Joel M. Cohen is a partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He is a member of the firm's White Collar Defense and Investigations, Securities Litigation, Commercial Litigation and Antitrust Practice Groups.
Mr. Cohen, a former federal prosecutor and experienced trial lawyer, has led or participated in over twenty criminal and civil trials in federal and state courts. Mr. Cohen regularly acts for clients in a broad range of criminal and civil matters. He is equally comfortable leading confidential investigations, managing crises, or advocating in court proceedings. His experience includes securities and financial institution litigation, class actions, product liability, market manipulation, anti-corruption, money laundering, and forfeiture, with a particular focus on international disputes and discovery.
Mr. Cohen has participated in some of the most high-profile matters in the United States, including the summary judgment obtained for Citi in a class action seeking over $13 billion in damages for its alleged role in the Parmalat collapse. Mr. Cohen won a seven-week 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 litigations, one of which resulted in an award of attorney's fees and costs for his client.
His recent engagements include: obtaining summary judgment for for the hedge fund, Wynnefield Capital, in the defense against an SEC insider trading action that has been closely followed in legal and media circles; representing several Fortune 100 companies in global regulatory investigations relating to corporate fraud, corruption/FCPA issues, sanctions issues, and insider trading concerns; convincing the SEC to decline prosecution of a major accounting firm for alleged violations of the auditor independence rules; convincing the SEC to decline to charge a public company's general counsel with insider trading; leading FCPA/anti-corruption investigations and regulatory issues for two major oil and gas service companies, involving reviews in over a dozen countries, on five continents; and, defending the former head of CDO trading at a top global bank in connection with several related criminal and regulatory and civil litigations. He has designed crisis management and global anti-corruption programs for financial institutions and advised clients in sensitive corruption investigations and transactional due diligence inquiries. He has represented audit and special committees of public companies and private company boards of directors in connection with allegations of wrongdoing. He also has represented, including at trial, tobacco and firearms producers in product liability actions.
Mr. Cohen is committed to pro bono work. He serves on or acts as outside counsel to several prominent non-profit entities. 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 the firm has been awarded the National Legal Aid & Defender Association's 2010 Beacon of Justice Award, and The New York Times noted the accomplishment in an editorial.
Mr. Cohen previously was the Head of the U.S. Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice 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. His efforts in one celebrated investigation are the focus of a motion picture about to be directed 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 published several articles on securities, international and white-collar litigation issues and has been a presenter and chair at many professional conferences. He is also a frequent commentator in print and television media. Mr. Cohen has been named a "Litigation Star" by Benchmark Litigation, a "Super Lawyer" in Criminal Litigation, and his work is noted by Legal 500 in the areas of white collar criminal defense and securities litigation, and in Chambers in the white collar area.
Mr. Cohen received his Bachelors degree from Middlebury College, his Masters 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.