Photo of Michael P.A. Cohen

Michael P.A. Cohen

Washington, DC
T: 202.747.1958
F: 202.747.1901


  • J.D., Washington and Lee University - School of Law, 1990, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, Lead Articles Editor, Washington & Lee Law Review
  • B.A., Virginia Tech, 1987
  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the District of Columbia
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
Publications & News

Michael Cohen is a partner with Antitrust and International Competition Practice Group in the firm's Washington, D.C. office.

Areas of Practice

Michael began his career as an Assistant Special Prosecutor investigating and prosecuting organized crime involvement with the failure of local financial institutions in the early 1990s.  After his government service, Michael joined the historic Washington, D.C. antitrust firm Howrey & Simon, where in 1996 he became one of the youngest partners in that unique firm’s history.  In 2003, Michael joined Heller Ehrman as a partner in Washington, D.C., where he helped develop and grow the firm’s federal government antitrust merger defense practice.  When Heller Ehrman ceased operations in 2008, Michael joined Paul Hastings as a partner in its Washington, D.C. office, where he founded, built and chaired that highly regarded firm’s international competition practice group for seven years.  In 2015, Michael joined Sheppard Mullin’s storied antitrust practice, to put his twenty-five years experience to work complementing the firm’s longstanding antitrust litigation group, helping to bridge government antitrust enforcement in Washington, D.C. to the firm’s strengths in Brussels, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Throughout his private practice career, Michael has practiced all dimensions of competition law, defending multinational clients without borders across continents in business conduct and merger clearance investigations across intercontinental markets. He is among a short list of lawyers who have successfully defended multiple mergers through trial and appeal in the United States, including serving as co-lead counsel to Western Refining in its $1.4 billion acquisition of Giant Industries, which proceeded from complaint through trial in twenty-one days and through appeal in less than fourteen days.  Michael was also a core partner on the trial team that successfully defended the H.J. Heinz Company’s acquisition of BeechNut’s baby food business in the federal trial court, until reversed on appeal – a case and decision that has been widely assessed and discussed since.

His practice includes concentrated experience representing clients in high tech, software, oil and gas, heavy manufacturing, food processing, broadcast, digital media, and healthcare industries. In addition, he has pioneered a novel trade regulation practice area bridging environmental organizations and stakeholders with industry in sustainability joint ventures. Chambers USA noted that “he is a well-regarded antitrust practitioner who is credited by clients for being ‘very thoughtful and willing to bounce ideas around.’"

Michael has also served as an adjunct professor of Constitutional Law and Business Organizations Law at the Monterey College of Law. He currently hosts the VoiceAmerica network International Crossroads segment of On the Law, a syndicated radio broadcast reaching more than 1,100 stations across the world (including more than 300 across the United States).

  • Washington, D.C. Super Lawyer, 2017
  • Leading Lawyer, Antitrust and Competition, Chambers USA, 2011-2016
  • Antitrust and Competition, Legal 500, 2016
  • Leading Lawyer, Antitrust and Competition, GCR
  • Obtained merger clearance for WellStar Health System’s $575 million acquisition of five metro Atlanta hospitals from Texas-based Tenet Healthcare.  The merger stands among the largest hospital transactions for 2016 in the United States by number of facilities.
  • Defending the chief executive of a major consumer facing branded manufacturer in a United States Department of Justice criminal price fixing investigation.
  • Sole counsel to the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, a multi-continental joint venture among the tuna processing industry, marine scientists and environmental non-governmental organizations.  The Foundation establishes science-based conservation measures for tuna species across the world’s oceans, supporting UN Convention organizations that reach scientific consensus but often fail to achieve international consensus among their constituent governments.  Industry participants that choose to follow the measures span continents from Africa, Europe, North and South America and Asia, and include the bulk of tuna processing worldwide.  The organization has achieved landmark status pioneering a bridge between environmental groups, industry and science, and serves an example of working within multinational legal regimes for environmental sustainability goals.
  • Defended Twin America against the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division and New York Attorney General federal district court lawsuit to unwind the Twin America transportation merger.  After three years of intense litigation, the DOJ and New York AG reached a settlement with Coach USA Inc., City Sights LLC and their joint venture, Twin America LLC, to remedy competitive concerns in the New York City hop-on, hop-off bus tour market.
  • Obtained merger clearance for Gannett’s $2.2 Billion acquisition of Belo Corporation’s multi-state radio and television broadcast media stations.
  • Successfully defended Western Refining’s $1.4 Billion acquisition of Giant Industries against a landmark Federal Trade Commission challenge to the transaction in a federal case that went through trial and appeal in less than 45 days.
  • Defended the H.J. Heinz Company’s acquisition of BeechNut’s baby food business successfully through trial, reversed on appeal in a decision widely discussed and analyzed contemporaneously and since.
  • Successfully defended the StarKist Dolphin Safe Policy in federal district court jury trial of Mexican tuna fleet commercial breach and interference claims.
  • Regular antitrust counsel to industries and companies across a wide spectrum of business on competitive acquisition strategies and conduct, including pricing, distribution, supply and collaborations.

Media Mentions

Speaking Engagements

  • April 21, 2017, Silicon Valley Association of General Counsel, "European Competition Law in the Nationalist Era: What You Need to Know at the Dawn of Divergence."
  • February 9, 2017, The Legal Authority of Presidential Executive Orders (VoiceAmerica's On the Law radio program). Co-hosts Mitchel Winick and Stephen Wagner are joined by regular guest co-host Constitutional Law Professor Michael Cohen to discuss the constitutional and legal authority of Presidential Executive Orders. The most recent orders issued by President Trump have raised constitutional questions regarding the separation of powers between federal and state governments.
  • December 29, 2016, The Tenth Supreme Court Justice, Who is the US Solicitor General? (VoiceAmerica's On the Law radio program). Co-hosts Stephen Wagner and Mitchel Winick are joined by guest co-host Michael Cohen to discuss the unique role of the US Solicitor General. Historically described as the "Tenth Supreme Court Justice," this influential government lawyer is one of the least known, and little understood, positions in the American justice system. What roles do the different government lawyers play in our federal, state, county, and local legal systems?
  • October 13, 2016, New Term, New Cases, Same Old Issues: Review of the New Supreme Court Term (VoiceAmerica's On the Law radio program). Co-host Mitchel Winick and guest co-host Michael Cohen discuss the 2016 October US Supreme Court Term. Cohen, a Constitutional Law Professor and International Law Attorney previews the major cases coming before the Court, including returning issues such as the death penalty, equal rights, and First Amendment Rights. Winick and Cohen also discuss the likely impact of the Court sitting with only eight Justices and the US Senate's refusal to hold hearings on the nomination of Merrick Garland.
  • August 11, 2016, Legal Challenges for In-House Corporate Counsel (International Crossroads segment of VoiceAmerica's On the Law radio program). Michael interviewed Ross Veltman, Executive Director of the Silicon Valley Association of General Counsel to discuss the in-house legal role, and the current issues America’s leading chief legal officers in California face across the vast national and multinational landscape.
  • June 30, 2016, Encore: Legal Drones, Illegal Fireworks, and Medical Research - No, not together! (International Crossroads segment of VoiceAmerica's On the Law radio program). Michael interviewed Nancy Koch, General Counsel to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, one of the largest private funders of basic research.
  • June 6, 2016, International Human Rights Survivors and the Global Mental Health Gap (International Crossroads segment of VoiceAmerica's On the Law radio program). Michael interviewed co-founders of Partnerships for Trauma Recovery - Monika Parikh and Annika Sridharan. Partnerships for Trauma Recovery was launched in response to the tremendous need to address the psychological impacts of human rights abuses among international survivors of human rights abuses.
  • May 19, 2016, Law of the Sea'food' (International Crossroads segment of VoiceAmerica's On the Law radio program). Michael discussed the long-term sustainability of global tuna fisheries with Susan Jackson, President and member of International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, which has grown from a small association of eight global tuna processors into the world’s premier organization advocating long-term sustainability of global tuna fisheries.