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40 Under 40: H. Adam Cohen

by Robert Ankeny, Crain's Detroit Business; October 02, 2000

H. Adam Cohen, 33
Lawyer and Partner
Steinhardt, Pesick & Cohen P.C.

Biggest Achievement: Trying five condemnation cases for property owners in the stadium district during a seven-week period last winter, winning verdicts in three cases for more than four times what the stadium authority had offered, totaling between $3 million and $4 million.

Current Goal: To build and maintain his law firm as the premier condemnation and commercial litigation firm in Detroit.

Adam Cohen received a law degree from George Washington University in 1992 and made rapid advances after joining Mason, Steinhardt, Jacobs & Perlman P.C., a medium-sized law firm with a complex practice.

"My partners showed great confidence in allowing me to try cases at an early stage of my career," said Cohen, who got his first six-figure jury verdict before he was 30. "The guys were willing to roll the dice and let me try that case," he recalled.

"I didn't know what I wanted to do when I started," Cohen said, "so I took on all kinds of matters — corporate real estate, transaction deals, employment litigation and condemnation.

"After a few years, I gravitated to condemnation, because I enjoyed working with (Fred) Steinhardt and (Jerry) Pesick, the lawyers who did that work, and it seemed like a natural fit."

Cohen said that his "expedited growth chart" was sharply influenced by the fact that "Fred got sick. So I view this thing with very mixed feelings," he said. Steinhardt was diagnosed last fall with an inoperable cancer, for which he is receiving treatment.

"I hope I never have to go to war," Steinhardt said, "but if I did, I'd want to be with Adam."

Cohen's other courtroom victories include an Oakland County Circuit Court verdict for private property owners in Novi, blocking public taking of land for a ring road. That case is now on appeal. Cohen also represented business owners near Wayne State University in halting a taking of property to build a welcome center.

Cohen believes the law firm could expand if it makes good business sense. "We'll add more attorneys, not for the sake of adding bodies, but only if we need to add lawyers to continue to provide excellent service to clients," Cohen said.