- J.D., Duke University, 1969. Note Editor, Duke Law Journal 1968-1969
- B.S., Indiana University, 1966
- State of New York
- The U.S. Supreme Court
- The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and Fifth Circuits
- The U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
- The Association of the Bar of the City of New York
Mr. Cooney has been a principal of McKool Smith since 2009, having moved from Davis Polk & Wardwell after more than 35 years of practice there. The mainstay of his practice has always been complex civil and criminal litigation. He has represented individuals and institutions in grand jury and other governmental investigations relating to a wide range of criminal charges, involving securities and insider trading, mail and wire fraud, tax, antitrust, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, government contracting, OFAC violations, FDA violations, accounting irregularities and environmental accidents. Some of his most successful criminal representations remain confidential, as they ended in the prosecutor’s decision not to go forward with a public charge against his client.
His practice has commonly involved representation of foreign clients and working as a team with foreign counsel. The assignments that he handled for Siemens in connection with its FCPA prosecution, for Shell in its internal investigation of its oil reserves and for Exxon in an FCPA investigation concerning Kazakhstan are typical of such matters.
Since joining McKool Smith, his work has included, among other things, representing an executive of Fairfield Greenwich Group in civil litigation and criminal, regulatory investigations relating to the Madoff scandal, foreign institutions in civil litigation relating to the Madoff scandal, an individual partner in a hedge fund in the investigation of possible insider trading, a criminal investigation of false filings by a Korean institution in an antitrust inquiry, a civil antitrust matter for Lockheed, individuals in investigations relating to LIBOR and OFAC, and several FCPA cases.
Mr. Cooney served as Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1972 to 1977, becoming chief of the narcotics unit. As a prosecutor and defense counsel, he tried numerous criminal cases to verdict before federal juries. Among his noteworthy trials are his representation of Recognition Equipment Incorporated in its acquittal for alleged bribery of the vice chairman of the United States Postal Board of Governors; the estate of Charles Shipman Payson in successfully rebutting a challenge to his will; and, Winfield Dunseath in his acquittal at trial for alleged foreign currency fraud.
He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and has acted as chairman of its Committee on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. He has taught in the Harvard, Cardozo and Fordham law schools’ trial practice programs and at white-collar crime courses held at Georgetown University Law Center. He is a graduate of Duke University School of Law, where he served as Note Editor of its Law Journal.
Chambers USA (2008) described him as “a passionate advocate for his client.”
Professional & Community Activities
- Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers, Past Chairman of its Federal Criminal Procedure Committee
- Federal Bar Council, Chairman, Bar and Bench Liaison Committee
- New York Council of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- Wong Sun Society
- Supreme Court Historical Society
Awards & Recognition
- Recognized in the 2015 edition of "Best Lawyers in America" as a leading lawyer in Litigation: Commercial, White Collar, Antitrust, Banking & Finance, Regulatory Enforcement, and Securities.
- Ranked as a leading white collar defense lawyer by Chambers USA. The 2014 edition notes that he "has extensive experience in dealing with civil and criminal litigation," and that he "handles company and individual representations in connection with a range of criminal charges, including FCPA, insider trading, and fraud."
- Ranked as a White Collar "Litigation Star" by Benchmark Litigation
- Listed, based on peer and client reviews, as a leading litigation lawyer in numerous publications, including Best Lawyers in America, American Lawyer Media’s Corporate Counsel: Best Lawyers Annual Guide to Criminal Defense Law, International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers - Business Crime Defense, Super Lawyers, and Legal Media Group’s Expert Guide to the World’s Leading Litigation Lawyers
- October 24, 2014
- September 26, 2014
- August 18, 2014
- May 23, 2014
- November 2013
- September 13, 2013
- August 15, 2013
- May 24, 2013
- April 4, 2013Law360
- November 2012
- September 20, 2012
- August 27, 2012
- November 22, 2011
- September 13, 2011
- September 2, 2010
- McKool Smith's Intellectual Property and White Collar Defense Practices Recognized in 2010 Chambers USA rankingsJune 10, 2010
- August 6, 2009
- March 2, 2009