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Drinks With The Deal: Cohen on Working for Cuomos, Perelman, Napster

Published: February 15th, 2024
In this week’s Drinks With The Deal, Steve Cohen talks about his varied legal career, in which he’s been the GC at Ron Perelman’s MacAndrews & Forbes and worked for New York governors Mario and Andrew Cuomo.

“After eight years, I tend to get bored,” said Steven Cohen, who now has his own law firm, Blue Raven LLP, after a career in which he’s done everything from prosecute gang crimes for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York to serve as the general counsel of Ronald Perelman’s investment vehicle MacAndrew & Forbes Holdings Inc. and work in senior roles for Andrew Cuomo when he was the attorney general and then governor of New York.

The one thing Cohen hasn’t done is work for an extended period at a large law firm.

“I do better when I am not operating on behalf of an institution. And large law firms are institutions,” he said. “I gravitated to places where I had the ability to learn on my own and not part of a broader system, with one exception, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, because I wanted to learn how to try a case.”

In 1998, Cohen joined Kronish Lieb Weiner & Heilman LLP, now part of Cooley LLP, where he ended up advising Napster Inc. on intellectual property litigation after getting a call from the file-sharing company’s general counsel, Jonathan Schwartz, a former colleague at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“He viewed me as someone who had a particular skill in strategizing and cutting through the nonsense,” Cohen said. “My value is not explaining how complicated things are but in trying to simplify them.”

Check out the podcast with Steven Cohen below:

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