Michael Cooney is a partner at the international law firm Nixon Peabody LLP and the head of its higher education and exempt organizations groups. He has spent more than a quarter century at the firm representing a range of colleges, universities, and their related affiliates.
Cooney has advised a number of higher education institutions on a variety of issues, including the merger of a stand-alone law school into a state university system and an independent medical school into a nationwide educational nonprofit. He has assisted in the spin-out of assets from a for-profit company into a tax-exempt university. Cooney has also advised a wide range of other affiliations, with particular attention to public university foundations, whether for fundraising and management or technology development. He represented both a major university and its related foundation in IRS coordinated audits.
Cooney’s familiarity with funding mechanisms, from charitable giving to tax-exempt financing and tax credits, provides a solid base for facilities development. He has advised institutions on distance learning and the integration of new technologies into instruction. His work has taken him abroad, with representation of interests and facilities from France to China, and new programs and facilities in Prague and Abu Dhabi. Closer to home, his firm’s Campus Infrastructure and Community Development Initiative has helped assure a vibrant atmosphere around campuses.
Cooney was the first non-business officer elected to the governing board of the Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers. Cooney is a member and past speaker of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, as well as a member of the New York; Washington, D.C.; and Florida bar associations.
He earned his B.A. in Russian studies from Hamilton College and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.