Emily Cooper, Legal Director

Emily Cooper head shot square

Emily leads a team of attorneys and advocates who work to uphold the rights of Oregonians with disabilities.

She spearheads DRO’s class-action litigation, including the Wyatt v. Brown lawsuit seeking a foster care system that provides children with the healthcare, placements, and services that they need to thrive.

She also oversees enforcement of the settlement agreement reached in our landmark disability employment lawsuit Lane v.  Brown. The agreement calls for 1,115 Oregonians with intellectual and developmental disabilities working in sheltered workshops to receive jobs in the community at equal pay and 7,000 Oregonians with intellectual and developmental to receive services to help them find a community job.

Emily has testified before the Oregon legislature multiple times, including in favor of legislation to protect the rights of jail inmates who experience mental health conditions and legislation to ban the use of canines for cell extractions in Oregon correctional facilities, which became law in 2019.

Previously, she served as a Senior Attorney at Disability Rights Washington for nearly eleven years. She was the lead attorney in the Trueblood v. DSHS class-action lawsuit that upheld the constitutional rights of people with mental health conditions in jails to receive quick access to mental health evaluations and treatment so that they can aid in their defense. The case resulted in  $85 million dollars in contempt fines against the state of Washington.

Emily was also an Adjunct Law Professor at Seattle University School of Law from 2014 to 2017, served on the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) of Washington’s Board of Directors from 2011 to 2017, and served as the Director of Advocacy for the Washington Attorneys with Disabilities Association (“WADA”) from 2013 to 2016. Emily graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 2003.