Joel M. Cohen, a trial lawyer and former federal prosecutor, is a partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He is a member of the Gibson Dunn’s White Collar Defense and Investigations, Securities Litigation, Class Actions and Antitrust Practice Groups. Mr. Cohen has led or participated in 24 civil and criminal trials in federal and state courts. Mr. Cohen is equally comfortable leading confidential investigations, managing crises or advocating in court proceedings. Mr. Cohen’s experience includes all aspects of FCPA/anticorruption issues, insider trading, securities and financial institution litigation, class actions, sanctions, money laundering and asset recovery, with a particular focus on international disputes and discovery.
Mr. Cohen was the prosecutor of Jordan Belfort and Stratton Oakmont, which is the focus of “The Wolf of Wall Street” film by Martin Scorsese. He was an adviser to OECD in connection with the effort to prohibit corruption in international transactions and was the first Department of Justice legal liaison advisor to the French Ministry of Justice. Mr. Cohen has been named a leading white collar criminal defense attorney by The Best Lawyers in America©, a “Litigation Star” and national Top 100 Trial Lawyer byBenchmark Litigation, a “MVP” by Law360, a “Super Lawyer” in Criminal Litigation, and his work is noted byLegal 500 in the areas of white collar criminal defense and securities litigation, and in Chambers in the white collar area. In addition, The Am Law Litigation Daily named Mr. Cohen as one of its Litigators of the Week after winning a jury defense verdict in an insider trading case on behalf of Nelson Obus, general partner of Wynnefield Capital.
Mr. Cohen has achieved significant victories pretrial and at trial in many high-profile matters, including:
- Winning a jury trial in the closely watched Securities and Exchange Commission v. Obus insider trading matter on behalf of Wynnefield Capital and its chief portfolio manager after a twelve-year battle with the SEC.
- Obtaining summary judgment for Citi in a class action seeking more than $13 billion in damages for its alleged role in the Parmalat collapse.
- Winning a jury trial for AllianceBernstein in which the Florida state pension fund attempted to recover $3.2 billion in losses sustained in Enron and other stocks, and successfully defended the same client in other significant Enron-related litigation, one of which resulted in an award of attorney’s fees and costs for his client.
Mr. Cohen previously was Head of U.S. Litigation at Clifford Chance, where he practiced from 2004 to 2009. From 1999 to 2004, he practiced with Greenberg Traurig. From 1992 to 1999, he served as Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York, supervising the Business/Securities Fraud Unit, where he received numerous awards from the Department of Justice and law enforcement agencies.
Mr. Cohen received his bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College, his master’s degree in History from Duke University and his Juris Doctor from Duke University Law School, where he was a moot court champion. He is a member of the bars of New York and Massachusetts.
Mr. Cohen is committed to pro bono work. He serves on the board of or acts as outside counsel to several prominent nonprofit entities, including New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Lawyers Without Borders and Jericho Project. He successfully led a team of Gibson Dunn attorneys in representing all plaintiffs in a high-profile immigration civil rights case (Barrera v. Boughton) in Connecticut federal court, which resulted in the largest settlement in history for such claims, for which Gibson Dunn was awarded the National Legal Aid & Defender Association’s 2010 Beacon of Justice Award, and The New York Times noted the accomplishment in an editorial, and his team received theNational Law Journal’s Hot Pro Bono 2012 designation.