Miles M. Cooley
Miles Michael Cooley is an American entertainment attorney, foster care activist, and public speaker. He is a name partner at Freedman, Taitelman + Cooley LLP and former Chief Legal Officer and Chief Operating Officer of CMNTY Culture. Over the course of his legal career, Cooley has handled entertainment disputes and transactions, contract, employment, intellectual property, trade secret, and partnership disputes, as well as business tort, unfair competition, and real estate litigation for his local, national, and international clients. He has served as the outside general counsel for media companies, entertainment, and sports talent, and high-net-worth individuals and has represented sports franchises, music, film, and television creatives, and social media and cultural influencers, including Rihanna, Jay-Z, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Naomi Osaka, Philip Lawrence, Bakari Sellers, The Shade Room, MBK Entertainment, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Clippers, Manifest Content, and The Record Plant recording studio.
In addition to handling trials, arbitrations, mediations, and entertainment transactions, Cooley also provides pre-litigation counseling on legal business strategy, public relations, and crisis management issues and resolves problems and disputes without exposing clients to the risk and expense of litigation. Cooley is admitted to practice before all courts in California and belongs to the National Bar Association and the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association.
Early life and education
Born in 1969 to teenage parents, Cooley lived in several unhealthy settings as a child. At 1, his mother left for a year, and when he was just 5, he found her dead from a drug overdose, so he was put up for adoption. He spent seven years with a family who eventually put him in foster care, moving from one foster home to another, settling at Sacramento Children's Home.
A school psychologist named Leslie Cooley was always there for him, taking him skiing and sometimes fishing. At 18, Leslie Cooley adopted Miles. He attended Sacramento City College and later transferred to UC Berkeley, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.
In 1990, Cooley reunited with his father, drummer Miles Robinson, who has played with the band The Fifth Dimension for more than 40 years, and they have a close relationship.
In 2017, Cooley was the keynote speaker at the Sacramento Children’s Home’s 150th Anniversary Luncheon at Golden 1 Center and Anniversary Gala at Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento, honoring the place that gave him a home when he had no other place to go.
Cooley holds a JD from the University of California Berkeley School of Law and a BA in Political Science from the University of California Berkeley.
After his undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley, Miles took a Peace Corps assignment in Ecuador, where he had a miserable first year, not getting anything done. But later, he dug deep in many ways and did notable projects for women and children.
At Berkeley Law, Cooley won the best oral argument award in first-year moot court and in his third year, won the McBaine Honors Moot Court Competition’s Best Brief Award and the American Jurisprudence Award in Federalism.
After graduating law school at Berkeley Law School, Cooley went on to practice civil litigation in San Francisco and then in Los Angeles.
From 1997 – 2000, he worked at Steefel, Levitt & Weiss in San Francisco, where he did legal research and writing for litigation matters for the firm’s clients.
In 2000, he joined Allen Matkins LLP in Los Angeles, working on commercial litigation matters for real estate and corporate clients, including extensive research, writing, discovery, motion practice, and court hearing experience.
He then joined Reed Smith LLP as an associate in 2003, handling litigation matters for corporate clients, carrying out significant research, writing, deposition, motion practice, and court hearing. In 2007, Cooley became a partner in the firm, leading representation of a wide range of firm clients in domestic and international business, entertainment, real estate, consumer class action, and insurance disputes. One afternoon, a senior music law partner who had just joined the firm called him into his office asking if he would like to help him on a case for a hip-hop star who had been sued by an extra on a music video shoot. The extra had allegedly gotten into an altercation with the rapper’s bodyguards and subsequently filed suit. The rapper was 50 Cent, and the video was for In da Club. After successfully resolving the extra’s lawsuit, Cooley ended up riding along on the 50 Cent rocket ship and doing much of his litigation work for many years after that.
While at Reed Smith, Cooley was later hired by Rihanna to be her outside general counsel, a job he held for several years, and where he also did coveted legal work for Jay-Z and other top entertainers, high net-worth individuals and families, and media companies.
In 2016, Cooley joined Kelley Drye & Warren as a partner, where his practice emphasized creative resolution of commercial, entertainment, and intellectual property disputes for Myriad corporate clients, entertainment and social media talent, athletes, high-net-worth individuals, as well as counseling entertainment talent and media companies in several talent-related business entertainment transactions.
In 2018, he became a partner at DLA Piper LLP, where he advised media and entertainment businesses in all legal matters, providing practical and results-oriented advice and counsel to clients, effectively leading large teams to drive business objectives, and delivering wins in crisis management situations, entertainment, and media-related business transactions, and high-stakes litigation matters.
In October 2022, Cooley joined CMNTY Culture, a media and entertainment company, as a CLO and COO. He oversaw all legal and operational matters for its portfolio businesses, including a record label, music publishing company, filmed content business, and a $750mm commercial real estate development project CMNTY Culture Campus in Hollywood, California. He developed four verticals, CMNTY Culture RCRDS, CMNTY Culture Publishing, CMNTY Culture Films, and CMNTY Culture Campus.
In January 2022, Cooley joined Freedman + Taitelman LLP, Century City Law, as a partner and litigator and in September 2023, was made a name partner with the firm, now Freedman, Taitelman + Cooley LLP
Cooley is actively engaged in the civic life of the Los Angeles community and the nation. He serves on the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights National Board of Directors and has fought to protect voting rights nationwide since 2004. His extensive pro bono work also includes helping nonprofits that advocate for foster children. He works on local, state, and national foster care issues as a member of the Advisory Board of John Burton Advocates for Youth and as a counsel to Peace4Kids in South Central Los Angeles. Cooley has helped pass significant legislation for the benefit of foster children in California, including AB 12 and funding for foster care legal advocates. He has also been involved in various civic and legal matters related to racial and social justice and community empowerment. Between his undergraduate and law school education at Berkeley, Cooley served two years as a community development volunteer with the United States Peace Corps in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, working on social programs for women and children.
• Speaker, “The Key to Turning Adversity Into Future Superpower,” TEDx Indiana University, November 8, 2019
• Presenter, “Ace Your Workplace Investigations,” National Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section Conference, Miami, Florida, October 23, 2019.
• Commencement Speaker, University of California, Berkeley Hope Scholars’ Program, May 5, 2019. Presenter, “The Talent Game: Advocacy on Steroids,” DMX Digital Music Conference, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, November 6, 2017.
• Moderator, "Bay Area Teams: Leadership Roundtable," University of California, Berkeley Law Sports and Society Conference, Berkeley, California, April 14, 2017.
• Keynote speaker at the Sacramento Children’s Home’s 150th Anniversary Business Luncheon on February 1, 2017
• Moderator, “Coaching Beyond the Field: Preparing Top College Athletes for the Pros,” University of California Berkeley Law Sport and Law Conference, April 15, 2016.
• Presenter, “Talent Representation,” The Rel/Event Series, Part II, April 8, 2016.
• Lecturer, “The Music Business and Marketing,” University of California - Los Angeles Anderson School, July 10, 2015.
• Presenter, “The Intersection of Entertainment and Sports,” University of California Berkeley Law Sports Law Conference, April 3, 2015.
• Los Angeles Business Journal: Top Minority Attorney (2020)
• Los Angeles Business Journal: Most Influential Minority Attorney (2019)
• Lawyers of Distinction, 2022
Cooley is married to Claudia, and they have a son, Enzo Cooley. He was previously married to actress Tamara Taylor but divorced in 2012. Miles was adopted by Dr. Leslie Cooley, who is the daughter of former banker and Wells Fargo and Seafirst National chief, Richard P. Cooley.