The Trusted Advocate


As with each of the senior members of the Petrillo firm, Joel Cohen has extensive experience in government service, having been a New York State and then a federal prosecutor. That experience ultimately accords Mr. Cohen (and his colleagues) the capacity to understand and navigate the criminal process in ways that provide effective counsel to those who now find themselves under criminal or regulatory investigation. As a law professor and commentator on the legal process, clients also find valuable his ability to convert his insights into practical solutions to their legal problems.


Mr. Cohen is a graduate of the NYU School of Law, having received a J.D. and an L.L.M. with a concentration in federal taxation.

At the outset of his legal career, Mr. Cohen served for ten years as a prosecutor — first as a Special Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the New York State Prosecutor’s Office, where he investigated and prosecuted high profile corruption cases involving the New York City criminal justice system; and  afterwards, when he was a Special Attorney and then Assistant Attorney-in-Charge with the U.S. Justice Department’s Organized Crime & Racketeering Section in the Eastern District of New York, where he prosecuted high level mafia figures and corruption cases.

Beginning in 1985, Mr. Cohen became a white collar criminal defense lawyer at the national law firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. There, for many years, he represented individuals and corporations under investigation and prosecution by federal and state authorities involving all aspects of white collar crime and regulatory offenses, including well-known public officials under investigation and prosecution. Additionally, he has conducted extensive investigations for corporations faced with potential malfeasance by employees, and has represented attorneys in numerous disciplinary investigations and prosecutions.

In addition, Mr. Cohen has been an adjunct professor for some 20 years — first at Brooklyn Law School, and then Fordham Law school, where for ten years he taught professional responsibility.  For the last nine years, he has co-taught a seminar entitled “How Judges Decide” at Fordham and now also Cardozo Law School, an outgrowth of his book “Blindfolds Off: Judges On How They Decide” published in 2014 by the American Bar Association.

In addition to “Blindfolds Off”, Mr. Cohen has published six other books, including “Broken Scales: Reflections On Injustice” (also published by the ABA), and “Truth Be Veiled” (about a criminal lawyer’s duty to truth). Finally, he has published three books of Biblical fiction, including the noted, “Moses: A Memoir” (Paulist Press, 2003).

Mr. Cohen has also authored some 700 articles, including a bimonthly column at the New York Law Journal entitled “Ethics & Criminal Practice.”  He also writes regularly for The Hill, Law & Crime, Bloomberg Law, Times Of Israel and Slate regarding law, ethics, social policy and religion. In part resulting from his extensive writing, he has been asked to moderate many legal programs for the New York State Bar Association, the Federal Bar Council, the Eastern District Association, the New York County Lawyers Association and the Jewish Lawyers Guild.

From 2010 to 2018 Mr. Cohen served as a member of the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct responsible for investigating and prosecuting judges at all levels of the New York State judiciary.

Mr. Cohen has been admitted to the bar of New York State, the federal courts in New York, the U.S. Supreme Court and a number of federal courts around the country.