Bo Cooper currently serves as Partner in the Washington DC office of Berry, Appleman & Leiden. He provides strategic business immigration advice to companies, hospitals, research institutions, schools, and universities. He specializes in representing clients before the United States Congress and the executive branch agencies.
Prior to his current role at BAL, Mr. Cooper headed the national immigration practice at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker’s Washington DC office. Before joining Paul Hastings, he served as General Counsel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) from 1999 until February 2003, when the transition of immigration services to the Department of Homeland Security began. He was responsible, as the Federal Government’s top immigration law specialist, for advising the Commissioner of the INS, the Attorney General of the United States, the White House, other Executive Branch agencies, and the Congress on all aspects of U.S. immigration law. He was principal legal advisor to the INS during two Administrations, at a time when immigration ranked among the most sensitive issues on the national public policy agenda.
As General Counsel, Mr. Cooper directed a legal program of 700 attorneys in 56 offices around the nation that provided legal and policy advice to the agency and litigated on behalf of the U.S. Government. He was twice the recipient of the Commissioner’s Exceptional Service Award, the agency’s most prestigious award. He has testified frequently before Congress and has made many television, radio, and print media appearances, including the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Sixty Minutes, Nightline, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, BBC Radio, CBC Radio, and National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. On behalf of the U.S., Mr. Cooper was involved in negotiating immigration-related agreements with other governments and was frequently a U.S. delegate to international organizations.
Mr. Cooper has taught immigration law at the University of Michigan Law School, where he was a Public Interest/Public Service Faculty Fellow. He has also taught at the Georgetown Law Center and at the Washington College of Law at American University, where he was a Fellow in Law and Government. Additionally, Mr. Cooper has served as a law clerk to the Chief Justice of the High Court of American Samoa, Pago Pago. Mr. Cooper is the Washington representative of the Global Personnel Alliance and serves on the Executive Committee of Compete America. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Tahirih Justice Center and on the Refugee Law Commission of the International Institute for Humanitarian Law. Since leaving the government, he has had an extensive pro bono practice, addressing asylum, Convention Against Torture, and a wide range of other immigration issues for clients in need of donated legal services.