11vanessa cooksey potrait

Vanessa J. Cooksey


Email vanessa.cooksey@iodlawfirm.com

Phone (818) 743-4850 


Vanessa earned her Juris Doctorate degree from University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2003. Immediately following her admission to the California State Bar, she began practicing workers’ compensation law and has never looked back. After spending a short time on the defense side of this area of the law, representing employers and insurance companies, Vanessa followed her passion for standing up for the little guy, and has spent the remainder of her career solely representing injured workers. Vanessa specializes in representation of public safety officers and first responders, including deputy sheriffs, police officers, firefighters, and custody assistants. For 17 years, Vanessa has proudly and successfully litigated on behalf of these safety members and their families.

In addition to her vast experience in workers’ compensation litigation, Vanessa is also very involved in other aspects of the workers’ compensation law community. She is a longstanding member of the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association and holds a seat on that association’s Women’s Caucus Committee. As a leading figure in the field of workers’ compensation law in California, she has been asked to speak by various organizations, including the Insurance Education Association and Los Angeles Women’s Police Officers and Associates. 

In 2020, Vanessa accomplished one of the most important achievements of her career, when she was the handling attorney in Richard Todd v. Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund (SIBTF). In that case, she received an En Banc decision from the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, when all seven Commissioners unanimously decided in her favor. The Todd decision was a victory for injured workers across California in their claims against SIBTF, as the WCAB’s decision clarified that SIBTF benefits will be calculated uniformly across the state and in favor of the injured worker. The decision is binding on all workers’ compensation judges in California. SIBTF appealed the decision all the way up to the California Supreme Court, but was not successful in overturning the decision. Vanessa is one of a small group of attorneys in California who are experts in the filing and litigating of SIBTF claims, and she makes it her standard practice to review every client’s case to see if he or she may qualify for this special benefit.

Prior to law school, Vanessa obtained a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Arizona. She completed a split minor in both philosophy and psychology. During her last semester at the U of A, Vanessa earned a coveted internship as a legislative analyst for the Arizona House of Representatives. Her time there prepared her for reading, dissecting, and interpreting statutes, and then presenting an analysis of the financial and legal impact of proposed legislative bills to House members. Attention to detail was a must, so this was an invaluable opportunity for her to hone and sharpen that critical skill, which would serve her well throughout her career.

Vanessa was born and raised in Chicago with her twin sister, who now practices as a paralegal in Montana. She still holds strong midwestern values, which continue to guide her as an attorney. In addition to being an attorney, Vanessa is the devoted mom of two beautiful boys who are the sunshine of her life.

Pratice Areas

  • Workers' Compensation
  • Disability Retirements
  • SIBTF Claims

Education & Bar Admission

California Bar Admission (2004)

University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, J.D. (2003)

University Of Arizona, B.A. (2000)


History, Jurisdiction, and Functions of the WCAB, Insurance Education Association (IEA) – Workers’ Compensation for Legal Professionals (WCLP), 2021

Deciphering Workers’ Compensation, Los Angeles Women Police Officers and Associates (LAWPOA), 2017

Fight Like a Girl: The Continuing Battle to End Gender Bias in Workers’ Compensation, Los Angeles Women Police Officers and Associates (LAWPOA), 2016

Professional Associations and Memberships

California Lawyers Association – Workers’ Compensation section

CAAA’s Women’s Caucus, Committee Member, 2018 to Present

California Applicants’ Attorneys Association, Member, 2009 to Present