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Get to Know UDC Law: Student Edition | Christian Cooper

Monday, April 9, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Erin Looney
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Among the more than 200 U.S. law schools, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law (UDC Law) consistently ranks in the top 10 for diversity. In 2017, U.S. News & World Report gave the School the #7 spot, and the Princeton Review identified the faculty as 4th most diverse in the U.S. PreLaw gave the school an A+ rating in 2017 and ranked UDC Law at #8 for African American students for 2018.

Behind the outstanding rankings are even more impressive people, and UDC Law is excited to share their goals, achievements, and inspiring stories!

With the fourth highest female enrollment among U.S. law schools, it’s easy to find a roster of outstanding women to feature for Get to Know UDC Law. It’s also no chore to identify students in their 3L or 4L years who have a long list of accomplishments. In fact, we have many more of both to introduce over the coming weeks. However, just to shake things up, we’re doing something a little different for this edition of Get to Know UDC Law.

Meet Christian Cooper

Christian Cooper

Christian Cooper, a 2L from Surprise, Arizona, has the kind of varied interests and background that can make it tough to settle on a post-graduation path. This is in no way a bad thing. In fact, it’s his range that makes Cooper an asset to UDC Law. On one hand, with experience in the Arizona State Senate, the U.S. Congress and in political consulting, a career in legislation is a logical fit. On the other hand, as a former athlete at the collegiate and professional level, sports law makes just as much sense (more on that sports career in a moment). “I’m torn between two goals,” he said. “One side of me would like to work as a legislative attorney, (but) the other side would like to work in a general counsel office of a sports team or even open my own sports management firm.”

Regardless of which direction he chooses after graduation, Cooper’s engagement in his education at UDC Law should prepare him for success. He has served on several committees at the school, including the curriculum, clinical affairs and student services committees. He’s also active in Phi Alpha Delta (PAD), where he was Marshal this year. Next year, he will be PAD’s Vice-Justice, a position he says he is excited to take on so he can “leave a lasting mark on this school.” As well, he is the Project Officer for the Sports and Entertainment Law Students Association.

Cooper has also been active in community service projects since he was in elementary school when he volunteered at food banks and in neighborhood clean ups. Prior to law school, he worked with Aspire, an organization that helps older adults maintain their independence as they age. With Aspire, his role was to help “in any way I could, but mostly I played the piano for everyone.”

Christian Cooper, Mi Chau and Sherrod Terry
Cooper with fellow students and Phi Alpha Delta officers, Mi Chau (front) and Sherrod Terry.

Meeting UDC Law’s 40-hour community service requirement, then, was something that came naturally by the time he entered the program. Cooper worked with Dr. Edgar Cahn’s Benefits Check Program and with the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center Advice and Referral Clinic. With Benefits Check, he and other UDC Law students assisted elderly citizens in identifying benefits programs to which they are entitled and ensuring they were receiving those benefits. He credits Professor Saleema Snow for introducing him to the Advice and Referral Clinic, through which he provided support to practicing attorneys as they gave pro bono advice to people who were unable to afford it. Of his community service, Cooper said, “It truly is an unbelievable experience to meet with someone who needs help and then be able to provide them that help.”

Another important part of the UDC Law experience is our top-ranked clinical program. Students participate in legal clinics to represent clients and learn substantive law and lawyering skills in the most realistic setting. This semester, Cooper participated in the Legislation Clinic, directed by Professor Marcy Karin, an opportunity that has provided him hands on experience to help him make that tough decision between a career in sports law or legislation.

Professor Karin and the Legislation Clinic have likely made a strong case for the legislative route, and surely being elected to office strengthens the possibility for the legislative path. That’s right; Cooper was once elected Precinct Committeeman, a political position in Arizona that he called “the lowest political office one could be elected to. There is no salary, but the work is nevertheless still important.”

However, there are at least as many factors that give the sports law path an edge. Remember the aforementioned professional sports career? As an undergraduate, Cooper briefly played football for San Diego State University before deciding to finish his B.A. in Political Science and Minor in Justice Studies back home at Arizona State. There, he played collegiate paintball, which led to a stint in professional paintball with the Phoenix Contact. When he has a minute to breathe from law school, he still plays semi-professionally with a team in Baltimore. Through his time as a multi-sport athlete, he became interested in the business and legal side of the sports industry.

Cooper and other players on the golf course
Last summer, Cooper played in the D.C. Chamber of Commerce annual charity golf tournament as part of his Rauh Summer Public Interest Fellowship. Tough assignment.

Cooper has used his interest in the business of sports and his high-level experience as an athlete to help lay the groundwork should he choose the sports law direction. Last summer, part of Cooper’s Rauh Summer Public Interest Fellowship involved playing a little golf at the D.C. Chamber of Commerce annual charity golf tournament because, as he points out, “I am secretly good at golf.” On top of being not-so-secretly good at golf, Cooper has also won international business competitions in sports and entertainment marketing, business law and law ethics.

At this point, Cooper may feel equally drawn to both a legislative career and a sports law career, but rest assured, he’ll have support whichever way he leans when his time at UDC Law comes to an end. As he tells it, his family are his biggest fans. The oldest of three siblings and the oldest cousin, Cooper isn’t shy about returning the sentiment. “I’m a big momma’s boy,” he said, “and love my grandma and pappy like no one can imagine.”

Cooper and family
Cooper and his family at Christmas.

However, it’s his father whose support has been most unwavering, no matter his decisions. As part of this series, we ask students to name someone who inspires them. Cooper’s answer is best told through his own words.

The story of my Dad and I could be written in numerous volumes. So I guess I will sum it up with this. Few, and I mean very few, people in this world have an unbelievably supportive father like mine. My Dad has supported me in every single aspect in my life. Regardless of what I wanted to do in life, from wanting to play an off-brand sport like paintball to taking the plunge into law school, my Dad has always made me feel like I was the greatest person to have ever done anything.

Whether he’s the greatest legislative attorney ever, a hall of fame sports attorney or just really good at whatever he does, Cooper will certainly keep it interesting. With his family behind him, he won’t have to do it alone.

Group photo at gala
At the D.C. Chamber of Commerce gala with his supervisor and staff.
Cooper in paintball gear
Before law school, Cooper played with a professional paintball team in Phoenix.
Cooper and dog
He now plays with the Baltimore Nasty, a semi-professional team.



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