Mark Cooney

Mark Cooney


B.A. Rutgers University 1987
J.D., summa cum laude, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, 1992

Mark Cooney is a Professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he teaches Research & Writing and Advanced Writing. Before joining the faculty, he spent ten years in private practice with civil-litigation firms, defending professional-malpractice cases and other tort cases. He specialized in civil appeals, successfully briefing and arguing appeals in the Michigan Supreme Court, the Michigan Court of Appeals, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Professor Cooney is the editor in chief of The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing, having previously served as an associate editor for four years. He has chaired the State Bar of Michigan's Appellate Practice Section and has served as a plain-language consultant on the State Bar's Standing Committee on Standard Criminal Jury Instructions. He is also a founding board member for the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society’s Advocates Guild.

Professor Cooney has been a frequent speaker and moderator at programs on legal writing and appellate practice, including programs sponsored by the Institute for Continuing Legal Education, the Michigan Appellate Assigned Counsel System, the Michigan Appellate Bench-Bar Foundation, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, the State Bar’s Appellate Practice and Young Lawyers Sections, and the Legal Writing Institute. He has also been a panelist at the State Bar’s Annual Bar Leadership Forum.

Professor Cooney authored the book Sketches on Legal Style and has authored many articles on legal writing, including articles in The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing, Student Lawyer, and TRIAL. He is a frequent contributor to the Michigan Bar Journal's “Plain Language” column. Professor Cooney has also published a textbook chapter, journal articles, and short pieces on legal malpractice, medical malpractice, appellate practice, legal ethics, and insurance coverage.

While in practice, Professor Cooney was a co-recipient of the Cooley Law Review's Distinguished Brief Award, which recognizes the three most scholarly briefs submitted to the Michigan Supreme Court in a given term, as determined by a panel of state and federal judges and law professors.

As a law student, Professor Cooney graduated first in his class and was the Law Review’s Comments Editor.



Mark Cooney, Treatises: Let the Experts Serve You, 43 Student Law. 16 (Oct. 2014) (available at

Mark Cooney, Snap, Crackle, Pop, 92 Mich. B.J. 40 (Dec. 2013).

Mark Cooney, Emergency!, 91 Mich. B.J. 50 (Nov. 2012).

Mark Cooney, Style Is Substance: Collected Cases Showing Why It Matters, 14 Scribes J. Leg. Writing 1 (2011-2012).

Mark Cooney, Acronymonious, 91 Mich. B.J. 48 (July 2012).

Mark Cooney, Plain Isn’t Plain, The Scrivener (newsletter for Scribes – The American Society of Legal Writers) 3 (Spring 2012) (reprinted in 91 Mich. B.J. 52 (June 2012)).

Mark Cooney, A Legal-Writing Carol, 90 Mich. B.J. 36 (Dec. 2011).

Mark Cooney, The Mismatch, 90 Mich. B.J. 50 (June 2011).

Mark Cooney, Are You a Hyphen-Happy Lawyer? 90 Mich. B.J. 38 (May 2011).

Mark Cooney, To Mrs. Finklebean: The Truth about Conjunctions as Sentence Starters, 89 Mich. B.J. 60 (Aug. 2010) (reprinted as A Letter to Mrs. Finklebean in 93 Mich. B.J. 60 (Aug. 2014)).

Mark Cooney, The Extra-Stuff Rule, 88 Mich. B.J. 48 (May 2009).

Mark Cooney, The Runaway Verdict, 88 Mich. B.J. 40 (Feb. 2009).

Mark Cooney, Conversation with a Brief, 87 Mich. B.J. 42 (Jan. 2008).

Mark Cooney, Do the Opposite for Better Legal Writing: Impress Sophisticated Legal Professionals with Writing that Makes Sense to Laypeople, 36 Student Law. 14 (Dec. 2007) (available at

Mark Cooney and Julie Clement, Do You Know Your Reader? 43 Tr. 80 (May 2007) (reprinted in 86 Mich. B.J. 42 (June 2007)).

Mark Cooney, Stringing Readers Along, 85 Mich. B.J. 44 (Dec. 2006).

Mark Cooney, Benching the Monday Morning Quarterback: the "Attorney Judgment" Defense to Legal-Malpractice Claims, 52 Wayne L. Rev. 1051 (2006).

Mark Cooney, Just Sue ‘Em! The Scrivener (newsletter for Scribes, American Society of Writers on Legal Subjects) 6 (Fall 2005) (reprinted in 85 Mich. B.J. 52 (May 2006)).

Mark Cooney, The Dating Game, 41 Tr. 60 (Aug. 2005) (reprinted in 84 Mich. B.J. 40 (Dec. 2005)).

Mark Cooney, A Verb's Lament, The Scrivener (newsletter for Scribes, American Society of Writers on Legal Subjects) 8 (Winter 2005) (reprinted in 85 Mich. B.J. 40 (Feb. 2006)).

Mark Cooney, Stay Active! (pt. 2), 84 Mich. B.J. 38 (June 2005).

Mark Cooney, Stay Active! (pt. 1), 84 Mich. B.J. 48 (May 2005).

Mark Cooney, Get Real about Research and Writing, 32 Student Law. 18 (May 2004) (available at

Mark Cooney, Let the Buyer Beware: Exploring the Limits on Sellers’ Attorneys’ Duties to Buyers of Real Property, 27 Mich. Real Prop. Rev. 89 (2000).

Books and Chapters in Books

Cooney, Mark. Sketches on Legal Style. Durham, North Carolina: Carolina Academic Press, 2013.

Cooney, Mark. "Medical Malpractice." In Principles of Addictions and the Law: Applications in Forensic, Mental Health, and Medical Practice, edited by Norman S. Miller, 135-157. London: Academic Press, 2010.

Cooney, Mark and Noreen L. Slank. "Post Trial Motions, Costs & Fees." In Michigan Civil Procedure. Ann Arbor, MI: Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 1999 (2001-2002 supplement).

Cooney, Mark. "The Extension of Michigan's 'Innocent Co-Insured' Doctrine: From Marriage to Business Partnerships." In National Law Anthology Series. Volume VI, Insurance Law Anthology. Arlington, VA: International Library Law Book Publishers, 1992. Previously published in 8 Thomas M. Cooley L. Rev. 637 (1991).

Book Reviews and Other Short Works

Mark Cooney, Protecting the Appellate Specialist’s Professional Judgment, 11 App. Prac. Sec. Newsltr. (State Bar of Michigan) 1 (No. 2, Spring 2007) (available at

Mark Cooney, From the Chair, 9 App. Prac. Sec. Newsltr. (State Bar of Michigan) 2 (No. 1, Fall/Winter 2004-2005) (column concerning new delay-reduction procedures in the Michigan Court of Appeals) (available at

Mark Cooney, Cox v. Board of Hospital Managers Reveals Appellate Judges’ Divergent Views on Proper Appellate Procedure and Necessity of Cross Appeals, 6 App. Prac. Sec. Newsltr. (State Bar of Michigan) 4 (No. 1, Fall 2000) (available at

Mark Cooney, Book Review, 5 App. Prac. Sec. Newsltr. (State Bar of Michigan) 13, (No. 2, Winter 2000) (reviewing Erik J. Heels and Richard P. Klau, Law, Law, Law on the Internet: The Best Legal Web Sites and More).


Mark Cooney, Speaker, Spotting Arguments in the Language: Tips for Litigators & Drafters (2014 Young Lawyers Summit, State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section, Lansing, Michigan, May 31, 2014).

Mark Cooney, Moderator, Breakout Sessions, Michigan Appellate Advocacy: A View from the Bench and Bar and Whose Appeal Is It? (2013 Michigan Appellate Bench-Bar Conference, Plymouth, Michigan, Apr. 25-26, 2013) (Both sessions focused on various aspects of appellate practice and were attended by judges, court staff, and practitioners).

Mark Cooney, Moderator, Breakout Session, Editing Workshop (2013 National Conference of Law Reviews, Lansing, Michigan, Mar. 23, 2013).

Mark Cooney, Speaker, Persuasive Writing (2012 Young Lawyers Summit, State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section, Detroit, Michigan, June 16, 2012).

Mark Cooney, Speaker, Keep the Egg on Your Face Sunny Side Up: Tips for Gracefully Surviving Unwelcome Surprises and Missteps (Legal Writing Institute 2012 Biennial Conference, New Teachers program, Palm Desert, California, May 30, 2012).

Mark Cooney, Presentation, Legal Reasoning & Case Analysis (Just the Beginning Foundation 2011 Detroit Summer Legal Institute (for Metro-Detroit high-school students), Detroit, Michigan, July 12, 2011).

Mark Cooney, Presentation, More than Mediocrity: Tips for Writing with Uncommon Clarity and Power (State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section's 4th Annual Summit, Grand Rapids, Michigan, May 21, 2011).

Mark Cooney, Panel Speaker, Collegiality Between Parallel Courts: Erie/Reverse Erie/Certified Questions (2010 Michigan Appellate Bench-Bar Conference, Plymouth, Michigan, June 11, 2010) (other panelists: Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly and U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker).

Mark Cooney, Presentation, Effective Written Advocacy II -- Writing They WANT to Read: Marshalling Persuasive Legal Arguments (ICLE Litigation Boot Camp, Plymouth, Michigan, Feb. 18, 2010).

Mark Cooney, Presentation, Effective Written Advocacy I -- Writing They WANT to Read: Shaping the Facts (ICLE Litigation Boot Camp, Plymouth, Michigan, Jan. 21, 2010).

Mark Cooney, Moderator, Behind the Bench: Lessons for Defense Counsel (Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, May 17, 2008) Michigan Defense Trial Counsel 2008 Annual Meeting program: panelists included the Honorable Maura Corrigan, Justice, Supreme Court of Michigan; the Honorable James Ryan, Circuit Judge, U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals; the Honorable Elizabeth Gleicher, Judge, Michigan Court of Appeals, and the Honorable Thomas Eveland, Chief Judge, 56th Circuit Court of Michigan (Eaton County)).

Mark Cooney, Presentation, Effective Brief-Writing (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Oct. 11, 2007; Lansing, Michigan, Oct 18, 2007; Novi, Michigan, Oct. 25, 2007) (Michigan Appellate Assigned Counsel System’s 2007 Training).

Mark Cooney, Moderator, Breakout Sessions, Do the Write Thing and Using and Improving MCR 7.212 (2007 Michigan Appellate Bench-Bar Conference, May 3-4, 2007).

Mark Cooney, Moderator, Amicus Curiae Practice in Michigan's Appellate Courts (State Bar of Michigan, Appellate Practice Section, Sept. 30, 2004) (2004 Annual Meeting Program: panelists included the Honorable Marilyn Kelly, Justice, Supreme Court of Michigan; the Honorable William C. Whitbeck, Chief Judge, Michigan Court of Appeals; and prominent appellate practitioners).

Mark Cooney, Presentation, Improving Service to Bar Organizations by Learning from Past Mistakes (State Bar of Michigan's Bar Leadership Forum, June 11, 2004).

Mark Cooney, Moderator, Sixth Circuit Appeals for Michigan Lawyers - From Basics to Best Practices (Wayne State University Law School, June 6, 2003) (panelists included the Honorable James L. Ryan, Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; the Honorable Arthur J. Tarnow, District Judge, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan; members of the clerk's office for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; and prominent appellate practitioners).

Mark Cooney, Presentation, No-Fault Insurance Law and Premises-Liability Law (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, 1997) (Oakland Mediation Center).

Mark Cooney, Presentation, Michigan's 1995 "Tort Reform" Legislation (Grand Rapids Insurance Adjusters Association Dinner, Apr. 26, 1996).


Real-World Experience

10 Years of Practice Before Joining Cooley

Specialties: Legal-malpractice Defense, Medical-malpractice Defense, Insurance Coverage, and General Tort Defense

Course: Research & Writing

Faculty links

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