisition of PayPal (PYPL), its 2005 acquisition of Skype, the subsequent sale of Skype and, finally, the eBay/PayPal split that was finalized last July. He also helped grow the company’s legal department into a 400-person global team, but was effectively left without a job once the PayPal spin-off was complete.

Jacobson says that there were no restrictions on when he or other ex-eBay execs could take other jobs—former CFO Bob Swan, for example, signed on with private equity firm General Atlantic last September—but says he needed some time off to recover after what he calls a “grueling 18 months.” He adds that while he did give some thought to joining another pre-IPO tech company, he wasn’t “prepared to throw myself body and soul into something like that again, and you really have to if you want to do it well.”

He begins at Cooley this week.