Michael P.A. Cohen

Michael P.A. Cohen: Attorney with Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP AV stamp icon
Attorney Awards


Michael Cohen is a partner with the 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.

Over his now twenty-nine year legal career, Michael has practiced all dimensions of competition law, defending multinational clients without borders across continents in business conduct and merger clearance investigations throughout the world's global 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, computer system, oil and gas, heavy manufacturing, food processing, beverage, broadcast, digital media, transportation 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 well known for trying high-stakes merger cases as well as other civil and criminal antitrust litigation. He has a strong and varied client base including publishing, technology and healthcare companies. Clients describe him as ‘a wonderful partner.’

From 2015-2017, Michael hosted 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). Listeners can stream, download or subscribe to Michael’s International Crossroads show here .

Michael currently hosts the Sheppard Mullin podcast Nota Bene, a weekly series covering the cutting-edge and ever-changing legal issues affecting multinationals doing business without borders. Listeners can subscribe, download and listen to all podcasts here . He previously hosted the Sheppard Mullin monthly Breakfast with Europe webcast, which can be found here .

In addition, Michael currently serves as an adjunct professor to Washington & Lee University School of Law teaching International Comparative Competition Law. Michael also serves on the faculty to the Monterey College of Law, where he has taught Constitutional Law, Business Organizations, and the Heisler Advocacy Clinic.

Michael’s Twitter feed is @mpacohen


•Washington, D.C. Super Lawyer, 2017-2018
•Leading Lawyer, Antitrust and Competition, Chambers USA, 2011-2018
•Antitrust and Competition, Legal 500, 2016-2018
•Leading Lawyer, Antitrust and Competition, GCR


•Defending Reynolds and Reynolds Company in connection with federal antitrust multi-district litigation, In Re: Dealer Management Systems Antitrust Litigation, MDL 2817 (N.D. Ill.).
•Represented the largest independent publisher of yellow pages phone directories in California, as plaintiff in below cost pricing, loss leader and secret rebate action under California’s Unfair Practices Act, favorably settling for a confidential amount. AGI Publishing, Inc. v. YP Western Directory, Fresno Superior Court, No.14 CE CG 00656.
•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

•Sheppard Mullin Picks Up Ex-Paul Hastings Antitrust Chair
Law360 , November 16, 2015

Speaking Engagements

•Sept. 13, 2017, SCOTUS: Criminal Law Decisions We All Need to Know from the 2016 Term, LawLine webinar
•August 3, 2017, Distinguishing between Legal and Political Issues Amidst the Chaos inside the Washington DC Beltway (VoiceAmerica's On the Law radio program). Cohosts Mitchel Winick, Stephen Wagner, and Michael Cohen discuss the distinction between political and legal issues amidst the legislative chaos and Presidential tweeting going on in Washington DC.
•July 13, 2017, 2017 Supreme Court Update (VoiceAmerica's On the Law radio program). Co-hosts Mitchel Winick, Stephen Wagner, and regular guest co-host Michael Cohen discussed the final session of the 2017 June session of the US Supreme Court.
•June 29, 2017, Seismic Changes in the World Order: US Withdraws from International Policy Leadership (VoiceAmerica's On the Law radio program). Join International Crossroads host Michael Cohen in a conversation with co-hosts Mitchel Winick and Stephen Wagner about United States withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific partnership and the President’s threatened termination of NAFTA in the Americas.
•May 25, 2017, Blockchain Technology May Replace Banks and Stock Exchanges: Will the Law be Ready? (VoiceAmerica's On the Law radio program). Join International Crossroads host Michael Cohen in a conversation with co-hosts Mitchel Winick and Stephen Wagner about the future of global trade, banking, and finance in a new digital world.
•April 27, 2017, US International Trade in the Trump Administration Era (VoiceAmerica's On the Law radio program). Co-hosts Mitchel Winick, Stephen Wagner, and regular guest co-host Michael Cohen discussed whether the sudden withdrawal of the United States from its longstanding role in the international trade arena stand to cede a new economic world order, leaving America in the rear view.
•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.
•March 23, 2017, US Trade Policy (VoiceAmerica's On the Law radio program). Co-hosts Mitchel Winick, Stephen Wagner, and regular guest co-host Michael Cohen reviewed the recent release of the Trump administration's 2017 US Trade Policy Agenda. They discussed the international business community's reaction to these and other Trump administration trade policies.
•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.
•June 2, 2016, Law of the Sea'food' (VoiceAmerica's On the Law radio program). Guest Co-host Michael Cohen joins regular hosts Mitchel Winick and Stephen Wagner to discuss the long-term sustainability of global tuna fisheries. Special program guest is Susan S. Jackson, President and member of the Board of Directors of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). Under Jackson’s leadership, ISSF has grown from a small association of eight global tuna processors into the world’s premier organization uniting industry leaders, the environmental community and leading scientists in the creation, advocacy and adoption of science-based best practices that advance the long-term sustainability of global tuna fisheries. Through her unwavering focus on collaboration, Jackson has created successful partnerships with constructive NGOs, scientists, governments and has led efforts to make ISSF an effective advocate for positive change in the Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs), the governing bodies responsible for managing tuna resources worldwide.
•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.


• Breakfast with Europe Webinar Series
December 21, 2017
• Breakfast with Europe Webinar Series
November 16, 2017
• Breakfast with Europe Webinar Series
October 19, 2017
• Breakfast with Europe Webinar Series
September 21, 2017
• Breakfast with Europe Webinar Series
May 18, 2017
•ABA Environmental Collaborations: The Legal Mosaic Mixing Environmental Needs and Polices with Antitrust
Teleconference , May 15, 2017
• Breakfast with Europe Webinar Series
April 20, 2017
• Breakfast with Europe Webinar Series
March 16, 2017
• Breakfast with Europe Webinar Series
February 16, 2017
• Breakfast with Europe Webinar Series
December 1, 2016
• Breakfast with Europe Webinar Series
November 3, 2016
• Breakfast with Europe Webinar Series
October 6, 2016


•Nota Bene Episode 31: Mexican Border Closure, Obamacare, and Mueller’s Report with Jonathan Meyer
April 10, 2019
•Nota Bene Episode 30: My Two Cents: Privacy Laws, Brexit Update, the State of Private Equity Markets, California Cannabis Boom, and Effective Corporate Compliance with host Michael P.A. Cohen
April 3, 2019
•Nota Bene Episode 29: The Essential Elements of Effective Corporate Compliance Programs with Jim McGinnis
March 27, 2019
•Nota Bene Episode 28: Breaking Down the Emerging California Cannabis Industry with Christopher Sabec
March 20, 2019
•Nota Bene Episode 27: The Gangbuster State of Private Equity and Merger and Acquisition Cycles in the U.S. with Luca Salvi
March 13, 2019
•Nota Bene Episode 26: Unpacking the Latest News on the Brexit Negotiations with Oliver Heinisch
March 6, 2019
•Nota Bene Episode 25: Keeping Up with Privacy Laws Affecting Your Business with Liisa Thomas
February 27, 2019
•Nota Bene Episode 24: My Two Cents: The Government Shutdown, Healthcare in the U.S., the Real Business of Congress, Foreign Investment Controls and Latin American Markets with host Michael P. A. Cohen
February 20, 2019
•Nota Bene Episode 23: Don’t Ignore Latin American Markets for Growth Opportunities with Luis Maizel
February 13, 2019
•Nota Bene Episode 22: Exploring the Impact of Foreign Investment Controls with Curt Dombek
February 6, 2019
•Nota Bene Episode 21: The Real Business of Congress with Elizabeth Frazee
January 30, 2019
•Nota Bene Episode 20: The Evolving Nature of the U.S. Healthcare Industry with David Garcia
January 23, 2019
•Nota Bene Episode 19: What the Government Shutdown Means for Businesses with Jonathan Meyer
January 14, 2019
•Nota Bene Episode 18: Human Capital, Net Neutrality, Insider Trading, In-House Counsel’s Role, and Congressional Oversight
January 9, 2019
•Nota Bene Episode 17: Busting the Seven Myths of Congressional Oversight with Jonathan Meyer
January 2, 2019
•Nota Bene Episode 16: Law Business Within a Business: The Expanding Value of Corporate Counsel with William Kruse
December 19, 2018
•Nota Bene Episode 15: C-Suite Trades: Three Developments Insiders Need to Know with Sarah Aberg
December 12, 2018
•Nota Bene Episode 14: Net Neutrality Essentials with Paul Werner
December 5, 2018
•Nota Bene Episode 13: Human Capital and Defining the Relationship with Your Workforce in the 21st Century with Morgan Forsey
November 28, 2018
•Nota Bene Episode 12: My Two Cents: India’s Emergence, Corporate Reform, Import Injuries, Securities Regulations, and Platform Markets with host Michael P. A. Cohen
November 21, 2018
•Nota Bene Episode 11: The Proliferation of Platforms and Their Role in Our Economy with Nady Nikonova
November 14, 2018
•Nota Bene Episode 10: Testing the Temperament of Current Financial Securities Regulation with Jeff Kern
November 7, 2018
•Nota Bene Episode 9: Import Injuries and Private Trade War Remedies at the U.S. International Trade Commission with Economist Susan Henley Manning
October 31, 2018
•Nota Bene Episode 8: Eight Lessons to Lasting Corporate Reform with Jonathan Aronie
October 24, 2018
•Nota Bene Episode 7: India’s Emergence in the Global Market with Fatema Merchant
October 17, 2018
•Nota Bene Episode 6: My Two Cents: Trade Wars, Europe versus Big American Tech, Blockchain, Tuna and Brexit
October 10, 2018
•Nota Bene Episode 5: The Brexit Deadline and Its Impacts on Multinational Businesses with Oliver Heinisch
October 3, 2018
•Nota Bene Episode 4: Creating a Socially and Environmentally Conscious Supply Chain with Susan Jackson
September 26, 2018
•Note Bene Episode 3: Implementing Blockchain Technology to Improve Operations with James Gatto
September 19, 2018
•Note Bene Episode 2: Big in Europe? What Multinationals Need to Know about Competing on the Continent with Isabelle Rahman
September 12, 2018
•Note Bene Episode 1: How Multinational Companies are Affected by the Current Trade Wars with World Economic Forum Member Scott Maberry
September 12, 2018

(Also at Washington, D.C. Office)

Areas of Practice (12)

  • International Reach
  • International Arbitration
  • Antitrust and Competition
  • Communications
  • Energy, Infrastructure and Project Finance
  • Entertainment and Digital Media
  • Food and Beverage
  • Healthcare
  • Maritime
  • Nonprofit
  • Open Source
  • Social Media and Games

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
202.747.1958  Phone
415.774.3240  Fax
University Attended:
Virginia Tech, B.A., 1987
Law School Attended:
Washington and Lee University - School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, 1990
Year of First Admission:
District of Columbia; Virginia; United States Supreme Court; United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia; United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit; United States District Court for the District of Columbia; United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
Birth Information:
Monterey, California, October 12, 1965

Peer Reviews

A Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rating reflects a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating.

*Peer Reviews provided before April 15, 2008 are not displayed.

Washington, District of Columbia

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