J. James Cooper Photo

Jim is a member of the Insurance Recovery and Shipping groups in Reed Smith’s Houston office. He has more than 30 years of experience handling multimillion-dollar insurance coverage disputes through litigation or arbitration, many involving the construction, energy or chemical sectors. He also handles complex commercial litigation in the shipping industry, including charter party disputes, damage to international shipments of cargo, vessel arrests and claims involving maritime liens. He has extensive experience prosecuting and defending maritime arrest and attachment claims under U.S. Admiralty Rules B, C and D.


  • Tulane Law School, 1984, J.D., cum laude
  • Wabash College, 1981, B.A.

  • Texas

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court - Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court - Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court - Western District of Texas

  • Proctor, Maritime Law Association of the United States (1986 – present)
  • Member, State Bar of Texas
    • Chair, Insurance Law Section (2015 – 2016)
    • Director, Advanced Insurance Law Course (2014)
  • Member, College of the State Bar of Texas
  • Member, American Bar Association
    • Co-Chair, Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee’s 26th Annual Conference (2014)
    • Co-Chair, Emerging Insurance Coverage Issues Subcommittee (2009 – 2014)
    • Co-Chair, Products Liability Insurance Coverage Subcommittee (1999 – 2009)
  • Member, Houston Bar Association
    • Former Co- Chair, Historical Committee
    • Former Co-Chair, Professionalism Committee
  • Counselor/Vice President, Garland Walker Chapter of the American Inns of Court (Board member since 2000)
  • Nominating Committee, Texas Bar Foundation (2014 – present)
  • Member, Board of Contributing Editors, Lexis/Nexis Texas Annotated Insurance Code (2006 – 2014)
  • Founding Member, Houston Society of Policyholder Insurance Coverage Lawyers
  • Associate Member, Risk & Insurance Management Society
  • Faculty, Tulane Law School, Civil – Pre-Trial Litigation Intersession Boot Camp, 2016
  • Faculty, University of Texas Insurance Law Institute
  • Faculty & Former Course Director, State Bar of Texas Advanced Insurance Law Course
  • Former Faculty, South Texas College of Law Insurance Law Symposium
  • Former Faculty, The University of Texas Admiralty and Maritime Conference
  • Managing Editor, The Maritime Lawyer (1983 – 1984) (now known as Tulane Maritime Law Journal)

Awards & Recognition

  • Ranked in Chambers USA for Texas Insurance, 2005-2020 
  • Fellow, American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel (ACCEC) (2016)
  • Received the Best Lawyers™ 2019 Insurance Law "Lawyer of the Year" award in Houston
  • Selected through peer review for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© for Insurance Law, 2014-2021
  • Selected for inclusion in the Texas Super Lawyers list for Insurance Coverage (2006-2019)
  • Who's Who Legal: Insurance & Reinsurance (2016)
  • Guide to the World's Leading Insurance & Reinsurance Lawyers (2007 - 2015)
  • AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell® PEER REVIEW RATINGS™ (1995 - 2015)
  • Texas Lawyer Insurance Section of the Year (2014)
  • Garland Walker American Inn of Court Outstanding Service Award (2015)
  • National Program Awards, American Inns of Court (2004, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015)
  • President’s Award recognizing outstanding service as Chair of Houston Bar Association’s Historical Committee (2013)
  • Jim D. Bowmer Professionalism Award from the College of the State Bar of Texas (2012) (highest professionalism award from the Texas State Bar)
  • President’s Award recognizing outstanding service as Chair of Houston Bar Association’s Professionalism Committee (2010)

Civic Involvement

  • 2013 - present - Deacon, West University Baptist Church
  • 2014 - 2015 - Board Member, Casa El Buen Samaritano

In the News

  • 10 August 2017 "Excess Director Pay Claims Are Insurable, 5th Circ. Told" Law360

Notable Quotes

  • 5 September 2017 "Saturated: Claims Flood in After Harvey Exits" Risk & Insurance
  • 29 August 2017 "New Texas Law Presents Another Burden for Harvey Victims" Wall Street Journal
  • 5 October 2015 "Reed Smith Adds Gardere Insurance Recovery Duo In Houston" Law360
  • 7 December 2015 "Texas Justices' Exxon Ruling Comes With Catch For Insurers" Law360