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Photo of  J. Gordon Cooney, Jr.

practice accolades

Class Actions

Named a Class Actions and Mass Torts 'Powerhouse' in BTI's Litigation Outlook 2014 report

Product Liability & Mass Torts

Named a Class Actions and Mass Torts 'Powerhouse' in BTI's Litigation Outlook 2014 report

honors + affiliations

Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers

Listed, The Best Lawyers in America "Lawyer of the Year" for Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants (2015)

Listed, The Best Lawyers in America (2007–2015)

Listed, Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2006–2014); Named Pennsylvania Litigation: General Commercial Star Individual (2013–2014)

Named 2014 Pennsylvania Product Liability Department Of The Year by The Legal Intelligencer

Recommended as a local litigation star for Pennsylvania for Commercial Litigation and Products Liability in Benchmark Litigation (2008–2014)

Past Co-chair, Third Circuit Judicial Council Lawyers Advisory Committee

Member, American Bar Association, Litigation Section, Class Action and Derivative Suits Committee

Recipient, Philadelphia Business Journal Outside Director of the Year (2014)

Pennsylvania Bar Association Pro Bono Award (2006)

Boston College Law School Alumni Association, Robert F. Drinan, S.J., Award (2006)

Villanova Law School, St. Thomas of Villanova Award (2009)

American Jewish Committee, Learned Hand Award (2011)

Former Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Rosemont School of the Holy Child

Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Gesu School

Director, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania

Vice Chair, U.S. Lacrosse Foundation

Former Editor-in-Chief, Villanova Law Review

Former Member, Order of the Coif

bar admissions

  • Pennsylvania
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J. Gordon Cooney, Jr.

1701 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2921
United States
Phone: +1.215.963.4806
Fax: +1.215.963.5001

J. Gordon Cooney, Jr. is the practice group leader of Morgan Lewis's Litigation Practice. He is responsible for the strategic and day-to-day operation of the Litigation Practice, in 26 offices around the world.

Mr. Cooney's practice encompasses a broad variety of commercial and civil litigation, with particular emphasis on the defense of class actions in state and federal courts, including consumer, product liability, deceptive trade practice, toxic tort, RICO, antitrust, and securities class actions. His practice has included the representation of medical device, pharmaceutical, financial services, and consumer and construction product companies in class actions throughout the nation. In addition, Mr. Cooney's practice has included substantial commercial, business, merger-and-acquisition, and appellate court litigation.

Because many challenges facing companies today present multiple dimensions—including regulatory investigations, investigations or litigation by federal and state prosecutors, shareholder, and corporate governance litigation and other class action litigation—Mr. Cooney has significant experience working with companies to shape the overall strategy to successfully navigate multijurisdictional challenges. This has included both serving as overall strategy counsel as well as working collaboratively in virtual law firms to help solve client challenges. In addition to serving as lead counsel in private class action litigation in this setting, Mr. Cooney has also actively litigated against and resolved litigation brought by state Attorneys General, including both the defense of Attorney General actions and the prosecution of constitutional challenges regarding state Attorney General use of private contingent fee counsel.

Mr. Cooney has appeared in the courts of more than 35 states, and has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and many federal circuit courts. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and as a "Star Individual" for Commercial Litigation in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business. The American Lawyer named Mr. Cooney "Litigator of the Week" in the summer of 1999.

Since 1988, Mr. Cooney has represented John Thompson, who was wrongly convicted in 1985 of both the murder of a New Orleans hotel executive and an unrelated armed carjacking which was used by the prosecutors in the murder case. As a result of the convictions, Mr. Thompson was sentenced to death by electrocution in the murder case, and to 50 years in prison without parole in the carjacking case. Over the course of 15 years of postconviction proceedings, Mr. Cooney and the Morgan Lewis team uncovered concealed blood evidence in the carjacking case, which proved that Mr. Thompson was not the carjacker, as well as witnesses, documents, and critical information that had been hidden from the defense in the murder case. Ultimately, after the carjacking conviction was vacated based on the blood evidence, a Louisiana appellate court ordered a new trial in the murder case. In May 2003, Mr. Cooney, fellow Morgan Lewis partner Michael Banks, and New Orleans lawyer Robert Glass retried the murder case. The jury deliberated just 35 minutes before finding Mr. Thompson not guilty of the murder. Mr. Thompson was released from custody after 18 years of imprisonment and has been totally exonerated of any involvement in those crimes.

Mr. Cooney is active in civic and philanthropic organizations and served for 11 years as an adjunct lecturer in law at Villanova Law School. Before joining the firm, Mr. Cooney served as a law clerk to Judge J. William Ditter, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Cooney is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania.


  • Villanova University School of Law, 1984, J.D.
  • Wesleyan University, 1981, B.A.