Steven M. Cohen has more than 20 years of experience as a lawyer in private practice and in public service. He served as Secretary to New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, in addition to serving as Mr. Cuomo’s Counselor and Chief of Staff in the Office of the New York Attorney General. In private practice, Mr. Cohen has represented a wide array of corporations and individuals in complex commercial, criminal, and regulatory matters. He has conducted internal corporate investigations and has served as court-appointed receiver and monitor. He served as the Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York violent gang unit, and spearheaded the prosecution of New York’s largest and most dangerous criminal organizations. In each phase of his career, Mr. Cohen has brought a strategic approach to managing and solving complex issues, and an ability to achieve results by coordinating legal skills with a deep understanding of media, government, and politics.
As Secretary to Gov. Cuomo, Mr. Cohen was the governor’s most senior advisor and had overall responsibility for management of the governor’s administration, including day-to-day oversight of the senior staff, coordination of legislative affairs, and direction of the press office. Mr. Cohen also directed the administration’s successful effort to secure the passage of the Marriage Equality Act.
Before serving in the Governor’s Office, Mr. Cohen served as Chief of Staff and Counselor to then-New York Attorney General Cuomo. Mr. Cohen held both positions for the entire four years of Mr. Cuomo’s tenure as Attorney General. As Counselor, Mr. Cohen was the Attorney General’s chief advisor and was involved in the supervision of all cases, investigations, legal positions, and initiatives undertaken by the office. He also served as the primary liaison to the Governor’s Office and other branches of state government. Mr. Cohen was also the New York Attorney General’s representative to the National Association of Attorneys General. As Chief of Staff, Mr. Cohen was responsible for the operation of the Office of the Attorney General, an independent executive agency with an annual budget of approximately $250 million, a total staff of 1,800 employees, including 650 lawyers, and 16 offices.
Mr. Cohen previously was a partner at Cooley Godward Kronish LLP, where he was a member of the firm’s white collar and regulatory defense practice group. In his white-collar criminal practice, Mr. Cohen represented numerous individuals and corporations in connection with investigations and prosecutions conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the New York State Attorney General, the National Association of Securities Dealers, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. His wide-ranging civil practice routinely included civil litigation involving claims against officers and directors of publicly traded entities. He also counseled clients involved in online copyright infringement matters and represented online entities under government investigation.
Before entering private practice, Mr. Cohen was an Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) in the Southern District of New York, where he served as Chief of the violent gangs unit. While an AUSA, Mr. Cohen investigated and prosecuted hundreds of cases involving murders and gang violence, as well as white collar offenses. During his tenure he oversaw the novel application of the federal racketeering laws to street violence; these efforts were credited as one of the reasons for the dramatic reduction in gang activity and the murder rate in New York City.
Mr. Cohen graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and earned his B.A. from New York University. Following law school, Mr. Cohen served as law clerk to the Honorable Stanley Sporkin of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and Frank X. Altimari of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.