Joel Cohen, an experienced white-collar criminal lawyer, joined the firm in 1985 after ten years as a prosecutor, first with the New York State Special Prosecutor’s Office and, second, as an Assistant Attorney-in-Charge with the U.S. Justice Department’s Organized Crime & Racketeering Section (E.D.N.Y.). In those positions, he concentrated in the investigation, prosecution and trial of organized crime figures and corruption cases involving high-ranking public officials in New York, including the top leadership of the Colombo crime family, many members of the elite narcotics division of the New York Police Department, and the first ever prosecution of a sitting FBI agent.
Since arriving at Stroock, Mr. Cohen has represented and actively counseled individuals and corporations that have been investigated and/or prosecuted for alleged federal racketeering, securities violations, tax evasion, bribery, fraud, corruption, obstruction of justice, money laundering, environmental offenses, and customs violations involving alleged international frauds. He has also represented attorneys on ethical issues and in disciplinary proceedings in a number of jurisdictions in the New York area.
His representations, described here without names because of the sensitivity of most of his matters, have included:
- Attorneys. Mr. Cohen has represented attorneys under inquiry and investigation, both in criminal and in disciplinary proceedings, involving alleged contemptuous behavior, HUD fraud, bank fraud, estate fraud, false advertising, tax violations, racketeering, and insolvency proceedings.
- Public Officials. Mr. Cohen has represented high-ranking public officials in federal, state and municipal government, as well as judges and judicial assistants who were investigated, prosecuted or required to give testimony in various proceedings. Key representations include the then second highest elected New York State public official, a key member of the New York City Mayor’s cabinet, and a high-ranking figure in New York’s Democratic Party who was prosecuted for federal racketeering charges.
- Securities Offenses. Mr. Cohen has represented individuals regarding federal and state securities and commodities offenses, including, recently, a highly publicized federal securities criminal complaint in which there was a full dismissal of the criminal charge, and in another case, the successful withdrawal of an SEC Wells Notice in Illinois.
- Internal Investigations. Mr. Cohen has conducted internal investigations on behalf of corporations, municipal unions and law firms. Such representations have resulted in exonerations as to wrongdoing on behalf of the entity clients, and successful referrals to criminal authorities on behalf of the corporate entity clients of the individuals whose conduct was under scrutiny.
- Media. Mr. Cohen represented a substantial print media enterprise that was charged criminally, and its individual owners, who had been under investigation, for conduct relating to false advertising. The representation of the enterprise involved grand jury subpoenas implicating a variety of First Amendment issues, including access to sealed court proceedings.
- Charitable Organizations. Mr. Cohen successfully represented one of the largest, worldwide communal organizations in an investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s Office for alleged violations of its charitable status under New York law. He has also represented charitable institutions in connection with Attorney General approvals.
- Insurance Industry. Mr. Cohen has represented significant insurance companies, agencies, brokerages, and adjusters involving federal and state criminal charges and investigation relating to improper fee payments, overcharges, false SEC filings, kickbacks and false financial reporting.
- Health Care. Mr. Cohen successfully represented a large hospital involving alleged fraud in a municipal contract, as well as other private hospitals in connection with regulatory and criminal inquiries. Mr. Cohen has also represented a leading health care provider and pharmacists in investigations by state and federal authorities, including alleged Medicaid/Medicare fraud violations.
- Taxes. Mr. Cohen has represented accounting firms and professionals under investigation for criminal violations, including tax shelters and the facilitation of money laundering. He also represented a number of individuals charged with federal and state tax violations.
- Forfeiture Proceedings. Mr. Cohen has represented individuals whose funds were the subject of civil seizure orders and criminal forfeiture proceedings as a result of alleged illegal conduct in New York and Florida.
- Environmental Violations. Mr. Cohen has successfully represented a number of individuals and corporations, including one development in a lengthy federal court proceeding spanning more than a decade, which alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act and its New York State counterpart.
- Customs Violations. Mr. Cohen has represented both public and private corporations criminally charged with large conspiracies to violate federal customs statutes in New York and Florida.
- Government Contracts. Mr. Cohen has represented both public and private corporations charged with government contract fraud involving various types of military procurement in New York, California and Pennsylvania.
- Sports, Gaming and Entertainment Industry. Mr. Cohen represented a key sports trade group criminally charged with federal gaming violations in Louisville, Kentucky. He has also represented a significant casino entity in a grand jury investigation by the New York County District Attorney’s Office, as well as a number of New York nightclubs and owners in connection with state grand jury and SLA proceedings.
- Business Consulting. Mr. Cohen represents a number of business consulting entities with respect to grand jury investigations and subpoenas on an ongoing basis in various jurisdictions around the country.
- Real Estate Industry. Mr. Cohen has represented significant New York builders and real estate management companies in internal investigations, as well as relating to federal and state grand jury subpoenas and criminal investigations of improper business practices.
- Banking. Mr. Cohen has represented a number of domestic banks in New York and two Swiss banks (New York and Florida), as well as banking officials in connection with grand jury investigations of alleged money laundering.
- Member, Federal Bar Council
- Former Member, New York State Judicial Conduct Commission
- Adjunct Professor, Fordham
- Guest, Chicago Bar Association podcast, “The Peaking Beneath the Blindfold Edition,” June 6, 2018
- Member, New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, 2010-present
- Adjunct Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law, Professional Responsibility, 2005 – present
- Adjunct Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School, Professional Responsibility, 2002-2006
Speeches & Events
Mr. Cohen has participated as a lecturer, moderator and panelist in many legal symposiums and seminars.
Since 1987, Mr. Cohen has authored over 440 articles published in legal periodicals, primarily the New York Law Journal, HuffPost, Slate, Law.com and Law & Crime. Select articles include:
- “What Did Mueller Know?” The Hill, March 31, 2019
- “What if Mueller is Fired?” The Hill, January 7, 2019
- “When Judges Struggle With Sentencing,” New York Law Journal, December 14, 2018
- “Contingency Fee? When Hourly Fees Run too High in a Criminal Case,” New York Law Journal, August 13, 2018
- “Do Talking Head ‘Experts’ Have Special Ethical Responsibilities?” New York Law Journal, June 11, 2018
- “When the Criminal Lawyer Shields the Client,” New York Law Journal, April 9, 2018
- “Why Mueller Should Agree Not to Prosecute the President For Interview Lies,” Law & Crime, March 6, 2018
- “Counseling About Criminal Exposure: Lessons From The Post,” New York Law Journal, February 14, 2018
- “Judge Kozinski: Will Due Process Emerge?” New York Law Journal, December 14, 2017
- “When His Witness Has Lied… And the Prosecutor ‘Knows’ It,” New York Law Journal, September 29, 2017
- “Are Today’s ‘Deep Throats’ Doing the Right Thing?” The New York Times, May 31, 2017
- “Do Judges Contribute to Injustices? A Conversation with Judge Jed Rakoff,” ABA Journal, April 13, 2017
- “The Ethics of ‘Holding Out’ on Your Client,” New York Law Journal, April 6, 2017
- “Should Judges Consult Their Personal Moral Convictions?” Slate.com, March 28, 2017
- “Should the President Get to Pick Supreme Court Justices?” Slate.com, February 24, 2017
- “When Lawyers and Judges Criticize Jury Verdicts,” New York Law Journal, February 10, 2017
- “Incrementalism and the ‘Long View’ of the Law” Federal bar Council Quarterly, Dec./Jan./Feb./2017,
Vol. XXIV, No. 2
- “The Lawyer As ‘Acquired’ Friend,” Huffington Post, May 12, 2016
- “When Adjournment Requests Are Critical,” New York Law Journal, April 12, 2016
- “Helping Juries to Better Reach Untainted Verdicts,” Huffington Post, February 16, 2016
- “Can the Superseding Indictment Process Be Abused?” New York Law Journal, February 9, 2016
- “Changing a Criminal Client’s Social Media Pages,” New York Law Journal, December 8, 2015
Mr. Cohen also recently published Broken Scales: Reflections on Injustice (ABA Publishing, 2017). The book explores and asks readers to think about how one can determine what is, in fact, an injustice. Other published works include Blindfolds Off: Judges On How They Decide (ABA Publishing, 2014) and Truth Be Veiled: A Justin Steele Murder Case (Coffeetown Press, 2010).
While not relating to his law practice, Mr. Cohen has also authored four books dealing with religion:
- Gehinnom, available gratis at firstname.lastname@example.org, 2011
- David and Bathsheba: Through Nathan’s Eyes, Paulist Press, 2007
- Moses and Jesus: A Conversation, Dorrance Publishing Co. Inc., 2006
- Moses: A Memoir, Paulist Press, 2003
He has also conducted six mock trials under New York law of biblical figures relating to these books.
Admitted To Practice
New York, 1968
U.S. Tax Court, 1969; U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, 1972; U.S. Supreme Court, 1973; U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 1973; U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, 1986; Pro hac vice in a number of federal districts
LL.M., New York University School of Law, 1969; Concentration in Tax
J.D., New York University School of Law, 1967
A.B., Brooklyn College, 1965
In The Spotlight
NewsBack To Full Bio
April 2, 2019 | Tablet
Joel Cohen Interviews Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice for Tablet Magazine
March 31, 2019 | The Hill
“What Did Mueller Know?” Published in The Hill
March 11, 2019 | The Hill
Joel Cohen in The Hill, “Should Trump’s Other Former Lawyer Be Speaking Out?”
February 19, 2019 | Law & Crime
Joel Cohen and Dale Degenshein Published in Law & Crime
February 16, 2019 | The Hill
Joel Cohen Piece, “Can the President Confide in His Attorney General?” Published in The Hill
February 11, 2019 | The Hill
Joel Cohen Piece, "Should Roger Stone Be Gagged?" Published in The Hill
January 28, 2019 | The Hill
Joel Cohen Piece, “What Exactly Is Giuliani Doing?” Published in The Hill
January 7, 2019 | The Hill
Joel Cohen Published in The Hill
November 29, 2018 | The Hill
Joel Cohen Quoted in “Manafort-Trump Talks Baffle Legal Community”
June 6, 2018 | Legal Talk Network
Joel Cohen featured on Chicago Bar Association podcast, “The Peaking Beneath the Blindfold Edition”
March 20, 2018
Stroock Panel Examines Corporate Responsibility in the #MeToo Era
January 28, 2018 | Bloomberg BNA
Joel Cohen featured and Dale Degenshein mentioned in "A Conversation on Criminal Justice With Joel Cohen"
January 17, 2018 | Legal Executive Institute
Shira Scheindlin featured in "5 Questions with Shira Scheindlin: How Stroock is Helping Organizations Deal with Suspected Sexual Misconduct"
January 9, 2018 | New York Law Journal
Shira Scheindlin quoted; Robert Abrams, Joel Cohen, Howard Lavin, Michele Pahmer and Elizabeth DiMichele mentioned in "As #MeToo Roils Clients, Stroock Launches Unit to Vet Sex Claims"
January 9, 2018 | ABA Journal
Shira Scheindlin and Alan Klinger quoted; Robert Abrams, Joel Cohen, Howard Lavin, Michele Pahmer and Elizabeth DiMichele mentioned in "Stroock announces internal investigation unit focusing on sexual misconduct allegations"
January 9, 2018 | New York Law Journal
Joel Cohen and Jerry Goldfeder quoted in "Brooklyn Assemblywoman Indicted for Allegedly Bilking City Council, FEMA"
January 8, 2018 | Law360
Shira Scheindlin and Alan Klinger quoted; Robert Abrams, Joel Cohen, Howard Lavin, Michele Pahmer and Elizabeth DiMichele mentioned in "Ex-Judge, AG Head Stroock’s New Harassment Probe Team"
January 8, 2018
Stroock Forms Internal Investigations Unit to Help Companies and Organizations Respond to Suspected Sexual Misconduct
January 8, 2018 | The Guardian
Shira Scheindlin and Joel Cohen author op-ed "After #MeToo, we can’t ditch due process"
August 15, 2017
47 Stroock Partners and Counsel Named to Best Lawyers in America for 2018
July 13, 2017 | Law360
Joel Cohen Recognized as Legal Lion by Law360
July 13, 2017
Stroock Wins Reversal of Prominent Official, Sheldon Silver's, Corruption Conviction
June 8, 2017 | CUNY Television
Joel Cohen featured guest on "Conversations in the Digital Age with Jim Zirin"
May 11, 2017 | New York Law Journal
James Bernard and Joel Cohen mentioned in “Recognition for Lawyers”
May 9, 2017 | The New York Times
The New York Times "Bookshelf" Discusses Joel Cohen's Broken Scales: Reflections on Injustice
April 21, 2017 | New York Law Journal
Former Chief Judge Sol Wachtler Reviews Joel Cohen’s Broken Scales: Reflections on Injustice
April 7, 2017
Stroock’s Joel Cohen and James Bernard Win 2017 Burton Award for Legal Writing
December 6, 2016
Stroock Hosts Forum on Impact of Media on Justice
December 6, 2016 | New York Law Journal
Robert Abrams, Joel Cohen and Shira A. Scheindlin mentioned in "Panel on Media Actions"
August 15, 2016
47 Stroock Partners and Counsel Named to Best Lawyers in America for 2017
November 20, 2015 | The New York Times
Stroock Featured in The New York Times "Best Lawyers" 2016 New York City Supplement
August 17, 2015
45 Stroock Partners and Counsel Named to Best Lawyers in America for 2016
August 18, 2014
35 Stroock Partners and Counsel Named to Best Lawyers for 2015
Released July 28, 2014
Judges Candidly Discuss Controversial Rulings in Joel Cohen’s Latest Book
June 18, 2014
Stroock Hosts New York City's Five Borough District Attorneys
November 6, 2013
Stroock Partners and Counsel Named to Best Lawyers for 2014
November 9, 2012
31 Stroock Partners and Counsel Named to Best Lawyers for 2013
September 8, 2011
18 Stroock Attorneys Named to 2012 Edition of Best Lawyers
June 14, 2011
Forum on Public Corruption at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan: Are Politicians More Vulnerable Today?
August 5, 2010
17 Stroock Attorneys Named to 2011 Edition of Best Lawyers
July 21, 2010
Stroock’s Joel Cohen Appointed A Member of The New York State Commission On Judicial Conduct
April 3, 2008
Capital Markets Crisis Group Expansion
July 30, 2007
The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog Q&A with Stroock Partner Joel Cohen
PublicationsBack To Full Bio
April 12, 2019 | New York Law Journal
Lawyers, Judges and Creative Sentencing
April 8, 2019 | New York Law Journal
The Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion
March 25, 2019 | New York Law Journal
The President and the Fifth Amendment
March 7, 2019 | New York Law Journal
When a Prosecutor Must Make the Hard Decision to Dismiss or Downgrade
February 11, 2019 | New York Law Journal
Potential Public Backlash to Zealous Representation
October 9, 2018 | New York Law Journal
‘Confirmation Bias’ and the Criminal Litigator
June 11, 2018 | New York Law Journal
“Do Talking Head ‘Experts’ Have Special Ethical Responsibilities?”
September 29, 2017 | New York Law Journal
When His Witness Has Lied... And the Prosecutor 'Knows' It
May 31, 2017 | The New York Times
“Are Today’s ‘Deep Throats’ Doing the Right Thing?”
April 6, 2017 | New York Law Journal
"The Ethics of ‘Holding Out’ on Your Client"
February 10, 2017 | New York Law Journal
"When Lawyers and Judges Criticize Jury Verdicts"
June 14, 2016 | New York Law Journal
"The Movie ‘Spotlight’ and Legal Ethics"
April 7, 2016 | Stroock Special Bulletin
"D.C. Circuit Vacates District Court Decision Refusing to Approve Fokker’s Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the Department of Justice and Clarifies the Standard for Evaluating Deferred Prosecution Agreements"
August 11, 2015 | New York Law Journal
"Confidentiality: Keeping Secret Non-Privileged Information"
April 14, 2015 | New York Law Journal
"Your Client’s Intractable Demands—And Your Effort to Withdraw"
February 9, 2015 | New York Law Journal
"The Lawyer's Duty to Check Facts"
November 25, 2013 | New York Law Journal
"Who Responds When Tabloids Attack the Judges?"
EventsBack To Service
March 6, 2017
Fordham Law School Event: Do People Get Their Day in Court?
December 6, 2016
Can Media Actions Impair Justice?
February 24, 2016
Jewish Lawyers Guild's "Truth & Adversaries" Discussion
March 19, 2015
Eastern District Association's "How Judges Decide"
March 11, 2015
Jewish Lawyers Guild's "The Lawyer's Duty to Check His/Her Facts"
February 25-27, 2015
2015 IAIR Insolvency Workshop
January 12, 2015
The Bar Association of San Francisco: How Judges Decide
June 17, 2014
Meet the District Attorneys from All Five New York City Boroughs
March 20, 2014
Ethics for In-House Counsel: New Developments & Future Challenges
February 6, 2014
Ethics, Privilege & The Digital Age
February 6, 2013
How Judges Decide:The Impact of One's Experience(s)
February 28, 2012
The Ethics of Aggressive Lawyering
January 18, 2012
Meet New York County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.
June 29, 2011
Representing a Controversial Client
January 24-29, 2011
NYSBA Annual Meeting 2011
August 10, 2010
Truth Be Veiled Book Signing and Interactive Discussion
May 13, 2010
Confidentiality Obligations: When Can/Must Rabbis, Lawyers and Doctors Blow the Whistle?
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Bloomberg Corporate Internal Investigations: Ethical Considerations Seminar 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
UJA - Federation of New York ’s Lawyers Division, Healthcare Division, and Emerging Leaders and Philanthropists: An Evening on Legal, Medical and Jewish Ethics
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
New York State Bar Association Committee on Professional Discipline: The Lawyer-Media Relationship: Confronting the Ethical Issues
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Stroock Event - The Undiscovered Country: Views of Insurance Regulation for the 2009 Economy
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Stroock Event - Emails are Dangerous: Why We All Should Stop Saying Stupid Things in Email
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Practising Law Institute's Managing Complex Litigation 2008: Legal Strategies and Best Practices in "High-Stakes" Cases
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Stroock and Ernst & Young Event: The Credit Crisis: How to Fend Against the Investigation/Litigation Onslaught