Pittsburgh-based Cohen & Grigsby was founded in 1981 when
Charles Cohen and a group of nine other lawyers, all but one of
whom were former colleagues at Reed Smith, left BigLaw behind to
start their own, and in Cohen's words, "more entrepreneurial,"
firm. Robert Grigsby, an Allegheny county court judge, joined in
1985, and the firm originally known as Manion Alder & Cohen
became its current incarnation, Cohen & Grigsby. The firm has
seven major practice groups in Business & Tax, Labor &
Employment, Intellectual Property, Litigation, Bankruptcy &
Creditors' Rights, Estates & Trusts and
Immigration/International Business, and it has also opened a public
Learning by Doing
Community service is a mainstay of Cohen & Grigsby's summer
associate program, and in 2012, the firm tried something different.
Instead of being assigned a project, associates were asked to
create their own and were charged with organizing, managing and
implementing it together. The associates chose to collaborate with
the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and involve themselves in
community beautification and cleanup of the city's Market Square
and Cultural District areas. The firm has also given summer
associates more exposure to business development by tasking them
with researching clients. Summer associates presented their
findings and proposals about how to improve and expand the firm's
business to partners.
Tech Startups, Live Music and William
Cohen & Grigsby's AlphaLaw Program provides small technology
startup companies with free legal advice via a partnership with
Innovation Works, a company that invests in young tech startups in
the Pittsburgh area. The firm's president and CEO, Jack Elliot, has
called the venture "a way to invest in the region's future."
The firm is unique in its commitment to maintaining a palette of
interests outside law. Cohen & Grigsby opened its own art
gallery, the C&G Gallery, in the front reception area of its
offices where it displays the art of famed photojournalist Harry
Benson, among others. It also partners with the Pittsburgh Cultural
Trust for its Cohen & Grigsby Trust Presents Series, which
brings live music and entertainment acts like Esperanza Spalding
and William Shatner's one-man show to Pittsburgh.