Jeffrey B. Cohen

Partner

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Jeff Cohen has over 30 years of ERISA litigation experience. He has extensive experience litigating a wide variety of ERISA issues at all levels in the federal court system and in arbitration proceedings. He is also a nationally recognized expert on employee benefits issues in bankruptcy. Mr. Cohen is a skilled negotiator and has resolved billions of dollars of benefits liabilities. He brings the same intensity to bear on his clients’ behalf whether the matter involves billions of dollars or more modest amounts.

From 2005 through 2007, Mr. Cohen was Chief Counsel of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the federal agency that insures traditional, private pension plans. In that capacity, he directed the work of 50 attorneys and served as lead counsel for the agency in major bankruptcy proceedings and ERISA litigation. Before his appointment as Chief Counsel, he served for many years as Deputy General Counsel of PBGC. During his distinguished tenure at PBGC, he was lead counsel for the agency in the bankruptcy proceedings, and related district court and appellate litigation, in such high-profile cases as United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Northwest Airlines, US Airways, Enron, Kaiser Aluminum, Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel, Pan American World Airways, Trans World Airlines, and New Valley (Western Union). Mr. Cohen has successfully argued over a dozen cases and filed scores of briefs in the federal courts of appeals. In addition, he has appeared as counsel in numerous ERISA cases in the Supreme Court. He also spearheaded PBGC’s defense of individual and class actions involving allegations of breach of fiduciary duty and claims for benefits.

In March 2006, The American Lawyer named him as a Dealmaker of the Year for 2005 for his work on behalf of PBGC in the United Airlines bankruptcy and other major bankruptcy cases, one of a very small number of government attorneys ever to be so honored. Mr. Cohen is a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, and was co-chair of the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Employee Benefits Committee from 2007 through 2009. He is a Contributing Author to Business Workouts Manual (West 2011), for which he wrote a chapter on Pensions in Restructurings. Additionally, Mr. Cohen has been quoted in a variety of media outlets ranging from the New York Times to specialty publications such as the BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter, Pensions and Investments and Ignites. He has also been interviewed on the Fox Business Network.

Since returning to the private sector, Jeff has represented employers, an international union, plan fiduciaries, a bankruptcy trustee, an official bankruptcy committee, private equity and hedge funds, secured creditors, and individuals. He has been selected for inclusion in every edition of the Best Lawyers in America and DC Super Lawyers since 2010.

Read a listing of Mr. Cohen’s selected reported decisions

Government Service

Chief Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 2005 – 2007
Deputy General Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1991 – 2004
Senior Counsel, Assistant General Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1989 – 1991

Education

  • Georgetown University Law Center, 1980, J.D.
    • Editor, American Criminal Law Review
  • State University of New York at Binghamton, B.A., 1977

Bar and Court Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • New York
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the District of Columbia
  • United States District Court for the District of Maryland
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • United States Bankruptcy Court for Eastern District of Virginia

Honors & Awards

  • The American Lawyer “Dealmaker of the Year” for 2005
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2010 to date
  • Super Lawyers, 2010 to date

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Fellow, American College of Employee Benefits Counsel
  • American Bankruptcy Institute (Co-chair, Employee Benefits Committee, 2007 – 2009)
  • American Bar Association
  • Founding Member, DC Law Students In Court Program, Inc. Alumni Association
  • Arbitrator, DC Bar Attorney/Client Arbitration Board
  • Member, ERISA Roundtable
  • Neutral Arbitrator, American Arbitration Association

Recent Publications

Speeches & Presentations

Mr. Cohen has spoken at conferences on ERISA, bankruptcy, and ERISA litigation sponsored by such groups as the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, the American Bar Association, the American Bankruptcy Institute, ALI-ABA, and the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors, among others.

Contact Information:

Jeffrey B. Cohen
BAILEY & EHRENBERG PLLC
1015 18th Street NW
Suite 204
Washington, D.C. 20036
Phone: (202) 331-1284
Fax: (202) 318-7071
jbcohen@becounsel.com
  • Attorneys
  • Location

    Washington, D.C. Office:
    1015 18th Street NW
    Suite 204
    Washington, D.C. 20036
    T: (202) 331-1331
    F: (202) 318-7071

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