Laura J. Cooley Associate

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Laura’s practice is focused on a wide range of labor and employment related issues. She counsels employers and represents them in federal and state court and before administrative agencies on a variety of federal and state anti-discrimination and labor laws.

Laura gained early experience in federal court representing individuals in a discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. government, arguing before the en banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and clerking for a federal judge. Her federal employment-related litigation experience includes claims brought under Title VII, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and the Administrative Procedures Act. On the state level, Laura has experience defending employers on the denial of unemployment benefits and against constructive discharge claims.

Prior to joining McGuireWoods, Laura clerked for the Honorable Arenda L. Wright Allen of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. She also was an associate at another AM Law 100 firm in Washington, D.C. She graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was a member of the Appellate Litigation Clinic, and from The College of William & Mary. 


  • Obtained jury verdict in age discrimination lawsuit in Georgia federal court.
  • Represented individuals bringing discrimination claims against the U.S. government under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedures Act in Virginia federal court and obtained preliminary injunction preventing those individuals’ discharge.
  • Obtained favorable outcome for an employer whose denial of unemployment benefits was being challenged under a theory of constructive discharge in the D.C. Court of Appeals.