Top of page

Robert A. Cohen


Robert A. Cohen

White Collar Defense & Investigations
Washington DC

Represents companies, boards and individuals in government investigations. Conducts internal investigations. Held senior roles in the SEC Enforcement Division.

Rob brings 15 years of senior-level experience in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement to his work representing companies, boards and individuals in government investigations, as well as conducting internal investigations.

He represents public companies in SEC investigations concerning disclosures, accounting and internal controls. He is an authority on cryptocurrency enforcement, having served as the first-ever Chief of the SEC’s Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit. Rob frequently advises clients regarding cybersecurity incidents, including defense of government investigations. He also supervised trading-related investigations as Co-Chief of the SEC’s Market Abuse Unit.

“He expertly marries legal advice, practical judgment and setting client expectations,” says a source quoted by Chambers.

Rob is “is a terrific litigator and he really digs in to get to the meat of things,” says a source quoted by Chambers FinTech.

Experience highlights

SEC Investigations
  • Obtained termination notices without charges in eight separate SEC investigations in less than three years (2021-2024)

Rob’s SEC enforcement representations include:

  • A large technology public company concerning disclosures
  • A Fortune 100 public company, concerning internal controls
  • A Fortune 500 public company, concerning metric disclosures
  • A manufacturing public company, concerning accounting for supplier rebates
  • A hedge fund adviser, concerning fixed income trading
  • Multiple financial institutions, concerning off-channel communications
  • A large broker dealer concerning the Customer Protection Rule
  • A public company/medical device manufacturer, concerning disclosures
  • An individual, concerning auditing standards 
Other Government and Internal Investigations
  • Multiple broker-dealers in FINRA investigations, including involving underwriting practices, best execution and trade data
  • Multiple public companies in internal investigations, including regarding a subsidiary and material, nonpublic information 
Cryptocurrency & Digital Assets
  • A large digital asset financial services firm in SEC, DOJ, NYAG and CFTC investigations
  • Multiple developers of decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms in SEC investigations
  • A cryptocurrency asset manager, a stablecoin issuer, an executive of a blockchain developer and an NFT creator in separate SEC investigations
  • Featured in Netflix documentary “Bitconned” about one of the first fraud cases of the crypto era
Data Privacy & Cybersecurity
  • Multiple public companies in responding to the SEC sweep regarding the SolarWinds compromise
  • A public company in an SEC investigation regarding cybersecurity disclosures
  • A Fortune 100 company in an internal investigation regarding a cyber incident

Earlier, at the SEC, cases that Rob supervised included:

  • Insider trading cases involving hedge funds, a member of Congress, and passing of notes at Grand Central Station
  • Public company accounting and disclosure cases
  • Trading investigations related to order handling, national stock exchanges and alternative trading systems
  • Hacking of the SEC’s EDGAR system
  • Collapse of a short-term bond fund
View more experience


SEC & CFTC Enforcement Update



Chambers USA – Securities: Regulation: Enforcement

Chambers FinTech – Crypto-Asset Disputes, USA, Band 1

National Law Journal – “Washington DC Trailblazer,” 2020


J.D., New York University School of Law
B.S., Policy Analysis, Cornell University


Law Clerk, Hon. Alexander Williams Jr., U.S. District Court, Maryland, 1997-1998

Professional history

  • Davis Polk since 2019
  • Division of Enforcement, Securities and Exchange Commission, 2004-2019
    • Chief, Cyber Unit (now named Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit), 2017-2019
    • Co-Chief, Market Abuse Unit, 2015-2017
    • Co-Deputy Chief, Market Abuse Unit, 2013-2015
    • Assistant Director, 2010-2013
  • Associate, Hogan & Hartson, 2001-2004
  • Associate, Proskauer Rose, 1998-2001

Qualifications and admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • State of Maryland
  • State of New York
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. New York
  • U.S. District Court, Maryland
  • U.S. District Court, S.D. New York
Back to top