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James M. Cooper

James M. Cooper

Professor of Law

(619) 525-1430


James Cooper is Professor of Law at California Western.  Professor Cooper has served as Associate Dean, Experiential Learning and an Assistant Dean at the law school. 

Professor Cooper is a serial disrupter – first in the law reform movement in Latin America and later with governments and emerging technology companies readying for Law 4.0.  
For more than two decades, he directed Proyecto ACCESO, a judicial technology transfer project funded by governments, foundations, and international agencies, raising more than $US 5 million for this initiative. As Latin American countries moved their criminal systems from the inquisitorial model to the adversarial model, Professor Cooper consulted for the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of State, the Organization of American States, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Bolivian President’s Office for the Constituent Assembly negotiations, Mexico’s Executive Branch (Los Pinos), Paraguay’s Senate, and a number of other governments, international agencies, regional aid organizations, and technical cooperation agencies. 

A Cambridge University-trained Barrister and Solicitor, he started his career with Baker & McKenzie, facilitating international business transactions and has been a faculty member at the University of Strathclyde Law School in Glasgow, Scotland and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.  Professor Cooper has been a Visiting Professor at UC San Diego’s Earl Warren College, a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies at UC San Diego, a Visiting Professor at the Franz von Liszt Institute at Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany, and a Short Term Visiting Scholar at the University of Macau. He currently serves as a Research Fellow at the Singapore University of Social Sciences and a Visiting Professor at the University of Heidelberg in its Master of Law program in Santiago de Chile. Since 2004 he has been a member of the academic staff of the Heidelberg Center for Latin America Cooper where he co-directed the International Post Graduate Program co-sponsored by the University of Heidelberg, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, University of Chile, and several other leading universities around Latin America.   

Professor Cooper’s scholarship has appeared in leading journals in North America, South America, and Europe. He has been a member of the U.S. government’s delegation to the World Intellectual Property Organization.  His public policy work has been commissioned by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation of Germany and the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission of the Organization of American States. 

He contributes to newspapers, television, and radio news programs including El Mercurio, Globe and Mail, Miami Herald, Providence Journal, Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, San Diego Union Tribune, Marie Claire, National Public Radio’s Marketplace, Latino U.S.A., and The World, KPBS Radio, KUSI TV, Canadian Broadcast Corporation’s As It Happens and Newsworld, Irish National Radio, Bloomberg Law, NBC News, Univision News, Voice of San Diego, The Coronado News, and Fox News. Professor Cooper has directed and produced documentary films and public service announcements for the BBC, Channel Four (UK), and the Bolivian, Chilean, German, and U.S. Governments.  Some of his law review articles have been paired with documentary films he co-directed on the same topics.  

A frequent speaker, Cooper has presented at the Directors Guild of America, Hague Appeal for Peace, United Nations Congress on Public International Law, United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues, Commonwealth Club of California, COMICON, Auditoria Democratica Andina, National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Rotary Club, World Bank, a joint session of the Paraguayan Congress, and the World Affairs Council. Professor Cooper has been profiled in The Wall Street Journal, The American Bar Association Journal, and in The Washington Post and featured in the Daily Mail, New York Times, South China Morning Post, Time Magazine, and USA Today.

Professor Cooper’s work has recently focused on the legal regulation of emerging technologies including blockchain, artificial intelligence, and the metaverse.  He has been an advisor to blockchain companies in Asia and North America. Professor Cooper has written extensively on financial technology, publishing in/on CGN Noticias, The Coronado News, The Messenger, The Taipei Times, The International Business Times, The Business Times of Singapore, The Hill, Yahoo! Finance, Los Angeles Lawyer, Cointelegraph, Coindesk and among other platforms. Professor Cooper is a member of the Editorial Board of Revista DESC, and the journal of Faculdades de Campinas, Brazil.  Professor Cooper is a member of the Editorial Board of The Journal of Digital Assets, a publication of the Korea Fintech Society.

  • LLM, University of Cambridge [international law]
  • JD, University of Toronto
  • BA, University of Toronto [high distinction, political science]
  • International Business Transactions;
  • Torts I;
  • Comparative Law;
  • International Trade Law;
  • International Law

Selected Books

  • James M. Cooper, El Desafío Bolivariano Hacia La Modernidad: Derechos Humanos Y Pluralismo Legal En El Nuevo Estado De Bolivia (2016).
  • Thomas D. Barton & James M. Cooper, Propiedad Intelectual: Cómo Prevenir y Resolver Problemas (Marlene Riethmüller Q. trans., Librotecnia 2015) (translating Thomas D. Barton & James M. Cooper, Preventing and Resolving Intellectual Property Problems: Understanding and Using an Evolved System, Research Report of Patent and Trademark Office Study, Memorandum Of Understanding 2010-140-117 (July 30, 2012) (on file with authors).
  • James M. Cooper, Environment and The Law in Amazonia: A Plurilateral Encounter (James M. Cooper & Christine Hunefeldt eds., 2013)).

    Selected Articles and Book Chapters

  • James M. Cooper, Are ‘Friends’ Electric? A Comparativist Approach to Guidelines for the Development and Implementation of Artificial Intelligence in the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America, 42 Boston U. Int’l L. J. 121 (2024).
  • James M. Cooper, Everybody Wants to Rule the World:  Central Bank Digital Currencies in the Era of Decoupling the World’s Two Largest Economies, Wash. J. of Law, Tech. & Arts (forthcoming, Summer 2024).

  • James M. Cooper, Intellectual Property Piracy in the Time of the Metaverse, 63 IDEA – L. Rev. of Frankin Pierce Center for IP 479 (2023)
  • James M. Cooper, Bizarre Love Triangle:  The Trilateral Responses to Tame the United States-Mexico Border, 28 Sw. J. Int’l L. 1 (2022).
  • James M. Cooper, Same As It Ever Was:  The Tijuana River Sewage Crisis, Non-State Actors, and the State, Cardozo Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 175 (2022),
  • James M. Cooper, Games Without Frontiers:  The Increasing Importance of Intellectual Property Rights for the People’s Republic of China, 22 Wake Forest J. of Bus. & Intel. Prop. L. 43 (2021),
  • James M. Cooper, Traditional Knowledge in Taiwan: A Call for Greater Participation of Indigenous Peoples in the Global Intellectual Property Marketplace, Vanderbilt J. Transnat’l L. (forthcoming, fall 2020).
  • James M. Cooper,  Legal Pluralism and the Challenge to Human Rights in the New Plurinational State Bolvia 17 Wash. U. Global St. L. Rev. 1 (2018).
  • James M. Cooper, The United States, Mexico, and the War on Drugs in the Trump Administration, 25 Willamette J. Int’l L & Dis. Res. 234 (2018).
  • James M. Cooper, 預防與解決知識產權糾紛:理解以及利用現有系統 對專利商標局的調查 (Preventing and Resolving Intellectual Property Problems: Understanding and Using an Evolving System), Yunlin Tech J. Science & Technology L. (National Yunlin University of Science & Technology, Taiwan) (May 2017) (with Thomas D. Barton).
  • James M. Cooper, The Continuing Challenges Posed by Intellectual Property Piracy and the Opportunities for Taiwan (仿冒智慧財 產權 帶來的持續挑戰 和對台灣的機會) in New Thoughts on the Current Issues and Future Trends of Law (本書書名是 法律探微今與明的新學思) (edited by Mau-Lin Shr & Pei-Fen Tsai) (published in Mandarin by Linking Publishing Company with sponsorship by the Taiwanese National Ministry of Justice (2017).
  • James M. Cooper, Mecanismos para la efectividad de la persecución penal de las empresas en los Estados Unidos, in El Derecho Penal Continental y Anglosajón en la Era de la Globalización: Responsabilidad penal empresarial (2017).
  • James M. Cooper, The Rise of Private Actors at the United States-Mexico Border, 33 Wisconsin Int’l L.J. (2016).
  • James M. Cooper, The Bolivian Challenge to Modernity: Legal Pluralism and Human Rights in the New Bolivia (2016).
  • James M. Cooper, The Yasuní Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini Initiative: Creative Problem Solving in Amazonia, in Amazonia: National Politics and Interests: Environment and Law 54 (James M. Cooper & Christine Hunefeldt eds., 2013).
  • Thomas D. Barton & James M. Cooper, Symposium Introduction: Advancing Intellectual Property Goals Through Prevention and Alternative Dispute Resolution, 43 Cal. W. Int’l L.J. 5 (2012).
  • James M. Cooper & Carlos Ruffinelli, A Development Model Meets Piracy in Paraguay, 43 Cal. West. Int'll.j. 197 (2012).
  • James M. Cooper, The North American Free Trade Agreement and Its Legacy on the Resolution of Intellectual Property Disputes, 43 Cal. West. Int’l L.J. 157 (2012).
  • James M. Cooper, El Debate Actual Sobre la Reforma Migratoria en EE.UU., 4 Extensión 23 (Nov. 2011).
  • James M. Cooper, Competing Legal Culture and Legal Reform: The Battle of Chile, 29 Mich. J. Int’l L. 501 (2008).
  • James M. Cooper, Introducción a la Reforma Procesal Civil Lecciones Acerca de la Reforma Jurídica, Revista de la Facultad de Derecho, Universidad Mayor, Chile, Año VII, Número 7, 161 (2008).
  • James M. Cooper, Tribunales de Rehabilitación de Drogodependientes: Un Mecanismo Para Abordar el Aspecto de la Demanda, en la Guerra a las Drogas, in Justicia Penal y Adicciones: Tribunales de Tratamiento Como Alternativa a la Sanción 1 (2007).


  • Some Reflections on the Fourth Chilean-German-Tanzanian Legal Talk, 4:2 DESC Rev. (Law, Economics and Contemporary Society) (Dec. 2021),
  • Inter-Am. Drug Abuse Control Comm’n, Technical Report on Alternatives to Incarceration for Drug-Related Offenses (2015) (serving as External Legal Advisor),
  • James Cooper, Una perspectiva de los últimos 15 años, in Ponencias del Seminario Internacional “Desafíos actuales y futuros de la persecución penal y de la atención a víctimas y testigos en Chile” [Proceedings of the International Conference: Current and Future Challenges for Prosecution in Chile with Consideration for Victims and Witnesses] 48 (Fiscalía Nacional [National Prosecuting Authority of Chile] ed., 2013),
  • James M. Cooper, Punching Above Our Weight: International Legal Studies at California Western School of Law, 44 Cal. West. Int’l L.J. 217 (2014).
  • Thomas D. Barton & James M. Cooper, Resolving Intellectual Property Problems Through Alternative Dispute Resolution, in World Intellectual Property Organization Meeting Papers (2014) (serving on the Advisory Committee on Enforcement),
  • James Cooper & Yvette Lopez, The Third Rail of U.S. Politics: The Current Immigration Debate in the United States (June 2011) (paper for the Friedrich Ebert Foundation),
  • James M. Cooper, The Complicated Relationship: A Snapshot of the U.S. Mexico Border, Int'l Rep. of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, 2015 Issue 10, at 35,
  • James M. Cooper, William J. Aceves, Alejandro Gonzalez, & Pedro Egaña, The Life Cycle of Immigration: A Tale of Two Migrants, 6 Rutgers J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 259 (2009).
  • James M. Cooper, Proyecto ACCESO: Using Popular Culture to Build the Rule of Law in Latin America, 5 Rutgers J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 378 (2008).