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Attorney Profiles > Debra S. Cohen


Ms. Cohen co-chairs our Civil Rights Practice Group where she concentrates in litigation involving police misconduct.

Ms. Cohen's first civil rights case involved the 1996 death of Charles Campbell --shot in a Westchester parking lot by an off-duty New York City police officer (who was later convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to twenty years to life in prison). In a subsequently filed civil suit, a federal jury awarded the Campbell family a multi-million dollar verdict. Since then, Ms. Cohen has represented a wide variety of clients whose civil rights and constitutional entitlements were violated by police, schools, local planning and building department officials, as well as private employers. She utilizes a variety of strategies to achieve the best possible outcome, including litigation, negotiation, media, and community-based organizing.

In addition to her litigation practice, Ms. Cohen has authored several articles and op-ed pieces on civil rights, land use, and open government issues. Her piece entitled, "Rebuilding Yonkers," published in the Spring 2009 edition of the New York State Bar Association's Government, Law and Policy Journal, examined the positive impact of New York State's FOIL and Open Meetings Law on Yonkers' economic development. She has also written op-eds which have been published by the New York Times, the New York Daily News, Gannett's Journal News and other regional and national newspapers. In an article published by the New York Law Journal on February 17, 2017, Ms. Cohen advocated for reform of how the NYPD responds to calls involving people with mental illnesses. In 2017, Ms. Cohen's professional contributions and achievements were acknowledged by the Westchester Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute for Non-Violence.

Ms. Cohen is admitted in the State of New York, as well as the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

A graduate of Vassar College and Pace Law, she has been an Adjunct Professor at Pace since 2005 teaching civil rights law.

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