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Legendary Lawyer, Loyal Alum

Earle C. Cooley, former BU Board of Trustees chair, dies at 77

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Earle C. Cooley (LAW’57), former chair of the BU Board of Trustees and a well-known Boston lawyer, died October 16. He was 77.

Cooley cofounded the Boston law firm Cooley Manion Jones, and his clients included BU, the Boston Celtics, and the Church of Scientology. He was celebrated for his adroitness in the courtroom.

Longtime friend John Silber (Hon.’95), BU president emeritus, told the Boston Globe that there was no case Cooley couldn’t win. “Earle was formidable,” Silber said. “If you had him in your corner, you were well represented. He was a very great lawyer.”

Cooley was born in Hartford, Conn. After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut, he graduated from the BU School of Law, where he was editor-in-chief of the Boston University Law Review and was chosen by the faculty as the outstanding member of his class.

He remained connected to BU, teaching a course in trial and appellate procedure at LAW, serving as the president of the LAW Alumni Association, and becoming a member of the BU Board of Trustees in 1971. He was chair from 1994 to 2001. He received a Boston University Distinguished Alumni Award and a Silver Shingle Alumni Award from LAW.

Brendan Gauthier can be reached at btgauth@gmail.com.


4 Comments on Legendary Lawyer, Loyal Alum

  • Pareidolius on 10.30.2009 at 1:15 pm

    You left out that he was the cult of Scientology’s attack dog for decades. He helped the cult ruin lives and businesses of those who tried to expose the scam.

    “I contend that Cooley is more than “just” a lawyer for Scientology. I say he is deeply allied with one of the greatest anti-intellectual movements of our time, and his activities are wildly incompatible with his status as top official of a major American university.”

    -Alex Beam, Boston Globe, September 16, 1998

  • Mary McConnell on 11.02.2009 at 11:57 pm

    Earle Cooley, Scientology and Boston University (Archive)

    Readers can find out more here:
    Earle Cooley, Scientology and Boston University (Archive)

  • Anonymous on 11.18.2009 at 1:46 am

    Aided organized scientology

    Earle Cooley raked in multi-millions of dollars in attorney fees aiding and abetting the scientology crime syndicate. He knew how to provoke scientology’s sociopathic leader into lawsuits on critics and splinter groups. Whether he won cases or lost cases for organized scientology, he made a tremendous amount of money. Cooley should be dishonored for the misery that he caused countless numbers of decent people.

  • eusebio on 12.09.2010 at 8:00 pm


    It seems like it was yesterday, when for the first time I heard the voice of Mr. Earl C. Cooley. His voice was rather calm, peaceful, serene, cool, gentle, and meek; he made everyone (at the Battle of Portland 1985) feel completely safe, secure, strong, tall, vigorous, and victorious. Once again, his voice will always be etched in my mind as something that gives me encouragement and helps me to continue living. Thank you very much for your great work, good time are my best wishes.

    ML, eusebio

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