X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Name and title: David Cohen, executive vice president and general counsel Age: 41 Let’s go Mets!: Since 1962, the New York Mets have represented Major League Baseball’s National League in New York. Founded in 1962, they have morphed from Casey Stengel’s lovable losers to 2006′s Eastern Division champions. The team is based in the Flushing, Queens, neighborhood of New York City and is owned by real estate magnate Fred Wilpon. Approximately 200 full-time employees are bolstered by “hundreds” of part-timers, players and game-day workers, Cohen said. He declined to discuss revenues of the privately held company. Dreams of field: The Mets’ longtime home at Shea Stadium will fade into history with the debut of a new stadium planned for Opening Day 2009. The closing of the old facility and the deals for the new one, to be named Citi Field, are the fruits of a decade’s effort. The stadium, with 45,000 seats and an exterior inspired by the fabled Ebbets Field, has a projected cost of more than $600 million. Cohen participated in various aspects of the deal, which includes a 40-year lease, the designation of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and sale of the naming rights to Citigroup Inc. for a reported $20 million per year over 20 years. Along with the Mets’ recent on-field successes, the transactions represent a personal highlight for the team’s general counsel. Legal team and outside counsel: The Mets’ law department consists of Cohen, two other attorneys and a paralegal. The GC reports to Jeff Wilpon, the team’s chief operating officer. Nine-tenths of the work is attended to in-house, with Cohen hiring outside counsel as needed-usually to provide specialized expertise or if the matter at hand is too large to be addressed internally. Generally, he turns to Davis Polk & Wardwell and Herrick, Feinstein of New York and Alston & Bird of Atlanta for assistance. Houston’s Fulbright & Jaworski and New York’s Stroock & Stroock & Lavan were called in as external counsel for the new stadium project. Daily duties: Cohen described himself as “very much a generalist and a jack-of-all-trades.” He oversees “anything legal” concerning the Mets. No two days are alike, and Cohen’s workday is “usually a series of fire drills,” with the legal chief bouncing from “one fire to the next.” His duties are heavily influenced by the baseball calendar. Typically, in the off-season he fields issues related to players’ salary arbitrations and free-agent contracts. On the business side, transactional work involving advertising or the media needs to be wrapped up before the following season commences. Cohen’s agenda includes substantial transactional duties and finance-related work concerning the team’s credit facilities, as well as lease issues regarding Shea Stadium and the Mets’ future field. He monitors and supervises litigation should it arise. He is involved with human resources relating to front-office personnel and represents the team in union relations. Collective bargaining with respect to contracts with stadium employees and dealing with disciplinary matters are additional areas of focus. More daily duties: The Mets’ baseball department, led by General Manager Omar Minaya, negotiates the primary terms of players’ contracts; Cohen participates in structuring the deals from a financial perspective. He deals with payroll-related issues including luxury tax and debt regulation. He provides advice concerning general budget matters, and drafts agreements and negotiates ancillary terms such as the scope of various guarantees. Major League Baseball (MLB) is “essentially a regulatory body,” with all the teams combined through a constitution, Cohen said. Therefore, some rights are collective and some are individual. One of Cohen’s primary duties is to grasp which rights are held by the club itself and to stay familiar with all MLB agreements generated by the office of the commissioner. Substance-abuse issues, for instance, are the domain of MLB, not individual teams, which cannot impose their own discipline above and beyond the centralized edicts. The lucrative matter of licensing is centrally governed by Major League Baseball Properties, but individual teams hold various rights within their local territories. Cohen is involved in the Mets’ local licensing activities. The Mets own two minor league teams, and Cohen’s work covers them. Additional minor league affiliates are operated by independent third parties, with the players and coaches provided by the Mets organization. The Mets operate facilities in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, and conduct foreign scouting. Employment issues for Cohen can arise from having foreign employees in nondomestic locations. Cohen participates in insurance matters related to players and fans “at a general level,” although insurance companies’ counsel usually handle the bulk of that work. The assumption-of-risk doctrine provides a defense to certain kinds of fan injury lawsuits should they arise. Litigation: In 2005, the team was a party to “fairly public” litigation against a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp. The team’s ownership group, in partnership with Time Warner Cable and Comcast Corp., formed a new regional television network, to which the Mets licensed broadcast rights. In a subsequent lawsuit launched by the prior rights holder, the Cablevision subsidiary, the team managed in January 2006 to exercise a buyout clause in its old contract. Route to present position: Cohen launched his career in Alston & Bird’s Atlanta home office, where he practiced from 1989 until 1993. He served for the next two years as an associate judge with the Fulton County, Ga., Juvenile Court. After returning to academia to earn a master-of-laws degree at Columbia Law School, he joined the Mets in 1995. Beginning as the team’s legal counsel, Cohen ascended to general counsel in 1998 and executive vice president in 2005. His bachelor’s degree is from Florida International University and his law degree from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 1989. Personal: Miami-born Cohen and his wife, Erika, are the parents of a pair of potential future Mets, ages 7 and 4. His hobbies include running and other sports. Last book and movie: Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War, by Nathaniel Philbrick, and Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.