Michael A. Cooper, a longtime summer resident of the Vineyard and a distinguished member of the New York city bar, died Nov. 16 in New York city. He was 84. The cause was Covid-19.

During his long and remarkable career as a lawyer, beginning in 1960, as a leader and partner at the firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, Mike also served as president of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. He chaired the civil rights committee of the American Bar Association, co-chaired the lawyers committee for civil rights under law and served as president of the Legal Aid Society.

Mike was born in 1936, in Passaic, N.J.,, to Otto and Beatrice (Lentz) Cooper. In An Advocate’s Journey, a memoir Mike published in 2016, he described his father, who was a solo legal practitioner in Northern New Jersey, as an inspiration to him for his generosity and concern for the poor and downtrodden, both professionally and personally.

He attended the Horace Mann School, class of 1953, and then Harvard College, class of 1957, where he studied American history and literature, graduating magna cum laude. He went on to Harvard Law School, and thereafter was an active alum, serving on the school’s visiting committee for six years. He received the law school’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. Martha Minow, former dean of the law school, wrote of Mike: “Michael was always true North, integrity, judgment, public service, decency. I will remember great conversations and also lessons in leadership, caring and a life worth living.”

Mike became a partner at Sullivan and Cromwell in 1968, and managed the firm’s litigation group from 1978 to 1985. He also coordinated the firm’s extensive pro bono activities. The firm provides an annual award for pro bono work in his name.

Mike retired at the firm’s mandated age in 2003, but remained of counsel, and continued practicing up to the final weeks of his life.

Among his many legal achievements were litigating against a South Carolina law which served to disenfranchise black voters, and helping to secure the release from Guantanamo Bay of a Tunisian Muslim detainee who had been held for many years without being charged.

On the Vineyard in 2017, along with his friend and neighbor Jules Bernstein, he initiated a national petition campaign to have Congress censure President Donald Trump for his numerous misdeeds.

Mike was deeply devoted to his family. In 1962, he married Ann Eisenberg and they raised three children together. A few years after their 25-year marriage ended, Mike married Nan Rothschild, an esteemed archeologist and anthropologist on the Columbia University faculty. With his family, he traveled widely, but also loved spending time at his and Nan’s homes in North Salem, N.Y., and on the Vineyard. Mike loved dogs, horseback riding and tennis. He also was a lover of ballet and served on the board of the New York City Ballet Company for 18 years.

He is survived by his loving wife, Nan; his children, Jeffrey, Sarah Williams and Paul; and beloved stepchildren Oliver Rothschild and Emily Rothschild, as well as 10 grandchildren: Emma, Joshua, Noah, Samantha, Pailin, Otto, Simon, William, Elinor and Cordelia. He will be missed greatly by all.

Donations can be made to Volunteers of Legal Services or the Adult Polyglucosan Body Disease Research Foundation.