David S. Cohen, Former CIA Deputy Director and Treasury Under Secretary, Rejoins WilmerHale

David S. Cohen, Former CIA Deputy Director and Treasury Under Secretary, Rejoins WilmerHale

Firm News

WilmerHale is pleased to announce that David S. Cohen, former Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, has returned to the firm as a partner.

Mr. Cohen will counsel clients in the areas of national security, including cybersecurity and CFIUS proceedings; anti-money laundering; trade and financial sanctions; and defense of government investigations and enforcement actions. Much of his practice will emphasize cross-border issues, including disputes involving regulators and enforcement agencies in the US and abroad. Mr. Cohen will be a member of the firm's Regulatory and Government Affairs and Litigation/Controversy Departments. 

“We're thrilled to have a lawyer of David's caliber rejoin the firm,” said Robert Novick, WilmerHale's co-managing partner. “Our clients will benefit greatly from his extraordinary experience at the highest levels of the US government, and his 20 years of highly successful private practice before that, including at WilmerHale. He joins a team of lawyers that's already one of the best in the business at helping clients solve their most vexing government challenges. David's addition makes that team even stronger.”

“David is one of the most versatile and experienced lawyers of his generation. A litigator by training, he is intimately familiar with both the issues faced by financial institutions and the full range of national security matters applicable to the industry from around the world,” said Jamie Gorelick chair of WilmerHale's Regulatory and Government Affairs Department and co-chair of its Strategic Response Group. 

“I couldn't be more excited to rejoin WilmerHale, where I will work once again with some of the most accomplished and talented lawyers anywhere,” Mr. Cohen said. “Few firms combine the brainpower, premier practices, deep knowledge of how government works, and commitment to clients that exists at WilmerHale. It's an ideal platform for me to serve my clients as I return to the practice of law after eight years of service in the Obama administration.”

As the CIA's second-highest ranking official for the last two years of the Obama administration, Mr. Cohen assisted in managing the Agency's daily operations—including the Agency's foreign intelligence collection, all-source analysis, covert action, counter-intelligence and foreign liaison relationships—as well as setting intelligence policy. He also led special projects focused on the impact of new technologies on the CIA and improving the Agency's relationships with US companies. At the conclusion of his tenure, Mr. Cohen was awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the Agency's highest honor.

As the Senate-confirmed Under Secretary of the Treasury from 2011–2015, Mr. Cohen led the Treasury Department's national security efforts. He managed the Treasury's financial sanctions and anti-money laundering policy, regulatory, enforcement and intelligence functions, including supervising the two regulatory agencies responsible for implementing and enforcing sanctions programs and anti-money laundering rules—the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Mr. Cohen directed the development and implementation of broad-ranging and intricate financial sanctions programs, including those against Iran, Russia, North Korea and terrorist financiers, as well as a host of anti-money laundering regulations.  

For the first two years of the Obama administration, Mr. Cohen was the Treasury Department's Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing. In that Senate-confirmed position, Mr. Cohen oversaw Treasury's anti-money laundering and sanctions policy efforts. In recognition of his achievements at Treasury, Mr. Cohen was given the Alexander Hamilton Award, the department's highest honor.

Mr. Cohen first joined WilmerHale in 2001, where he was part of the firm's white-collar practice. Before then, he served for two years in the Treasury Department's General Counsel's office, eventually as the Acting Deputy General Counsel at the start of the George W. Bush Administration. Earlier in his career, he was a partner at a white-collar criminal litigation boutique in Washington DC.

Mr. Cohen is a graduate of Cornell University (AB, magna cum laude, 1985) and Yale Law School (JD, 1989). Mr. Cohen clerked for Judge Norman P. Ramsey on the US District Court for the District of Maryland from 1989–1990. He is currently a Trustee of Cornell University and a Senior Fellow with Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.


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