Attorney Michael H. Cohen is a thought leader in business law and health care law, advising clients at the intersection of law, business, health and spirituality. He is a former Wall Street lawyer who has authored ground-breaking books, and held a joint-appointment at Harvard University.
He has written leading books on complementary medicine law and policy, as well as numerous articles and a column for Yoga Journal on legal, ethical, and business issues in yoga teaching. His law practice has been rendering legal advice in the area of holistic health, complementary and alternative medicine, and general business law, to a variety of clients since 1999. He specializes in advising clients with medical spa legal issues, fee-splitting and anti-Kickback, corporate practice of medicine, laws pertaining to integrative medicine, multi-disciplinary clinical practices, and other health care and business law concerns.
Michael graduated from Columbia University (BA), UC Berkeley School of Law (JD), the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley (MBA), and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa (MFA).
Below is a fuller bio focusing on the health law side of his practice.
After law school, Michael served a law clerk to Chief Judge Thomas P. Griesa in the Southern District of New York. He joined the corporate department of Davis Polk & Wardwell (a Wall Street law firm), working in the banking, securities, and mergers & acquisitions departments, and representing issuers and underwriters in securities offerings; lenders as well as borrowers on financings; and a variety of companies in joint ventures and acquisitions.
As a law professor for six years, he taught health care law, civil procedure, conflicts of laws, constitutional law, criminal law, and insurance law, and published a series of influential articles and books on complementary medicine law and policy.
Moving to the West Coast, Michael joined Burkhalter, Michaels, Kessler & George and opened his own law practice, handling start-ups, bankruptcy, securities fraud, mediation, medical malpractice, intellectual property, insurance regulation, employment issues, and general corporate law.
Michael’s Harvard Experience
As Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School from 2000-05, Michael served as Director of Legal Programs at the Harvard Medical School Division for Research and Education in Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies and Harvard Medical School Osher Institute. Michael’s responsibilities included designing policies for a reproducible model of integrative health care within the Harvard hospital system; he also spearheaded negotiation among international coinvestigators of agreement around intellectual property issues for systematic evaluation of East Asian herbal products. From 2005 to 2008, Michael held a joint appointment as Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy & Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where he directed a course on Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Health Law & Policy. In 2008, he became an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
While at Harvard, Michael was awarded a Fortieth Anniversary Senior Fellowship at the Center for the Study of World Religions within Harvard Divinity School. His work received funding from federal and philanthropic organizations, including the National Library of Medicine; the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health; the Greenwall Foundation; and the Rudolph Steiner Foundation.
Michael has contributed to important public policy initiatives, including serving as Consultant to Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by the American Public. He serves as President of the Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine, a nonprofit created to explore frontiers of health law and policy. Michael gives seminars, media interviews, and policy guidance all over the world about contemporary legal issues in health care.
Michael is a member of the Bar of California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington, D.C., and a Solicitor (non-practicing) of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.
Interest in Complementary, Alterantive & Integrative Medicine
While working on Wall Street, Michael studied Ericksonian hypnotherapy (the subject of his novel), Gurdjieff Work, and other tools for investigating consciousness. He also received ordination following graduation from the New Seminary in New York, and graduated from the Barbara Brennan School of Healing in Florida. Michael trained as a hospice volunteer with Dannion Brinkley’s “Compassion in Action,” completed his teacher training at Full Spectrum Yoga, and became a Registered Yoga Teacher. He recently returned from a month’s study of ashtanga yoga with K. Pattabhi Jois in India and is active in Yinstyle, a company with a conscience. Because his legal and policy background is complemented by experience with CAM modalities, Michael offers new perspectives on medicine and the way legal boundaries shape healing.
A physician and medical school faculty colleague wrote: “Underlying his intellect is his creativity and ability to articulate the philosophy behind complementary medicine and the law beyond anything described. Michael is a visionary.” Michael’s work has received many outstanding reviews from peers who are leaders in the healthcare and legal professions.
Reviews of Michael’s Work
Reviews of Michael’s Book, Future Medicine
“Cohen does for medicine what Kuhn did for science in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.” Rosemarie Tong, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor in Health Care Ethics at the Center for Professional and Applied Ethics, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
CAM Health Law & Policy Course Successfully Concluded
I write from the Countway Library at Harvard Medical School, having concluded another year of HPM 218: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Health Law & Policy at Harvard School of Public Health.