Local lawyer recognized


Berkshire Eagle Staff

PITTSFIELD -- Leonard Cohen isn't your average, everyday lawyer.

The Pittsfield litigator is one of the state's 100 most powerful attorneys, according to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, which named Cohen to its roster of the state's most influential attorneys.

"I am very pleased at this stage of my career," said the septuagenarian, who only learned of the honor from a prospective employee who came to Cohen's law office for a job interview late last month.

"He said, ‘I always wanted to meet one of the power lawyers,'" said Cohen, recalling the interview with the young lawyer.

The veteran attorney was taken aback by the applicant's remark.

"I didn't know anything about this ‘Power List,'" Cohen said.

The Boston-based magazine's so-called Power List, it turns out, was published on Dec. 28, and the article describing the criteria that was used to formulate that list was written by Jack Dew, a former Berkshire Eagle reporter who now works for Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

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Dew muses: "Is power the ability to get a phone call returned? Or is it knowing whom to call? Is it rising to wealth and prominence at a big firm? Or is it building a small practice that fills an influential niche?"

To answer those questions, the magazine consulted with attorneys, judges, political figures and others to create a list of several dozen of the state's most influential attorneys. And influence -- particularly in the legal profession -- is tantamount to power.

When asked if he felt like he was in company, Cohen replied: "I know I'm in good company, because I know many of the lawyers on that list and I have great respect for them."

Cohen, a partner in the Pittsfield firm Cohen Kinne Valicenti & Cook, is a Pittsfield native who began practicing law in 1962. Although the bulk of his career was spent here in the Berkshires, Cohen is widely regarded as one of the commonwealth's preeminent criminal trial lawyers. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Boston University.

Considering the list includes such heavy-hitters as Gov. Deval L. Patrick, Attorney General Martha M. Coakley, and U.S. Sen. John F Kerry, Cohen's in good company, indeed.

Other standout lawyers on the list include the governor's wife, Diane B. Patrick, Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Secretary of State William F. Galvin, former Attorney General L. Scott Harshbarger, Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr., and such prominent defense attorneys as Brockton's Kevin Reddington -- all members of the state's legal community who've established proven reputations as attorneys, judges or politicians.

The only other Western Massachusetts attorneys to make the list are appellate lawyer Wendy H. Sibbison and former Judge Thomas T. Merrigan, both of Greenfield.

To reach Conor Berry:
(413) 496-6249.


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