Firm Announces New Compliance & Government Investigations Leadership as Dietz Fills Cooper’s Vacancy

Nashville, Tenn., (August 3, 2021) – Bass, Berry & Sims is pleased to announce that Robert E. Cooper, Jr., former Tennessee Attorney General who most recently served as Metro Nashville Director of Law, has returned to the firm as a member in the Compliance & Government Investigations (CGI) Practice. As previously announced, Wallace W. Dietz, who served as chair of the CGI Practice for many years and has been with the firm since 1983, has departed to assume the Metro Nashville Director of Law vacancy left by Cooper. Members John E. Kelly and Lisa S. Rivera have been appointed the new co-chairs of the firm’s CGI Practice.

“We are thrilled that Bob is once again joining the firm following his service to the City of Nashville. His experience there, coupled with his unique background as Tennessee’s Attorney General, will be invaluable to clients,” said Todd Rolapp, managing partner of Bass, Berry & Sims. “Bob’s return, and the fact that Wally will succeed him at the Mayor’s office, speaks volumes about our firm’s commitment to public service and the caliber of talent we attract.”

Cooper, Bob facebook 2021Cooper rejoins Bass, Berry & Sims after serving as Metro Nashville Director of Law since 2019. In a statement regarding his departure, Nashville Mayor John Cooper called Bob Cooper a “great legal mind and a committed public servant.”

Cooper has represented clients nationwide on matters related to compliance and government investigations, litigation, administrative law, consumer protection, and nonprofit and charitable entities.

Cooper’s practice will continue to focus on defending clients in state Attorney General (AG) enforcement actions, which have ramped up over the past decade. Given his past role as Tennessee AG from 2006-2014, Cooper is well positioned to understand the unique features of state AG investigations. Cooper’s accomplishments as Tennessee AG include serving on the negotiating committee for mortgage servicing claims against the nation’s five largest banks that resulted in a $5 billion settlement in 2012 by 49 attorneys general and the federal government; creating the Medicaid fraud division within the AG’s office that recovered approximately $150 million for the state; and the creation of the Public Interest Division, which has recovered more than $130 million in charitable funds through investigations and litigation.

Cooper first joined Bass, Berry & Sims in 1984 and served there until he joined Tennessee’s then-Governor Phil Bredesen as Legal Counsel in 2003.

New Leadership for Compliance & Government Investigations Practice

A former federal prosecutor and experienced trial attorney, Kelly joined Bass, Berry & Sims in 2012 as managing partner of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Kelly represents companies and individuals in internal investigations, government investigations, criminal prosecutions, civil litigation, and other regulatory and compliance matters. Kelly serves as outside compliance and investigations counsel to a number of healthcare companies, including some subject to reporting requirements under a corporate integrity agreement (CIA). Kelly’s clients span a variety of industries, with an emphasis on healthcare and life sciences.

During his tenure as a federal prosecutor with the Department of Justice, Kelly held a number of leadership positions including Assistant Chief for Healthcare Fraud, Criminal Division, Fraud Section; Lead Prosecutor, Medicare Fraud Strike Force in Los Angeles; Chief of Staff and Deputy Director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys; and Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western and Northern Districts of New York.

Rivera relies on her more than 13 years of experience with the Department of Justice and her time as a former federal prosecutor, to counsel hospitals and other healthcare providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical device companies and other clients in civil and criminal healthcare fraud and abuse matters, government investigations, and enforcement proceedings. She frequently represents clients in matters arising under the False Claims Act (FCA), the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Stark Law, and various other federal and state healthcare regulations.

While serving as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee for 10 years, Rivera was the Civil and Criminal Healthcare Fraud Coordinator responsible for the intake, review and coordination of all criminal and civil healthcare fraud investigations and claims. She also successfully handled numerous government contractor FCA and related fraud and abuse investigations and resolutions, including matters with the U.S. Department of Defense, Tennessee Valley Authority, Small Business Administration, and Environmental Protection Agency.

“John and Lisa are each highly regarded within the legal industry and by their peers, with decades of experience as prosecutors and in private practice between them. We look forward to the group’s continued success under their leadership,” said Rolapp.

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