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Robert E. Cooper Jr.

Adjunct Professor of Law
Member, Bass Berry & Sims

Bob Cooper is a member of Bass Berry & Sims' Compliance and Government Investigations practice group. Professor Cooper served eight years as Tennessee Attorney General and four years as legal counsel to Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen. In 2015, he rejoined Bass Berry & Sims, where he led high-stakes litigation and investigations and served as the compliance monitor in a consumer protection consent decree involving the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Daymar Colleges Group, a for-profit college system. Cooper led the Metro Nashville Department of Law for two years from 2019 to 2021. At Bass Berry & Sims, he advises clients on matters related to compliance and enforcement issues and assists clients in responding to internal investigations from federal, state or local governments. Clients draw upon Cooper's public service experience to help maneuver through a state’s administrative processes, including challenges to regulations, contracts and other official actions. Cooper also provides counsel on enforcement of nonprofit and charitable entities law.

Cooper graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with a B.A. in economics and earned his law degree from Yale University, where he was managing editor of the Yale Law Journal. He was a law clerk for Judge Louis Oberdorfer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

At Vanderbilt, he teaches Litigating with the Power of the State: The Role of the State Attorney General, after having taught Campaign Finance and Elections for many years.

Research Interests

Compliance and government investigations, consumer financial services, nonprofit and charitable entities regulation, monitorships

Additional Courses

Litigating with the Power of the State: The Role of the State Attorney General Short Course