Michael J. Cooney - Nixon Peabody LLP

Michael J. Cooney

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2007
Phone: 202-585-8000

Counsel to a wide range of charitable and other nonprofit entities, and those who support them, Mike Cooney provides the nonprofit corporate and tax-exempt context in which these organizations can drive mission and margin. He directs the firm’s focus in higher education and exempt organizations.

What do you focus on?

Focus on opportunities

My work optimizes the ability of nonprofits to accomplish their mission by identifying opportunities for enhanced fundraising and grant access, project management, governance and legal compliance. The approach benefits from the widest array of institutions and geographies, with a fundamental understanding of what makes nonprofit institutions successful in today’s competitive environment. The focus is largely structural, with an emphasis on sustainable and organic growth through systems that align the client’s resources and goals.

Tax benefits

That work takes many forms. Charitable institutions and their donors have an array of tax benefits available to help advance their mission. We understand those incentives and advise on how to increase their impact in today’s economy. That spans program-related investments by private foundations in technology and startup companies to the proper structuring of an integrated fundraising campaign and the development of communities around university campuses.


Good governance is vital to operations and fashion approaches that make the most of precious volunteer time and resources. That includes the use of multicorporate environments and joint ventures to accomplish exempt purposes.

Risk management

At the same time, we appreciate that success involves a degree of risk, so that when challenges arise our work involves the identification of a plan and resources necessary to continue the focus on success. In the highly regulated environment in which our clients exist, it is essential to be able to marshal such resources quickly and efficiently.

Life Sciences

I work with colleges and universities doing life science research as well as help donors and entrepreneurs wanting to take advantage of PRIs to advance life science research.

Hamilton CollegeBA University of VirginiaJ.D.

Office Location

799 Ninth Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20001-4501
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2017 Lawyer of the Year in Non-Profit / Charities Law of the Washington DC Metro Area
Michael J. Cooney has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2017!

Practice Areas

Non-Profit / Charities Law
Tax Law