Ronald C. Cohen

Attorney

Litigation

Arbitration

Appeals

Education Law

Sports

Tel: 310-734-2039

rcohen@levatolaw.com

Ron is an experienced litigator, trial attorney, and counselor, with extensive success representing domestic and international clients in trials, arbitrations, and appeals in several states.  He is also a recognized leader in the California business community, serving as outside general counsel to the California Business Roundtable.

Named among THE BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA for 2016-2019, Ron was also one of 16 U.S. lawyers from California recognized in THE INTERNATIONAL WHO'S WHO OF COMMERCIAL LITIGATORS for 2012-2013. 

Prior to joining LevatoLaw in 2018, Ron was a partner at the international law firm of Sidley Austin, where he had spent his entire 31-year legal career.

 

Experience

Litigation, Arbitration, and Appellate Highlights


In 2009, Ron co-chaired a trial team that won an international arbitration which the LOS ANGELES AND SAN FRANCISCO DAILY JOURNAL named as one of California’s top five awards in its publication of “Top Plaintiff Verdicts of 2009.” The case was tried on behalf of the lead investors in the Billion dollar-plus World Market Center, a large showroom and trade show complex in Las Vegas. After a 26-day arbitration hearing, a unanimous three-member panel issued an award that restored the investors’ interests in the project, ordered over $22 million dollars of monetary relief, and imposed sanctions of several hundred thousand dollars for spoliation of evidence and obstruction of discovery. In that hearing, Ron’s team was opposed by four major law firms, including the heads of three national litigation practices.

In 2010-2012, Ron argued four subsequent appeals in the World Market Center litigation – in California and New York – obtaining victories in each, including affirming the entirety of the 2009 arbitration award, sanctions and judgment.

In 2011, Ron co-chaired a trial team that won, on behalf of a major commercial real estate developer, the liability phase in a multi-week arbitration to enforce lease obligations against a tenant who refused to take occupancy of a new, custom-built office building, before the matter was resolved confidentially.

Ron’s litigation practice has included significant cases across a spectrum of industries, including commercial real estate development and joint ventures, higher education, financial services, oil and gas refinery operations, and accounting, and has involved administrative proceedings, government investigations, and corporate internal investigations, in addition to civil litigation.
 

Education Law Highlights


Ron has represented colleges in matters involving presidential appointment and termination, faculty appointment, promotion, tenure and termination, student academic dismissal, student discipline and conduct regulation, athletics compliance and intercollegiate conference policies, grade challenges, constitutional and statutory rights of free expression, academic freedom, harassment and discrimination, immigration compliance, protection of campus private property rights, charitable gift and annuity transactions, civil rights, and approvals for campus development.
 

For educational institutions, Ron’s leading cases have included POMONA COLLEGE V. SUPERIOR COURT (CORIN), 45 Cal.App.4th 1776 (1996), the seminal case establishing administrative mandamus as the limited form of judicial review of private college tenure decisions, and the precursor to the line of cases limiting the judicial review of student disciplinary decisions. He also prevailed in CITIZENS' COMMITTEE TO SAVE OUR VILLAGE V. CITY OF CLAREMONT (POMONA COLLEGE), 37 Cal.App.4th 1157 (1995), upholding the development of an academic building on vital campus land against environmental, zoning, public dedication and historical resources challenges.
 

Ron has advised executive leadership and senior staff, boards of trustees, and faculty committees, involving many aspects of college operations, including governance, compliance, development of policies and procedures, proactive avoidance of legal problems, contract review, crisis management, internal and external dispute resolution, and directing the work of other attorneys in particular specialties.

 

Credentials

Education

J.D., with Honors, The University of Chicago Law School, 1987

Order of the Coif

B.A., magna cum laude, Economics, Pomona College, 1984

Phi Beta Kappa

Admissions

State of California

U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit

U.S. District Court, N.D. of California

U.S. District Court, C.D. of California

U.S. District Court, S.D. of California

 

Board Memberships

Ron has served on the Board of Directors of the CALIFORNIA BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE since 2006, and on its Executive Committee since 2009. The Roundtable is a non-partisan organization comprised of the senior executive leadership of major employers throughout California, which identifies issues critical to a healthy business climate and provides leadership to strengthen the state’s economy and create jobs.  When Ron was invited to join the Board of Directors, he became the second law firm member in the Roundtable’s then 30-year history, and the first in nearly 20 years.

Ron has served on the Board of Directors of the LOS ANGELES SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT COMMISSION since 2011 and on its Executive Committee since 2014. The LASEC focuses on bringing major sports and entertainment events to the Los Angeles area which have a significant economic impact.
 

In 2013, Ron was a member of the delegation of California business, economic development, investment and policy leaders that accompanied Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. on his historic trade and investment mission to the People’s Republic of China.
 

Ron is a founding Board of Directors member of the CALIFORNIA CENTER FOR JOBS & THE ECONOMY , which was launched in 2013 to provide an objective and definitive source of information pertaining to job creation and economic trends in California, including impacts on economic diversity, public revenues, and economic opportunities for the state’s increasingly diverse population.
 

Ron serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of SHOES THAT FIT, which tackles one of the most visible signs of poverty by providing new athletic shoes to school children in need throughout the country. He was recently invited to join the ALL-VOLUNTEER FORCE FORUM, a network of national security experts, military officers, and academics examining the methodology for populating the US Armed Forces. Ron is also an active supporter of Operation Game On, which provides golf instruction and custom equipment to combat-injured troops suffering from physical and mental disabilities.

In 2014, Ron was an invited speaker on “Trying the Arbitration Case: What Lawyers and Arbitrators Need to Know About Commercial Arbitration,” a program jointly presented by the College of Commercial Arbitrators and the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

 

In 2005 and 2006, Ron was the featured speaker on student discipline and academic freedom at the Roundtable for Christian Colleges and Universities.

In 1997, Ron received the Wiley W. Manuel Pro Bono Award from the State Bar of California after obtaining a grant of political asylum for a disadvantaged family based on reproductive persecution.  Later he successfully represented another family seeking political asylum based on fear of political persecution by a domestic terrorist group.  Ron also represented plaintiffs in two nationwide class actions on behalf of Vietnam veterans with Agent Orange-related disabilities.  At his prior firm, Ron served as chair of the local pro bono committee when the office was awarded Public Counsel’s Law Firm Pro Bono Award in 1998.

 

Recognitions

THE BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA, 2016-2019 (Sports)

THE INTERNATIONAL WHO'S WHO OF COMMERCIAL LITIGATORS, 2012-13

“Top Plaintiff Verdicts of 2009,” LOS ANGELES AND SAN FRANCISCO DAILY JOURNAL, 2010

Wiley W. Manuel Pro Bono Award, STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA, 1997

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