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Nelson C. Cohen
Senior Counsel
7501 Wisconsin Avenue
Suite 700W
Bethesda, MD 20814-6521
Phone: 301.804.3618
Fax: 301.804.3647

In a career spanning almost 40 years, Nelson Cohen has negotiated hundreds of workouts on behalf of his bankruptcy clients—saving them the time and expense of having to go to court.  When litigation is unavoidable, Mr. Cohen has significant experience fighting for both debtors and creditors in the bankruptcy courts.  He has vast experience litigating in many federal, state and bankruptcy courts throughout the East.

In the bankruptcy area, Mr. Cohen concentrates on construction, real estate developers, homebuilding and related fields such as mortgage lending, office and apartment buildings, and home furnishings, as well as on companies in the hospitality and luxury goods industries. He has represented numerous debtors in complex Chapter 11 reorganizations, served as creditor committee counsel, and represented secured creditors in bankruptcy cases. He has also represented Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 Trustees in virtually all aspects of bankruptcy law.

Mr. Cohen has also put his years of bankruptcy law experience to use in service to the community. As chair of Bankruptcy Task Force of the District of Columbia Circuit Judicial Conference Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, his advocacy resulted in the implementation of a new local rule ensuring those in need would have access to pro bono bankruptcy counsel. Mr. Cohen has also served on the Local Rules Committee in the District of Columbia to help overhaul the Local Bankruptcy Rules. 

Representative Cases

Represented a long-time Washington, DC retail chain in its Chapter 11 reorganization. ‎The debtor was able to sell its assets to a new entrant in the market. The new entrant assumed several of the retail leases and offered employment to a significant number of the debtor’s employees. The case involved successful negotiation of a reduction of the claims of the debtor’s principal unsecured creditors. The proceeds of the sale of the assets together with the reduction of the claims of the principal unsecured creditors allowed potential distributions to professionals, employees, and taxing authorities. The court agreed to dismiss the Chapter 11 proceeding. 

Represented a horseracing track with pari-mutuel betting in its Chapter 11 reorganization and advised the debtor on the operation of its business during bankruptcy, including its interaction with the state authority that governs the operation of horse racing in Maryland. Ultimately, the debtor’s assets were sold to the owner of numerous racing and casino operations in the eastern United States and Canada. The sale generated sufficient assets to not only pay the debtor’s creditors in full, but also permitted a partial return to equity holders. 

Represented the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee in the prosecution of approximately 30 lawsuits to recover fraudulent transfers made by debtor entities for the benefit of the debtors’ creditors. Prosecution of the lawsuits involved discovery and resolution of related disputes, responses to motions for summary judgment, negotiation of settlements with numerous defendants, and trials of the actions that were not settled. With the exception of one claim against one defendant, the trustee successfully prosecuted the matters that proceeded to trial.

Represented a local real estate developer in a workout that allowed the client to retain 11 of the 12 properties in dispute.

Represented an individual defendant charged with fraudulent conveyances in a case in which the trustee sought to use all of the defendant’s assets to pay creditors of not only his estate, but also of the estates of a number of associates. Mr. Cohen negotiated a settlement that allowed the debtor to maintain nearly all of his assets.


Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Bankruptcy/Restructuring, 2009 - present

The Best Lawyers in America: Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Bankruptcy ‎Litigation, 1995 - present

Listed in Maryland Super Lawyers: 2007 - 2008; 2010; 2013 - present

AV® Peer Review Rated: Martindale-Hubbell

Best Lawyers: Washingtonian, 2011

Top Lawyers: Washingtonian, 2004; 2007; 2009

Memberships & Activities

Member: American Bankruptcy Institute

Member: American Bar Association

Member: Maryland Bankruptcy Bar Association

Member: Maryland State Bar Association

Chair: Bankruptcy Task Force, District of Columbia Circuit Judicial Conference Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services


  • George Washington University School of Law (J.D. 1973) with honors
  • Pennsylvania State University (B.S. 1969)