Gail Cooper, a lawyer with 27 years' experience in litigation, is honored and excited to be PCC's new general counsel.


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Gail Cooper, a lawyer with 27 years’ experience in litigation, is honored and excited to be PCC’s new general counsel.

Cooper said the new job would keep her on her toes, but found the challenge invigorating.

“I’ve hit the ground running and plan to be sprinting through for a long time,” she said.

Cooper’s job, newly created, is to provide legal counsel and make sure PCC stays within the law on issues regarding students, faculty, staff and collective bargaining — among others, Cooper said.

Not only is the counsel position new for PCC, it is for Cooper as well.

Cooper said she expected all the subjects covered in her law classes to be utilized as general counsel.

“It truly calls upon every area of the law,” she said.

According to her resume, Cooper earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations with an emphasis in economics, and graduated with highest honors.

Cooper received numerous awards; the American Jurisprudence Award in Constitutional law, several outstanding academic performance citations; and was on the Dean’s Honor roll for four years at UC Davis.

Additionally, her law background includes a wide range of cases to support her new endeavor.

Specializing in all aspects of litigation in federal and state courts, including trials, arbitration and mediation, Cooper highlighted her involvement in several high profile cases.

In some of the highly publicized cases, she defended businesses facing bogus discrimination and personal injury claims, filed by professional plaintiffs who specialized in collecting out-of-court settlements from defendants who couldn’t afford the court process.

According to PCC’s Director of Public Relations Juan Gutierrez, the college’s reputation was an asset in the hiring search process and drew many eligible applicants. Of the many candidates, he said, Cooper was the most qualified.

In addition to Cooper’s strong litigation experience, she speaks French fluently.

She joked that her new job has kept her personal hobbies a little neglected, but she likes to travel, enjoys the mountains so she has a vacation home in Big Bear Lake. Cooper has lived within the college district for 16 years. She has a son who is a sophomore at her alma mater, UC Davis.

“[Cooper earned her law degree at] UCLA School of Law, is an experienced and trained litigator and has been practicing law at the highest level for 27 years,” President Mark Rocha said when he submitted her as the final candidate to the Board of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees confirmed Cooper’s appointment by a unanimous vote.

Rocha proposed the new general counsel post during the spring 2011 semester, in order to address the numerous and wide array of legal issues that PCC faces in its normal course of business, as well as to reduce the need for outside counsel, he said.

Gail Cooper, general counsel, chats during an intermission at a Board of Trustees meeting on Sept. 7 (Courier)

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