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Cooper to join elite lawyer organization

She was recently nominated to serve as an American Bar Foundation Fellow


Prineville resident and attorney Laura Cooper still tends to think of herself as a young lawyer putting in her time in the profession.

She was recently reminded, in a pleasantly surprising fashion, that she has not only practiced law for 24 years, but has garnered the respect and admiration of leaders in her field.

Cooper, a partner with Ball Janik LLP, learned that she was nominated to become a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. The group, founded by the American Bar Association in 1952, is recognized as a premier institute in the United States for social science and research in law.

“I didn’t realize the names of the people who already were Fellows in Oregon,” said a stunned Cooper, “because it is a pretty limited number, which is why it’s so cool (to get nominated).”

The ABF invites less than 1 percent of lawyers admitted in each U.S. jurisdiction to become a Fellow. The list for Oregon includes former state representative and attorney general Dave Frohnmayer, as well as other well-known and respected attorneys and judges.

Cooper said she never considered herself in the running for ABF Fellow. She said she had hoped to someday aspire to such a position, but felt like she hadn't yet put in the time and work of other attorneys.

Her colleagues seemed less surprised by her selection.

"Laura Cooper's dedication to her profession and the community is second to none," said Ball Janik Chairman Steve Janik. "This recognition is a testament to her achievements both professionally and personally."

Throughout her law career, Cooper has practiced real estate, business and land use law. In addition, she serves as treasurer of Oregon Women Lawyers, is a member of the executive committee of the Real Estate and Land Use Section of the Oregon State Bar, and is the former president of the Deschutes County Bar Association.

Beyond that, Cooper has provided pro-bono legal counsel to numerous nonprofit charitable organizations throughout Central Oregon, serves as vice-chair of the Central Oregon Community College board, chairs the Board of Commissioners for Housing Works.

Cooper feels that she owes it to her community to contribute in whatever ways she can. She recalled when her husband tried to explain their commitment to community service to their children.

"He put it really well when he said that community service is the rent we pay for living," she said. "I have been fortunate that we have some great organizations that match my passions."

While Cooper has only received a nomination thus far, she is all but certain to become a Fellow.

"As long as you accept, you are a Fellow," she said.

Once she joins the exclusive group, she will be asked to help further research aimed at addressing critical questions about the profession, ranging from social costs of incarceration to diversity in the legal profession.

"I will certainly learn from it," she said.




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