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It’s not that lawyers from Cooper & Kirk dislike the government. But as name partner Charles Cooper Jr., who ran the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel from 1985 to 1988, said, "You can’t imagine how gratifying it can be to sue your former client."

Since its launch in 1996, when a group of litigators ditched what was then Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge to start their own firm, Washington’s Cooper & Kirk has made suing state and federal government agencies a cornerstone of its business. Suits against the government account for about 30% of its work.

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