Robin L. Cohen, Head of Insurance Recovery Practice, Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman LLP.
How long have you been working for your current company?
Briefly explain your career history and what led you to your current position.
Anderson Kill, 1986 – 1996; Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky, Managing Partner of New York Office from 1996 – January 2010.
What is your proudest professional achievement and why?
Lead counsel for Philips Electronics in one of the first large environmental coverage cases to go to trial. We settled in the middle of the trial and obtained settlements which far out exceeded the expectations of the client.
What are the greatest challenges that you face in your current role and what do you do to overcome them?
Corruption in the legal system and in particular the insurance industry.
Systematic attempts to get various Judges recused when they rule for the policyholder.
How difficult is it for you personally to attain work-life balance and how do you endeavour to do this?
Not difficult because I have a tremendous amount of support from my husband, In-laws and Sister.
Did you have a mentor or role model in your career or while you were studying law? Who were they and how did they help you?
Jerry Oshinsky - very supportive throughout my career in placing me in leadership positions at various firms prior to joining Kasowitz Benson.
How effective do you think corporate diversity initiatives are? What methods do you think are most effective and why?
Typically not. The best diversity initiatives are ones which teach women how to become business generators. The power within an institution derives from your ability to get clients and service them well.
Were there any points in your career when you felt you were at a disadvantage or at an advantage because you were female?
At an advantage when I was younger and one of the only women in the courtroom in a large case. Both the jury and Judge were very deferential and protective and I could usually accomplish more in terms of effective direct and cross examination. Big disadvantage with male contemporaries who have a difficult time because your career took off quicker than their's.
What do you think have been the most significant changes for women in the legal industry over the past five years?
There appears to be a lot more women as Heads of Litigation and General Counsel. They seek out effective outside counsel who are women, which helps women succeed in their law firms.