Mark grew up in Colorado and earned a B.A. in Economics at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. He earned his law degree at the University of Colorado School of Law in Boulder in 1983. He earned a Masters in Law (LL.M.) degree in Agricultural and Food Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law, where he also taught an advanced legal writing course.
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Mark’s diverse legal career includes service as an Air Force Judge Advocate, service as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, private practice in Nebraska, seven years as a prosecutor, service on the Executive Board of the Colorado Municipal League, several years as a Municipal Judge for Boulder, nine years as Municipal Judge for Lochbuie, private practice in Colorado, and service on the Board of Editors of The Colorado Lawyer (Chairperson for 2012-2013). He served as a Legal Advisor to TermScout, a Denver-based legal-tech company that helps people and businesses understand the contracts and privacy policies they agree to so they can make better decisions about what terms to accept. Mark founded and is President of The Plain English Institute, a nonprofit that promotes the use of plain English over Legalese.
An accomplished writer, Mark authored six articles for the American Jurisprudence Proof of Facts series, including one on piercing the corporate veil. Mark’s first novel, The Fractal Murders, was published by Time/Warner and became a Book Sense® Top Ten Mystery selection. His second novel, Bluetick Revenge, won praise from authors that included Kinky Friedman. He won 2nd place in the 2004 SEAK National Legal Fiction Writing Competition.
Mark studied logic and philosophy at the graduate level and is a member of the Institute for General Semantics. He writes a regular column for the Nederland Mountain-Ear. The column is sometimes humor, sometimes politics, sometimes something else. The publisher’s only limitation is, “Just don’t get us sued”. You can read some of his articles here: Mark’s Blog.
Mark’s skill in translating documents from “Legalese” into plain English is well known, and other Colorado lawyers have hired him to review and edit briefs and other legal documents.
2014 - present
Mark Cohen, J.D., LL.M.
2008 - 2013
Shareholder, The Cohen Law Group, PC,
1995 - 2007
Private Practice of Law, Denver/Boulder/Nederland
2004 – 2013
Municipal Judge, Town of Lochbuie
Member, Board of Trustees, Town of Nederland
Partner, Cohen, Vacanti, Higgins & Shattuck, Omaha
Captain, U.S. Air Force, JAG Corps (active duty) (USAF Reserve, 1987-1990)
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, Nebraska
Adjunct Faculty Member, University of Arkansas School of Law,
2005 – 2007
Partner, Cohen Horner, LLP
Interim Municipal Judge, City of Boulder
Member, Executive Board, Colorado Municipal League
Municipal Prosecutor, City of Westminster
Attorney, Dwyer, Pohren, Wood, Heavy & Grimm, Omaha
Captain, USAF/JAG Corps, 1983-1987; USAFR
- Super Lawyers (2021-2024)
- Appointed by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis to serve on the state’s Combative Sports Commission (formerly Colorado Boxing Commission) (2022)
- Given the title Professor of Law by the Center for American Studies in Warsaw (2022)
- Chosen to serve as Coordinating Editor of The Colorado Lawyer’s Contract Law Column (2019)
- Colorado Press Assocation, 2nd Place, Humorous Essay (2019)
- Recipient, American Bar Association Outstanding Young Military Service Lawyer Award, 1986.
- Community Service Champion Award (with other Board members), Town of Nederland, 2002.
- Book Sense® Top Ten Mystery Selection Author.
- 2nd Prize, 2004 National Legal Fiction Writing Competition for Lawyers.
- Finalist, Colorado Book Award.
- Two-Time Finalist, Nebraska Toastmasters State Speech Contest.
- Air Force Squadron Officers School Award for Excellence in Writing; Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal.
- Elected to membership, Mystery Writers of America.
- Appointed to the Board of Editors of The Colorado Lawyer, 2009 — (Chair, 2012-2013).
- Enforcing Oral Contracts, The Colorado Lawyer, January 2021.
- Indemnification Provisions in Commercial Contracts, The Colorado Lawyer, January 2020.
- How to Review a Commercial Contract on a Budget, The Term Reporter, January 2020.
- Flirting with Disaster: The Dangers of Not Reading Business Contracts, The Term Reporter, December 2019.
- When to Use the Passive Voice The Colorado Lawyer, June, 2019.
- The Common Law of the Gym, The Colorado Lawyer, April 2019.
- Book Review – Seeing Through Legalese, The Docket (Magazine of the Denver Bar Association), December 2017.
- The Proper Use of Animal References in Law, The Colorado Lawyer, August-September 2017.
- To Be or Not To Be: The Benefits of Writing in E-Prime, The Colorado Lawyer, January 2017.
- Litigating Like the Viet Cong, The Docket (Magazine of the Denver Bar Association), November 2016.
- Book Review – Avoiding Bad Depositions by Janet S. Cole, The Colorado Lawyer, October 2016.
- Book Review – Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please: The Case for Plain Language in Business, Government and Law by Joseph Kimble, The Colorado Lawyer, November 2012.
- How to Draft a Bad Contract, The Colorado Lawyer, August 2015. Reprinted in Scribes Journal of Legal Writing 2016-2017; reprinted in the Michigan Bar Journal, September 2022.
- Book Review – Federal Trade Commission Practice and Procedure Manual, The Colorado Lawyer, December 2015.
- Plain English: The Basics, Newsletter of the Boulder County Bar Association, November 2012.
- Book Review – Preparing Witnesses: A Practical Guide for Lawyers and Their Clients, (3rd Ed. ) by Daniel I. Small, The Colorado Lawyer, December 2009.
- Chapter 20 (Workplace Violence chapter) of The Practitioner’s Guide to Colorado Employment Law published by CLE in Colorado, Inc.
- 17 Things to Consider Before Signing an Equipment Lease, Rocky Mountain Construction, January 2010
- Cause of Action to Establish Liability of Corporate Officer or Director for Corporation’s Wrongful Conduct, 36 COA2d 441.
- Entrapment by Estoppel, 53 POF3d 249.
- Grounds for Disregarding the Corporate Entity and Piercing the Corporate Veil, 45 PO3d 1.
- Negligent Operation of Boxing Gym, Martial Arts School, or Similar Establishment, 43 POF 3d 195.
- Negligent Operation of Health Club or Similar Facility, 40 POF3d 111.
- Proof of Negligent Sale, Entrustment, or Storage of Firearm, 37 POF3d 1.
- Entitlement to a Stay or Default Judgment Under the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act, 35 POF3d 323.
- Entrapment by Estoppel, The Colorado Lawyer, Feb. 2002.
- Elements of an Effective Workplace Violence Program, The Colorado Lawyer, July 2004.
- Legal Self Defense For School Owners, Inside Kung-Fu, July 1997.
- The Language of Criminal Justice: Clarifying the Clarification, ETC: A Review of General Semantics, Vol. 53, No. 1, 47-51, Spring 1996.
- Oasis In Nebraska: The Forest That Man Made, Camping & RV (cover story) March 1996
- Trial Preparation & Organization, 27 Air Force Law Review 29, 1987.
- The Fractal Murders, Mysterious Press, 2004 (a Book Sense ® Top Ten Mystery).
- Bluetick Revenge, Mysterious Press, 2005.
Practical Contract Drafting in English, (Webinar for lawyers in Ukraine and Poland), October 13-14, 2023), Center for American Studies, Warsaw
- Colorado Easement Law, Presentation to Code of the West Realty, May 17, 2023
- Piercing the Corporate Veil, LawPracticeCLE, November 10, 2022
- Avoiding Bad Contracts, Strafford Publications (Webinar), October 18, 2022
- Practical Contract Drafting in English, (Webinar for lawyers in Ukraine and Poland), October 14-15, 2022), Center for American Studies, Warsaw
- Risk Allocation in Commercial Contracts, Strafford Publications (Webinar), September 6, 2022
- Easement Lawyer for Surveyors, 12 Annual Rocky Mountain Surveyors Summit, February 25, 2022
- Contract Drafting in Today’s Business Environment, recorded February 15, 2022, LawPracticeCLE
- Limitation of Liability Clauses in Business Contracts: Limiting Potential Damages and Avoiding Pitfalls (Webinar), January 25, 2022
- Bad Contracts and How to Avoid Them: Re-Thinking the Way Lawyers Draft Contracts, CELESQ (West / Thompson Reuters), Webinar, January 12, 2022
- Avoiding Bad Contracts, Strafford Publications (Webinar), August 31, 2021
- Piercing the Corporate Veil in the Real World, 1st Judicial District Bar Assn., Aug. 10, 2021 (Webinar)
- Piercing the Corporate Veil: A Practical Approach, CBA Solo-Small Firm Institute 2021 (Home study)
- Colorado Easement Law, HalfMoon Education (Webinar), March 22, 2021
- Plain English For Lawyers, CBA Solo Small Firm Institute, June 11, 2020
- Avoiding Bad Contracts, Strafford Publications (Webinar), June 3, 2020
- Limitation of Liability in Commercial Contracts, Strafford Publications (Webinar), December 3, 2019
- Contractual Pitfalls of Ancillary Documents, Attachments, and Exhibits, Strafford Publications (Webinar), November 13, 2019
- Issues in Mountain Real Estate Transactions, Presentation to the Colorado Bar Association, March 21, 2019
- Risk Allocation in Commercial Contracts, Strafford Publications (Webinar), February 28, 2019
- Plain English over Legalese in Business, Presentation to Denver Tech Center Kiwanis Club, February 26, 2019
- Alter Ego Liability & Piercing the Corporate Veil, Faculty Member, Rossdale CLE, December 12, 2018.
- Managing Change in Long-Term Commercial Agreements, Strafford Publications (Webinar), August 7, 2018
- Legal Self Defense for Home Inspectors, InterNACHI Professional Inspectors Convention in Atlantic City, April 29, 2018
- Contract Drafting Essentials: Structuring, Analyzing and Interpreting
Business Agreements, Strafford Publications (Webinar), January 4, 2018
- To Be or Not To Be: Using E-Prime to Clarify Thinking, Strengthen
Persuasiveness, Improve Your Writing, and Reduce Misunderstandings, Mesa
CLE Webinar, June 2017
- How to Draft a Bad Contract, Mesa CLE, Webinar, June 2017
- Alter Ego Liability & Piercing the Corporate Veil, Faculty Member, Rossdale CLE, February 8, 2017
- How to Draft a Bad Contract, Mesa CLE, Webinar, December 2016.
- Alter Ego Liability & Piercing the Corporate Veil, Faculty Member, Rossdale CLE, September 28, 2016
- How to Draft a Bad Contract, Presentation to the Colorado Bar Association, December 9, 2015.
- A Brief History of Piercing the Corporate Veil, presentation to the Boulder County Bar Association (2012 and 2008)
- Radio Interview, The Dave Logan Show, KOA Radio, Denver, January 2010, on Trying Terrorists in Civilian Courts and the Differences between the Civilian Justice System and the Military Justice System
- Workplace Violence: Law and Practical Prevention Strategies, September 2008, sponsored by the Boulder County Bar Association
- An: Ounce of Prevention: How Home Inspectors can Minimize the Risk of Claims, Toronto, Canada, 2007 convention of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI)
- An: Ounce of Prevention: How Home Inspectors Can Minimize the Risk of Claims, Orlando, Florida, 2006 convention of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors
- Legal Self Defense for Martial Arts Instructors, Estes Park, Colorado, 2006, Quadrennial Retreat of the Member Organizations Affiliated with Martial Arts Services, Inc.
- Multiple appearances on MSNBC in 2004 and 2005 as a military law expert
- Prosecuting in a High Volume Court, Colorado Municipal League, Fall 2002
- Faculty member, Collection Law, Lorman Business Seminars, November 1993 & 1994
- A Civilian Attorney’s View Of The Military Justice System, University of Nebraska at Omaha, January 1994
- Garnishment of Federal Employees And Military Members, International Credit Association of the Midlands, December 1993
- Panelist, Forum On Gays In The Military, Creighton University, March, 1993
- The Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Civil Relief Act, 1991 Family Law Seminar of the Nebraska State Bar Association
Professional Licenses and Affiliations
Mark is admitted to practice law in Colorado (Colorado Bar No. 13178). He is admitted to the Federal District Courts in Nebraska and Colorado, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals (now the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims), and the United States Supreme Court. He has been admitted to practice law pro hac vice (Latin meaning “for this one particular occasion”) in other federal and state courts.