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Jack Cooney (1944 - 2015)

New York Office
New York Office

One Bryant Park
47th Floor
New York, NY 10036

It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Jack Cooney.  Jack was a remarkable lawyer and a wonderful person. He will be missed by the entire McKool Smith family.


Jack joined McKool Smith in 2009 after practicing for more than 35 years at Davis Polk & Wardwell. The mainstay of his practice has always been complex civil litigation and white collar defense matters. 

Jack 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 were his representations 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.

Jack was 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 also served as the former Chairman of the Federal Bar Council’s Bar and Bench Liaison Committee. Jack 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 graduated from Duke University School of Law, where he served as Note Editor of its Law Journal

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 and 2016 editions 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


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