Robin Cohen, head of the firm’s insurance recovery practice, is one of the nation’s preeminent insurance litigators and focuses on representing insureds in complex insurance coverage matters. Robin has been named an "Insurance MVP" by Law360 five times, including in 2019. She also has been recognized as one of the “Top Ten” insurance litigators, one of the "Top 100 Trial Lawyers" in the nation by Benchmark Litigation, and one of the "50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America" by The National Law Journal. She was named “Insurance Lawyer of the Year” by Benchmark Litigation for the third consecutive year in 2019, and received the 2017 "Professional Excellence Award for Distinguished Leadership" from The New York Law Journal.
With more than 30 years of experience, Robin is a seasoned trial lawyer who has tried and litigated many of the most significant and cutting-edge insurance coverage cases, including asbestos, product liability, toxic tort, environmental, directors and officers, first-party, employee dishonesty, and employment coverage matters. She has negotiated large insurance settlement recoveries for her policyholder clients, including recoveries of more than several hundred million dollars. In total, she has helped her clients obtain more than $5 billion in insurance assets.
In March 2017, Robin was recognized and profiled as "Litigator of The Week" by AmLaw Litigation Daily following a significant insurance recovery victory for Verizon. She also received the 2017 "Best in Insurance & Reinsurance" award at the Euromoney "Women In Business Law Awards" and was awarded 2016 "Insurance Litigator of the Year" by Benchmark Litigation. Her talents have also been recognized in numerous publications, including 2017 Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, 2016 Chambers USA, 2015 Chambers USA, 2014 Chambers USA, 2013 Chambers USA ("outstanding in all aspects"), 2012 Chambers USA ("a real standout—innovative and fabulous all-around attorney"), 2011 Chambers USA ("spectacular and confidence-inspiring" and "she always knows how to resolve matters, whether to settle or fight"), 2010 Chambers USA ("an outstanding oral advocate and strategic thinker"), 2009 Chambers USA ("is always thinking three to five steps ahead on each issue"), 2008 Chambers USA ("is always strategic and very thorough in her approach—she is someone you can trust for the truly large matters") and Lawdragon 500 ("a top-flight advocate for insurance clients"). Robin was selected by Business Insurance as one the 2011 "Women to Watch" and was recognized as both a national and local "litigation star" in Benchmark Litigation and Benchmark Plaintiff, as well as named as one of the "Top 250 Women in Litigation" by Benchmark for six consecutive years. Robin is noted as a "Leading Lawyer" in The Legal 500’s guide to outstanding lawyers nationwide for Insurance: Advice to Policyholders and has been consistently named as one of the Top 500 "Leading Lawyers in America" by Lawdragon. Robin was featured as a "winning litigator" by The National Law Journal in 2013, where she was one of only five lawyers recognized nationally for overcoming tough odds in a case with high financial stakes.
- Lead counsel to New Jersey Transit Corporation in securing a decisive victory in New Jersey appellate court allowing the company to access up to $400 million in insurance coverage from a group of excess insurance carriers to make much-needed repairs to its property following the devastating impact of Superstorm Sandy. The court rejected the insurers' attempts to enforce a $100 million "flood" sublimit in the policies finding that Superstorm Sandy met the policies' definitions of "named windstorm," for which there is no sublimit.
Lead counsel to Verizon Communications Inc., Verizon Financial Services LLC and GTE Corporation (collectively, “Verizon”) in securing a victory before the Delaware Superior Court, which ruled that the company's insurers must provide coverage for tens of millions of dollars in legal fees and costs incurred in successfully defending against a $14 billion lawsuit filed against Verizon in connection with the spin-off of its directories businesses, which later filed for bankruptcy. The court granted summary judgment to Verizon, finding that the policy’s “Securities Claim” provision could be read to encompass a lawsuit alleging a violation of any statute or rule, including a common-law rule, that must be followed to properly engage in a securities transaction, and that the lawsuit against Verizon contained such allegations. Robin was recognized as "Litigator of the Week" by AmLaw Litigation Daily as a result of her success in the case.
Lead counsel to Givaudan Fragrances Corporation in securing a victory for corporate policyholders with far-reaching implications in protecting a corporate insured’s right to reorganize its business as it sees fit, without fear of risking the forfeiture of its historic insurance coverage. The unanimous New Jersey Supreme Court decision upheld an earlier appellate court ruling which affirmed Givaudan’s right to seek more than $500 million in insurance coverage for governmental and private claims related to environmental damage to the Passaic River and Newark Bay.
Lead counsel to Warren Pumps LLC in a case seeking coverage from more than a dozen insurance companies for thousands of asbestos-related claims. The firm’s lawyers have secured several high-profile courtroom victories for Warren, including a decisive jury verdict worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and landmark decisions from the New York Court of Appeals on the allocation of long-tail claims, and the Delaware Supreme Court on critical issues, including assignment of policy rights and the trigger of coverage, which have allowed Warren to access more than $500 million dollars in asbestos insurance coverage limits.
- Lead counsel for AR Capital and its directors and officers in securing a summary judgment ruling ordering that insurers must pay in excess of $70 million in limits incurred in defending and resolving securities matters.
Lead counsel to Eduardo Li, a former official of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (“FIFA”) in securing a preliminary injunction ordering immediate insurance company payments to fund Mr. Li’s defense in a high-profile criminal action. The court also denied the insurers’ motion to dismiss based on jurisdictional grounds and a Swiss forum selection clause in the insurance policy, finding that such clauses were unenforceable against an official who did not specifically agree to forego the protections of a U.S. court.
Lead counsel to Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (“TIAA”), College Retirement Equities Fund (“CREF”) and other related entities (collectively, “TIAA-CREF”) in an insurance coverage lawsuit filed in Delaware Superior Court in May 2014 against certain of TIAA-CREF’s primary and excess professional liability insurers seeking reimbursement of more than $60 million for the costs of defending and settling three class-action lawsuits alleging claims relating to delays in processing account holders’ transfer requests in certain investment accounts. Obtained a landmark decision from President Judge Jan Jurden granting summary judgment to TIAA-CREF on October 20, 2016 (which was further reaffirmed on November 16, 2016, when the court denied the insurers certification of an interlocutory appeal), finding that a civil settlement of a lawsuit involving claims for disgorgement was an insurable loss under New York law, and a jury verdict finding that one insurer waived its consent to settle defense and that TIAA-CREF was entitled to recover 100% of its defense costs as reasonable and necessary. The decision was affirmed by the Delaware Supreme Court on July 30, 2018.
- Lead counsel for Pfizer in securing a summary judgment that carriers cannot invoke certain exclusions in their policies to deny coverage for Pfizer’s costs of settling an underlying shareholder dispute.
- Lead counsel for Conduent in securing monies for investigative and defense costs relating to a $260 million Medicaid settlement.
Lead counsel to Standard General, a private hedge fund specializing in distressed debt, in securing a victory before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York holding that The Travelers Indemnity Company of Connecticut must provide coverage for legal fees and costs that Standard General incurred in successfully defending a defamation lawsuit filed against it by Dov Charney, the former CEO of American Apparel.
Lead counsel to Medidata Solutions Inc. in securing a Summary Judgment ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York allowing Medidata to access coverage under a Federal Insurance Co. commercial crime insurance policy for a loss that the company suffered as a result of a computer fraud incident. The decision is one of the first involving coverage for email “spoofing,” a threat faced by many companies, in which fraudulent transfers of money are induced by emails to employees that appear to be from the email accounts of senior company officers, but are sent by the perpetrators of the fraud with replies routed back to accounts the perpetrators control.
Lead counsel to Pella Corporation and various of its subsidiaries against numerous insurance companies in several Iowa federal court actions in which Pella is seeking insurance coverage for underlying lawsuits pending against Pella, including more than twenty class action lawsuits, which allege that certain Pella windows and doors were defective and, as a result, leaked and caused water damage. On November 1, 2016, McKool Smith’s lawyers obtained a summary judgment ruling holding that various of the pending lawsuits against Pella alleged a covered “occurrence,” defined as an “accident,” despite insurers’ contention that “foreseeable” damage caused by an insured’s defective work cannot give rise to an “occurrence” under applicable Iowa law. Because the existence of an “occurrence” was a threshold issue that Pella must establish in order to obtain insurance coverage, this ruling is significant to Pella’s pursuit of insurance coverage.
- Lead counsel to Cushman & Wakefield, the world’s largest privately held real estate services firm, in securing a summary judgment ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois which allows the company to access $48 million in coverage from four insurers to cover defense costs and settlement payments in connection with four lawsuits concerning underlying appraisal-related claims. The court also rejected the insurers’ counterclaims for recoupment of over $33 million already paid to Cushman by the carriers.
Prior to joining the firm:
- Lead counsel to IMO Industries Inc. in securing a landmark appellate decision affirming policyholder rights to coverage for tens of thousands of underlying asbestos claims under its $1.8 billion dollar insurance coverage program. In an extensive 114-page opinion, the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed trial court rulings in favor of the policyholder after a four-day bench trial as well as rulings in the policyholder’s favor in nearly a dozen substantive motions decided by the trial court.
- Lead counsel to MBIA in securing a victory just four months after the filing of the complaint, in which the Southern District of New York granted judgment in favor of MBIA and declared that the London market must pay tens of millions of dollars of MBIA's costs in defending suits arising from its restructuring of core business operations.
- Lead counsel to Visa Inc. in its insurance coverage action against its primary Professional Liability, Technology and Multimedia insurer, Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s. In a ruling issued in January 2012, Robin obtained a summary adjudication ruling from the San Francisco Superior Court in favor of Visa, successfully arguing that fixed, minimum statutory damages available under California's Invasion of Privacy and similar statutes are not excluded under the policies.
- Lead counsel to Syracuse University in securing a victory from New York’s Appellate Court stating National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is liable for defense costs the University incurred responding to and conducting an investigation in connection with a number of state and federal grand jury subpoenas relating to allegations of sexual abuse against its former associate basketball coach, Bernie Fine. In March 2013, the university was awarded initial summary judgment for this particular claim under a Not-For-Profit Individual and Organization Insurance Policy. In December 2013, New York’s Appellate Division, 4th Department, unanimously affirmed this ruling.
- Lead counsel for Convergys Corp in a coverage dispute in which the District Court for the Southern District of Ohio granted summary judgment ordering the policyholder's umbrella insurance company to immediately pay the policyholder's costs of defending two privacy class actions.
- Lead counsel on behalf of ABT Building Products Corp. ("ABTco") in a case against the insurance industry that obtained one of the largest jury verdicts ever in the North Carolina United States District Court. After Robin reached settlements with all of ABTco's carriers except AIG, ABTco was awarded trebled damages for violation of North Carolina's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act after a nine-day jury trial against AIG. In addition, the court awarded ABTco all of its attorneys' fees and pre-judgment interest. The jury verdict and court award were affirmed in their entirety by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Lead counsel to Philips Electronics North America Corporation and its subsidiaries in numerous insurance coverage actions around the country, involving hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance coverage. In connection with these representations, Robin successfully obtained numerous favorable rulings and negotiated settlements worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
- Lead counsel to Philips Lighting Company in its lawsuit against several insurance carriers in West Virginia concerning insurance coverage for approximately 4,000 toxic tort claims. Robin successfully obtained summary judgment requiring the carriers to provide a complete defense to Philips, after which all aspects of the coverage claim were fully and very favorably resolved for tens of millions of dollars.
- Lead counsel to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (“Port Authority”) in connection with the pursuit of insurance coverage arising from liabilities resulting from the 1993 terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center. The insurer who issued a $50 million insurance policy to the Port Authority initiated an arbitration against the Port Authority in Connecticut and the Port Authority responded with a suit in Essex County, New Jersey. Because of the events of 9/11, the Port Authority has lost many of its insurance records. Robin led a team of lawyers who successfully convinced the trial court to issue an order temporarily staying arbitration and providing the Port Authority with an opportunity to conduct discovery regarding the terms and conditions of the subject policy. While discovery was in the early stages the Port Authority agreed to a beneficial confidential settlement that confirmed that the insurer would meet its coverage obligations.
- Retained to testify as an expert on United States insurance law in an Italian lawsuit involving insurance subrogation rights under a policy controlled by U.S. law for tens of millions of dollars in damages resulting from a fire at facilities located in Milan, Italy.
- Frequently represents clients on various regulatory matters before the New York Insurance Department.
Rankings & Honors
- Recognized as an "MVP" for Insurance Litigation by Law360, 2013-2016, 2019
- Recognized by Chambers USA as one of the top policyholder lawyers nationwide. Ranked Band 1 (highest rating) Nationwide and in New York for Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder. The 2019 edition notes that she is a "very strategic thinker" and "She is a terrific lawyer: she handles big cases well, has an incredible ability to always be one step ahead and is very talented."
- Awarded "Insurance Lawyer of the Year" by Benchmark Litigation, 2017-2019
- Recognized as one of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” in the nation by Benchmark Litigation, 2018-2019
- Recognized as a 2018 "Plaintiff Trailblazer" by The National Law Journal. The feature honors the top 25 leading lawyers in the nation who have achieved "remarkable success" for plaintiffs.
- Profiled in Lawdragon's 2018 "Producer" series which includes lawyers who produce vast amounts of business for their firms.
- Recognized as a "Legend of the 500" by Lawdragon based on her inclusion in the Lawdragon 500 ranking for ten consecutive years, 2018
- Recognized and profiled as "Litigator of The Week" by AmLaw Litigation Daily following a significant insurance recovery victory for Verizon, 2017
- Awarded "Professional Excellence Award for Distinguished Leadership" by The New York Law Journal, 2017
- Awarded "Best in Insurance & Reinsurance" at the Euromoney Legal Media Group Americas "Women In Business Law Awards," 2017 and 2014
- Recognized as one of the "Top Ten" Insurance litigators in the nation by Benchmark Litigation, 2017
- Received the "Leadership in the Profession: Mentoring Lawyer of the Year (Private Practice)" award at the Chambers USA Women in Law Awards Ceremony, 2015
- Recognized by The Legal 500 as a leading lawyer in the United States for Insurance: Advice to Policyholders, 2011-2019.
- Named a national and local “litigation star” by Benchmark Litigation, 2010-2020
- Named one of the “Top 250 Women in Litigation” by Benchmark Litigation, 2012-2019
- Featured as a "winning litigator" by The National Law Journal, 2013.
- Named by The National Law Journal as one of the 50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America, 2007
- Named by Lawdragon magazine as one of the Top 500 “Leading Lawyers in America," 2005-2007, 2011-2018
- Rated AV Preeminent (5.0 out of 5.0) by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating, the highest level of professional excellence
- Recognized in the International Who’s Who Legal for Insurance and Reinsurance, 2011-2013
- Recognized in the 2nd edition of the Guide to the World’s Leading Women in Business Law, 2011-2013
- Selected for New York Metro Super Lawyers, 2007-2018
- Named by Lawdragon magazine as one of the “New Stars, New Worlds” attorneys, 2006
Media & Events
- Media Coverage: Appellate Division Affirms NJ Transit’s Entitlement to Full $400 Million Program Limits for Sandy Water Damage11.20.2019
- Appellate Division Affirms NJ Transit’s Entitlement to Full $400 Million Program Limits for Sandy Water Damage11.19.2019
- Lauren Varnado and Robin Cohen publish article titled "Institutions and Insurance After Texas Doubles Time Limit on Child Sex Abuse Claims" in The Texas Lawbook08.30.2019
- Law360 reports on Insurance Ruling for McKool Smith client Conduent State Healthcare v. AIG Speciality Insurance Co.08.30.2019
- Robin Cohen Discusses the New York Child Victims Act and It's Impact on Insuers with Insurance Business America08.29.2019
- Robin Cohen, Gayle Klein and Elizabeth Sherwin Recognized Among "Top 250 Women in Litigation" by Benchmark Litigation08.14.2019
- Benchmark Litigation Names Robin Cohen “Insurance Lawyer of the Year” and Honors McKool Smith with “Texas Law Firm of the Year” and “Impact Case of the Year” Award03.01.2019
- Media Coverage: McKool Smith Secures Ruling that Enables AR Capital to Seek Coverage for Legal Costs12.14.2018
- Mike McKool, Douglas Cawley, Robin Cohen, and Ted Stevenson Recognized as “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” by Benchmark Litigation10.12.2018
- The National Law Journal Recognizes Robin Cohen and Douglas Cawley as “Trailblazers” in Plaintiff Litigation05.14.2018
- Benchmark Litigation Names Robin Cohen “Insurance Lawyer of the Year” and Honors McKool Smith With National Impact Case Award for Quincy Jones Trial Win02.16.2018
- Mike McKool, Douglas Cawley and Robin Cohen Recognized as “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” by Benchmark Litigation10.18.2017
- Robin Cohen Receives New York Law Journal’s “Professional Excellence Award” for Distinguished Leadership10.18.2017
- Robin Cohen, Gayle Klein and Elizabeth Sherwin Recognized Among "Top 250 Women in Litigation" by Benchmark Litigation08.15.2017
- Robin Cohen Awarded “Best in Insurance” at the Euromoney Legal Media Group 2017 Women in Business Law Awards06.09.2017
- McKool Smith Recognized as a 2017 Leading U.S. Firm for Insurance and Patent Litigation by The Legal 50006.01.2017
- Robin Cohen Featured in Insurance Business Report: “Need Advice on Diversity? Take It From the Woman Suing You”02.28.2017
- Mike McKool Receives Benchmark “Lifetime Achievement Award” and Robin Cohen Named “Insurance Lawyer of the Year”02.17.2017
- Delaware Business Court Insider: Del. Supreme Court Disarms 'Exposure Trigger' in Asbestos Insurance Case09.14.2016
- Robin Cohen, Gayle Klein and Elizabeth Sherwin Recognized Among "Top 250 Women in Litigation" by Benchmark Litigation08.05.2016
- The Wall Street Journal: Seven Trial Lawyers Led by Robin Cohen Join McKool Smith to Launch Insurance Recovery Practice02.02.2016
- McKool Smith Secures One of the Largest Verdicts Against Protective Life Insurance Policy in Alabama09.25.2018
- Delaware Supreme Court Affirms McKool Smith’s $40 Million+ Coverage Win for TIAA – Rules Settlement of Civil Disgorgement Claims Insurable Under New York Law07.31.2018
- Robin Cohen to Discuss “Strategies for Negotiating Salary” at the Women, Influence & Power in Law Conference (WIPL)10.12.2017
- Speaker, "Cutting-Edge Trends and Developments in Allocation Issues," Emerging Insurance Coverage & Allocation Issues Conference, May 18, 2016
- Speaker, Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Annual Meeting, October 16–19, 2005
- "Emerging Insurance Coverage & Allocations Issues Conference," Perrin Conferences, January 24, 2011
- Speaker, “Women and the Bottom Line: How Supporting Diversity Offers a Competitive Business Advantage,” Associate of Corporate Counsel (ACC), San Diego Chapter, Executive Briefing and Networking Event (co-hosted by Sony Electronics and Dickstein Shapiro L
- Panelist, "Women in Law Seminar," Chambers and Partners, March 12, 2015
- Speaker, “Women and the Bottom Line: How Supporting Diversity Offers a Competitive Business Advantage,” Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), Greater New York Chapter, Executive Briefing Breakfast, February 9, 2006
- Robin Cohen and Lauren Varnado publish article on "Insurance Coverage in the Wake of the New York Child Victims Act and Sex Abuse Lawsuits" in the New York Law Journal08.23.2019
- Robin Cohen and Lauren Varnado’s Article “Maximizing Insurance Recovery For Energy Companies” Published in Law36004.30.2019
- Law360, 10.05.2016
- Insurance Coverage Alert: McKool Smith Secures Another Landmark Decision On Trigger of Coverage, Assignment and Defense Cost Issues In Viking Pump09.13.2016
- Insurance Coverage Alert: McKool Smith Obtains Landmark Decision on Allocation of Liability in Viking Pump05.12.2016
- Co-Author, "Key Considerations for Obtaining Insurance Coverage for Internal Investigations," The New York Law Journal, November 9, 2015.
- Featured, " Voice of Experience: Robin Cohen, Partner, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman," The Glass Hammer, October 14, 2013.
- Co-author, "Insurance Coverage For Invasion of Privacy Claims," Corporate Counsel, May 7, 2013.
- Co-author, “PERSPECTIVES: Damage Claims from Sandy Highlight Business' Insurance Struggles,” Business Insurance, April 12, 2013, Robin Cohen and William Denver.
- Featured, "Q&A With Kasowitz’s Robin Cohen," Law360, March 21, 2013.
- Co-author, "Insurance Implications For The Disasters in Japan," PropertyCasualty360, April, 2011, Robin Cohen and Randy Paar.
- Co-author, "Government Investigations: Are You Covered?," Corporate Board Member, February 25, 2011, Robin Cohen and Keith McKenna.
- Co-author, "Coverage for Defense Costs in Consumer Fraud Actions," New York Law Journal, August 12, 2010, Robin Cohen, Keith McKenna and Sheri Hametz.
- Co-author, "Recovering Consequential Damages in Insurance Actions," New York Law Journal, July 8, 2010, Robin Cohen and Joseph Jean.
- Co-author, “Policyholders’ Rights to Recover Attorney’s Fees From Insurers,” New York Law Journal, August 12, 2009, Robin Cohen, Joseph Jean, and Jared Zola.
- Co-author, “State Insurer Bad Faith Law After ‘Bi-Economy’ and ‘Panasia’,” New York Law Journal, March 17, 2009, Robin Cohen, Joseph Jean, Jared Zola, and Rachel Wrightson.
- Co-Author, “Damages Beyond the Policy Limits,” The Insurance Coverage Law Bulletin, June 2008, Robin Cohen, Joseph Jean, Rachel Wrightson, and Jared Zola.
- Co-Author, “Designing a Women’s Initiative That Works,” The New York Law Journal, October 2007, Robin Cohen and Elaine Metlin.
- Co-Author, “Women Leaders Boost Profit,” Barron’s, September 4, 2006, Robin Cohen and Linda Kornfeld.
- Co-Author, “Do Your Due Diligence,” New York Law Journal Magazine, May 2006, Robin Cohen and Elaine Arabatzis.
- Co-Author, “Women Leaders and the Bottom Line,” Bloomberg Corporate Law Journal, Winter 2006, Robin Cohen and Linda Kornfeld.
J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1986
B.A., magna cum laude, University of Pennsylvania, 1983
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1987
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 1997
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 1998
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, 2006
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, 2010
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 2010
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas, 2012
- U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, 2015
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 2015
- Pennsylvania, 1986
- New York, 1989
- New Jersey, 1989