Walter W. Cohen

Located in

Harrisburg, PA

Walter is a partner at Obermayer. A skilled and seasoned litigator, Walter’s career spans over 45 years in criminal prosecutions and investigations and in government service. Today, Walter’s legal practice includes the representation of large and multi-national corporations on regulatory issues before state attorney generals throughout the country. He also is experienced in handling medical reimbursement and licensing issues for doctors and health care facilities. He has appeared in all three federal district courts in Pennsylvania, as well as the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and has argued before the United States Supreme Court.

Immediately prior to joining Obermayer in 1996, Walter served as attorney general of Pennsylvania and, from 1989 through 1994, the first deputy attorney general. As first deputy, he gave overall supervision to all significant civil and criminal litigation, while also directly handling appeals in state and federal courts, including arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court. Walter’s earlier service in Pennsylvania state government included four years (1983-87) as secretary of public welfare and four years (1979-83) as State Consumer Advocate. As secretary, he managed the largest single state agency in the country, including administration of the Medicaid program and oversight of mental health, mental retardation, and long-term care.

Walter began his legal career in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, serving as a chief assistant district attorney from 1969 – 1974.

Among the complex litigation matters in which he has been involved are In re Vitamins Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1285 (D.DC), where he represented a multinational Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company plaintiff, and In re Pharmaceutical Industry Average Wholesale Price Litigation, MDL No. 1456 (D.Mass) where he has represented two major pharmaceutical companies.

Walter is a regular commentator regarding developments in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case and related issues involving Penn State University on WHP-TV21 News (the CBS Harrisburg affiliate), and has also appeared on the NBC Nightly News, the Today Show, MSNBC and WHTM-TV27 News (the ABC Harrisburg affiliate). Walter also provided legal analysis to the Harrisburg Patriot-News concerning the appeal of Mr. Sandusky.

Walter has been an adjunct professor of law at Widener University School of Law, teaching Pennsylvania civil practice. He previously taught criminal law at Temple University and lectured on criminal justice at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and the National Jail Center in Boulder, CO. He is past president, past treasurer, and now a member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Home of Greater Harrisburg.

In 2016, Walter received The Francis X. Bellotti Award, awarded to a former attorney general who has served the Society of Attorneys General Emeritus (SAGE) and worked diligently to further SAGE’s vision and mission; presented by the National Association of Attorneys General.

Other past and present activities include:

  • Formerly Served as Attorney General of Pennsylvania;
  • Former First Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania;
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, Widener University School of Law;
  • Past-President, Jewish Home of Greater Harrisburg; and
  • Member, Harrisburg Police Pension Board.

Awards Won*

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