Member, Bass, Berry & Sims PLC, Nashville, TN; former Tennessee Attorney General; former Director, Department of Law, Metropolitan Nashville Government
Robert E. “Bob” Cooper, Jr. served eight years as Tennessee Attorney General (2006 to 2014) and four years as legal counsel to Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen (2002 to 2006). Bob served as chair of the Southern Region of the National Association of Attorneys General from 2012-2013. He served as Director of the Metro Nashville Department of Law from November 2019 through June 2020.
Bob is a member of the Compliance & Government Investigations Practice Group at Bass Berry & Sims and was the Compliance Monitor in a consumer protection consent decree involving the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Daymar Colleges Group, a for-profit college system. Bob advises clients on matters related to compliance and enforcement issues and assists clients in responding to internal investigations from federal, state, or local governments.
While Tennessee Attorney General, Bob served on the executive committee for mortgage servicing claims against the nation's five largest banks that resulted in a $25 billion settlement by 49 state attorneys general and the federal government. Medicaid fraud also was a priority during his tenure, and Bob formed a separate division within the Attorney General's Office devoted solely to pursuing provider Medicaid fraud and recovered some $150 million for the state. He also created the Public Interest Division in the Attorney General's office to consolidate and expand oversight of nonprofits and charities and, during his tenure, recovered more than $130 million in charitable funds through investigations and litigation.
As Metro Nashville Law Director, Bob supervised Metro Government’s legal work and advised the Office of the Mayor and Metro Council on issues facing the city. During his tenure, he directed the city's legal response to the COVID pandemic, led the legal fight against a charter amendment that threatened the city's financial recovery, and facilitated the working relationship between the Metro Police and the city's Community Oversight Board.
Bob serves as an adjunct professor of law at Vanderbilt Law School, where he taught Campaign Finance and Elections from 1998 to 2016 and The Role of State Attorneys General with former Alabama Attorney Genera Luther Strange in 2022 and 2023. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, Tennessee Bar Foundation, and Nashville Bar Foundation. Prior to entering private practice, he served as a law clerk for The Honorable Louis F. Oberdorfer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Bob holds a bachelor's degree from Princeton University and a law degree from Yale Law School, where he was managing editor of the Yale Law Journal.