Matt Cooper is General Counsel of Capital One Financial Corporation, and is a member of the company’s Executive Committee. Cooper leads a legal department of 350 attorneys and legal professionals in 11 offices supporting all of Capital One’s lines of business worldwide.
Cooper joined Capital One in January 2009. Before assuming the role of General Counsel in 2018, he held various leadership roles within Capital One’s Legal Department, including serving as the Head of Litigation and as Chief Counsel for the company’s Global Credit Card Division. Prior to joining Capital One, Cooper held executive positions in the legal department of General Electric Company, and served as Deputy General Counsel of Genworth Financial. Cooper joined GE from McGuireWoods LLP.
Cooper serves on the boards of several community organizations, including the Leadership Council for Legal Diversity and Venture Richmond.
Cooper earned a B.A. with High Honors and a J.D. from the University of Virginia, and clerked for The Honorable David M. Ebel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
Capital One’s Legal Department joined PBI’s Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® initiative in 2012. Since its pro bono committee was formed in 2011, Capital One’s roughly 350 legal professionals have donated more than 16,000 hours of pro bono service in local communities from offices in the Washington, D.C., Richmond, New York, Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Las Vegas metropolitan areas. Examples of the legal department’s current pro bono initiatives include:
JusticeServer and JusticeServer 2.0
At the inaugural Supreme Court of Virginia Pro Bono Summit in 2010, Capital One’s General Counsel pledged to provide in-kind pro bono contributions from both its Legal and Technology Departments in order to facilitate efforts to bridge the “access to justice gap” in its home state of Virginia and beyond. In 2011, Capital One’s Legal Department hosted a gathering of regional pro bono leaders at its Richmond campus and announced a seed grant for the development of a new software program that could serve as both (1) a new case management system for resource-constrained legal aid organizations in Central Virginia, and (2) a portal to connect volunteer attorneys from the private sector with pro bono legal aid clients, thus enabling “distance pro bono lawyering.” National and regional law firms and other corporate legal departments matched Capital One’s seed grant, and over the course of just a few days raised several hundred thousand dollars to fund the development of a new state-of-the-art software tool which became JusticeServer®.
Over the next two years, Capital One lawyers and technologists worked with lawyers from the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation (GRBF), Central Virginia Legal Aid Society (CVLAS), and the Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) to develop JusticeServer, a cloud-based Salesforce application. The case management side of JusticeServer was launched in 2012, when CVLAS and LAJC began using it as their principal case management system, and to date, the system has been used to manage more than 35,000 legal aid cases benefitting more than 81,000 pro bono clients. The volunteer portal of JusticeServer launched in 2013, and since that time, pro bono lawyers in Virginia have used JusticeServer to provide pro bono legal services on more than 9,000 legal aid cases benefitting more than 24,000 pro bono clients on myriad civil legal matters (e.g., domestic relations, consumer law, housing, bankruptcy, employment, immigration). The system has also been used to provide pro bono legal services to hundreds of nonprofit organizations through GRBF’s Pro Bono Clearinghouse program. Today, there are more than 1,200 volunteer attorneys registered to take pro bono cases on JusticeServer.
In 2017, GRBF, CVLAS, LAJC, and Capital One selected TechBridge, a nonprofit technology development organization in Atlanta, to upgrade and enhance JusticeServer so that its portal could be used with more legal aid case management systems and deployed at scale beyond Central Virginia. In the spring of 2019, JusticeServer® 2.0 was launched, and the volunteer portal was connected with all regional legal aid organizations in Virginia. The system has since been adopted in parts of New York, and expansion to legal aid organizations in California, Massachusetts, and other jurisdictions is under consideration.
Pro Bono Clinics
Capital One attorneys and legal professionals regularly donate their time to staff a number of pro bono clinics throughout the company’s footprint, including clinics to:
- provide estate documents for the terminally ill (Virginia) and for veterans and first responders (Washington, D.C., area; Virginia; New York; and New Orleans);
- facilitate uncontested divorces (New Orleans; Washington, D.C., area; and Virginia);
- assist immigrants with renewals of visas and DACA applications (Washington, D.C., area; Virginia; and New York);
- advise the homeless regarding their legal rights and social services (New York and Virginia);
- triage clients for local legal aid offices (Dallas; Virginia; and Washington, D.C., area);
- advise artists and nonprofit organizations with routine legal issues (Virginia, Dallas, and New York); and
- advise students on the risks of identity theft and how to prevent it (Washington, D.C., area).
Capital One’s Legal Department has also partnered with PBI’s Corporate Pro Bono team to hold four Clinic in a Box® events, most recently in April 2019.
Pro Bono Appellate Work
Over the past several years, members of Capital One’s Legal Department in McLean and Richmond have drafted briefs and argued pro bono cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on behalf of prisoners contesting conditions of confinement and undocumented immigrants contesting transfers to out-of-state detention centers, in partnership with LAJC and, more recently, McGuireWoods.
Legal Volunteerism: Street Law
Three years ago, Capital One joined forces with Street Law, a nonprofit organization that creates classroom and community programs to teach students about law, democracy, and human rights, and give them the skills and confidence they need to bring about positive change.
Capital One Legal Department’s work with Street Law focuses on two initiatives: (1) the Corporate Legal Diversity Pipeline Program, in which Capital One associates visit high school students in their classrooms to educate students about the law and legal careers, and introduce them to the tools and skills necessary to prepare for college and the workforce; and (2) Legal Life Skills for Youth, which encourages young people in areas with high incidences of involvement in the juvenile justice system, aging out of foster care, or homelessness, and helps them to develop skills like conflict resolution, decision-making, communication, analytical thinking, and advocacy.
PBI is grateful to Matt for his pro bono leadership!
Click here to read about PBI’s other Annual Dinner Co-Chair, Amy Weaver.