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Barbara J. Cook

Barbara has been representing veterans and their dependents since 1990. She joined the firm as Of Counsel in May 2014, and became a Partner in July 2016. Her law practice focuses on cases before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

Barbara graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan School of Law in 1977, and holds a B.A. in English, also from the University of Michigan (1974).  After law school, Barbara clerked for Federal District Judge Stewart Newblatt, E. D. Michigan. She then began working at the Legal Aid Society of Cincinnati.  There, she was lead counsel in a number of successful state- and county-wide class actions, protecting the statutory and procedural due process rights of claimants and recipients of governmental benefits.  She also represented clients under federal civil rights laws. Her cases included obtaining a federal court order ensuring accessible public housing for people with physical disabilities; and securing free, appropriate, public educations for children with mental and physical disabilities.She began representing veterans on their compensation and pension claims in 1990, while still with the Cincinnati Legal Aid Society.  She formed and led a team of advocates there to handle veterans’ cases; it remains one of the few legal services programs in the country to represent veterans on their VA claims.  In 1995, she organized the court services component of Hamilton County, Ohio’s first week-end long “Stand Down” for homeless veterans, during which veterans were able to discharge outstanding misdemeanor warrants by providing community service at the site.

Barbara began a private practice in 1996, limited to the representation of veterans and their dependents on VA compensation and pension claims.  She has been a regular presenter at legal education conferences on substantive veterans law and on brief writing.  She writes the Appellate News Section of the National Organization of Veterans Advocates (NOVA) website, a forum by which members are updated on relevant court cases.  She is a member of the Court of Veterans Appeals Bar Association and has served as a member of its Board of Governors.  A NOVA member since 1994, Barbara has served as a member of its Board of Directors and is the 2009 recipient of that organization’s Kenneth Carpenter Achievement Award for Excellence.

Barbara is an avid knitter, and sometimes wishes she had more time to spend weeding and improving the gardens around her home and in her neighborhood.  She and her husband, Mike (who is also a lawyer), raised three boys and also have a daughter-in-law and a grandson to add to the fun.  Any day she is also able to walk, bike, or swim is a good day.

Areas of Practice

  • Veterans Benefits
  • Appellate Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Ohio, 1977
  • Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, 1993
  • Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, 1998
  • Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1982
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, 1978

Representative Cases

  • Larson v. Shinseki, 744 F.3d 1317 (Fed. Cir. 2014)
  • McGee v. Peake, 511 F.3d 1352 (Fed. Cir. 2008)
  • YR v. West, 11 Vet.App. 393 (1998)
  • Taylor v. U.S.P.S., 946 F.2d 1214 (6th Cir. 1991)
  • Hurley v. Secretary, 676 F.2d 1095 (6th Cir. 1982)

Oral Arguments

    Larson v. Shinseki
    McGee v. Peake
    Chisholm v. Nicholson Part 1
    Chisholm v. Nicholson Part 2
    Chisholm v. Nicholson Session 2
    Carroll v. Gibson