Derek Cohen, a partner in Goodwin's White Collar Defense group, specializes in defending white collar criminal investigations and prosecutions, regulatory inquiries and lawsuits, conducting internal corporate investigations and complex commercial litigations. He represents U.S. and foreign companies and individuals in a wide range of criminal and regulatory investigations by federal, state and local authorities, including, among others, allegations of healthcare fraud, securities fraud, tax fraud, bribery, False Claims Act, sanctions/export violations and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations. Clients benefit from Mr. Cohen’s prior prosecutorial, investigation and trial experience as Deputy Chief of the Fraud Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia and in the District Attorney’s office in Manhattan. Mr. Cohen is a highly regarded trial attorney who has successfully tried numerous cases in federal and state courts for more than 20 years.

Mr. Cohen is recognized as a “go-to defense expert for clients involved in high-profile criminal proceedings, drawing on experience in areas such as allegations of insider trading and corruption,” according to Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, and has been selected as The American Lawyer's “Litigator of the Week” for the successful defense at trial of a former securities analyst on conspiracy, insider trading and wire fraud charges. According to Chambers, he is “a master in front of juries,” and is “extraordinarily savvy and very skilled.” Market sources also noted to Chambers that they “would not want to try a case against him.”





Mr. Cohen represents U.S. and international companies and their executives in a wide variety of criminal and regulatory investigations by federal, state and local authorities. Representative matters include:

  • Successful defense at trial of former securities analyst Ashish Aggarwal on conspiracy, insider trading, and wire fraud charges. A Central District of California jury found Aggarwal not guilty related to his role in an alleged insider trading scheme. This is a rare defense victory in an insider trading case and the first since the December 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Salman v. United States lowered the bar for prosecutors in insider trading cases.
  • Secured a deferred prosecution agreement for Celadon Group, Inc., a publicly-traded transportation company, in accounting and securities fraud investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and the SEC.
  • Avoided criminal charges for a Fortune 500 company under investigation for potential environmental crimes by Federal and State authorities in a high profile oil spill.
  • Successfully represented an executive of major European company in connection with a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice into alleged sanctions/export violations with no action taken.
  • Advising the audit committee of a publicly traded company in connection with an internal investigation into alleged insider trading.
  • Senior executives of a major Latin American company in connection with FCPA and related investigations.
  • Secured a non-jail sentence in the Southern District of New York for an individual charged with FCPA and tax violations involving bribery of UN and other officials.
  • A publicly traded healthcare company in connection with a DOJ criminal trade secrets investigation.
  • A London-based trader in connection with a civil class action alleging antitrust violations in the Supranational/Sovereign/Agency (SSA) Bond market and related regulatory investigations.
  • Defending a number of companies in connection with False Claims Act allegations.
  • Blockchain and digital currency clients in SEC investigations and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
  • The board of a publicly-traded company in connection with DOJ and SEC investigations into accounting and related issues.
  • A Swiss banker in connection with the Malaysian 1MDB banking scandal.
  • A publicly traded company in connection with an alleged criminal trade secrets theft. 
  • A CFO of an international company in connection with an FCPA investigation.
  • Executives accused of insider trading and other securities frauds by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.
  • Companies and individuals with SEC investigations, including a former CEO under investigation for insider trading.
  • Former investment bank employees under investigation for currency manipulation.

Mr. Cohen also has significant experience in conducting internal investigations, including:

  • FCPA review for a publicly-traded company.
  • Investigations on behalf of companies suspecting employee embezzlement and other crimes.
  • Investigations on behalf of major financial institutions into potential criminal and regulatory violations.
  • An investigation into a foreign mutual fund on behalf of its board.
  • An FCPA/OFAC investigation on behalf of a foreign company.

Mr. Cohen’s work at the DOJ and AUSA included:

  • Supervising Fraud Section attorneys in a variety of financial crimes, procurement frauds and corruption matters.
  • Leading a unit within the Fraud Section devoted to bank and government frauds.
  • Supervising the New Orleans-based team of attorneys and agents investigating the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that led to 11 deaths and was the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.
  • Playing a key role in securing guilty pleas from Transocean, Halliburton and BP in the Deepwater Horizon investigation, resulting in the largest criminal resolution in U.S. history.
  • Leading a national undercover investigation into stock manipulation and prosecutions involving a dozen publicly traded companies, including the conviction of the former CEO of National Lampoon.
  • Obtaining the first conviction in U.S. history of a hedge fund for deceptive market timing of mutual funds.
  • Convicting (after trial) the former general counsel of a publicly traded company for insider trading.
  • Leading an investigation into Philadelphia charter schools corruption that resulted in convictions of a school board president and school CEO.
  • Successfully prosecuting a number of healthcare facilities and professionals for narcotics and other violations.
Professional Activities

Mr. Cohen has been active in Bar Association activities throughout his career, including serving as co-chair of the ABA White Collar Young Lawyers Subcommittee for the New York region, secretary of the Criminal Courts Committee, and as a member of the Criminal Advocacy Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. He is also a member of the Federal Bar Council and the New York Council of Defense Lawyers, a membership by invitation to a group of top criminal defense practitioners in New York. Mr. Cohen is also a member of the Criminal Justice Act Panel for the Southern District of New York.

Mr. Cohen is a member of the UJA/Criminal Law Committee as well as alumni groups for the Manhattan DA’ s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Cohen previously served as an adjunct professor at Temple University School of Law. He has also guest lectured at Harvard Law School and the University of Pennsylvania Law School in the area of corporate investigations.

Professional Experience

Prior to joining Goodwin, Mr. Cohen served in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice from 2010 to 2013, where he was Deputy Chief of the Division’s Fraud Section as well as Deputy Director of the Deepwater Horizon Task Force. He also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia. Mr. Cohen was previously a white collar criminal defense attorney with Dorsey & Whitney and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. He began his career as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan serving under the Hon. Robert M. Morgenthau.


Mr. Cohen is widely recognized as a leading white collar criminal defense lawyer by a number of prestigious legal publications.

  • Benchmark Litigation recognizes Mr. Cohen as a 2021 Litigation Star in Washington DC for his work in White Collar Crime.
  • While at the Department of Justice, Mr. Cohen earned both the Attorney General's Award for Exceptional Service, the highest award within the Department of Justice, and the FBI Director’s Award for Excellence, considered the FBI’s most prestigious honor, for his work on the Deepwater Horizon investigation.
  • Mr. Cohen was selected as The American Lawyer's “Litigator of the Week” for the successful defense at trial of former J.P. Morgan Securities LLC analyst Ashish Aggarwal on conspiracy, insider trading, and wire fraud charges.
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business recognizes Mr. Cohen as a leading practitioner in New York in the area of White Collar Crime & Government Investigations. According to Chambers, he is “a formidable courtroom presence,” and is “extraordinarily savvy and very skilled.” Market sources also noted to Chambers that they “would not want to try a case against him.”
  • Mr. Cohen is also recognized as one of the world’s leading white collar crime lawyers by Euromoney’s Expert Guides: White Collar Crime Lawyers and is listed in Global Investigations Review 100, a guide to the world’s leading firms for corporate investigations.
  • He has been recommended by The Legal 500 U.S. for corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense.

In The News









J.D., 1995
Boston University School of Law
(cum laude)
B.A., 1992
University at Albany, State University of New York



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District of Columbia


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