Robert A. Cohen
  1. Partner

Mr. Cohen brings 15 years of experience in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement to his work as a partner in Davis Polk’s Litigation Department in Washington DC. As a member of the firm’s White Collar Criminal Defense and Government Investigations Group, he focuses on representing companies, boards and individuals in regulatory matters and internal investigations.

During his tenure at the agency, Mr. Cohen was involved in significant enforcement actions across a wide range of areas, including securities fraud, insider trading, market manipulation and abuse, financial fraud, cybersecurity and cryptocurrency.

As the first-ever Chief of the Cyber Unit, he supervised investigations concerning cybersecurity events, controls and disclosures at broker-dealers, investment advisers, stock exchanges and public companies, initial coin offerings and other conduct involving digital assets, and cyber-related market manipulations.

Mr. Cohen previously was Co-Chief of the Market Abuse Unit, supervising market structure and trading investigations, including violations by national securities exchanges, dark pools and large brokerdealers, complex insider trading, and large-scale manipulation.

Mr. Cohen is admitted to practice in New York and Maryland, and is practicing in DC under the supervision of partners of the firm.

Work Highlights

 Prior to joining Davis Polk, cases that Mr. Cohen supervised at the SEC included:

  • Cryptocurrency matters involving initial coin offerings and digital tokens
  • Trading matters related to order handling and routing, national stock exchanges, and alternative trading systems
  • Several cases involving public company accounting, controls, and disclosures, including reserves for environmental liability at a Fortune 500 company and revenue recognition practices at a technology company
  • Deficient cybersecurity procedures at a broker-dealer and investment adviser
  • A hacker and multiple traders who hacked into the SEC's EDGAR system
  • Insider trading, including separate cases involving hedge funds, a member of Congress and nonpublic government information
  • $118 million case involving collapse of short-term bond fund

Professional History

  • Partner, Davis Polk, 2019-present
  • Division of Enforcement, Securities and Exchange Commission, 2004-2019
    • Chief, 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
  • Law Clerk, Hon. Alexander Williams Jr., U.S. District Court, District of Maryland, 1997-1998

Bar Admissions

  • State of Maryland
  • State of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Maryland
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. New York
  • U.S. District Court, S.D. New York


  • B.S., Policy Analysis, Cornell University, 1994
  • J.D., New York University School of Law, 1997