Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, January 10, 2002


Page 3


Retired Irell & Manella Partner John Cohan Dead at 70


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Memorial services have been set for Feb. 6 for John R. Cohan, a retired Irell & Manella partner and renowned personal financial planning and tax attorney.

Cohan died Dec. 29 in Las Vegas of complications following a heart attack.  He was 70.

Cohan was with Irell & Manella for 39 years until his retirement in 1994. He practiced taxation, personal and estate planning, and probate law for clients that included Kirk Douglas, Samuel Goldwyn and Diana Ross.

“We are very saddened by John’s passing,” Morgan Chu, managing partner for Irell & Manella, said.  “He was an exceptional lawyer and a great human being.”

Chu continued:

“He was certainly one of the leaders of the bar and estate planning nationally, and one of the best recognized tax lawyers on the national stage and Los Angeles as well. He was among the first 10 lawyers at Irell & Manella and part of the engine that made the firm great.” 

Cohan was appointed by then-Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley to the city’s advisory panel on Ethical Standards for Charities. 

At the University of Southern California School of Law, he was a lecturer and chaired the annual Tax Institute from 1984 to 1995.  He was also an adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law and a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the International Academy of Estate & Trust Law. 

Cohan authored and edited numerous books and articles on the subjects of personal financial planning and taxation, including creating and editing Drafting California Irrevocable Trusts and California Revocable Living Trusts.

Born in Arnhem, the Netherlands, on Feb. 10, 1931, Cohan and his family escaped to England the day after the Netherlands surrendered to Nazi Germany.  Cohan narrowly escaped death after an English bureaucrat’s random decision prevented his family from boarding a cruise ship that was immediately sunk by a German submarine. 

Cohan eventually sailed to the United States and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in 1952.  Earning his CPA credential at age 21, he became the youngest CPA in Arizona history. 

Cohen went on to receive his law degree from Stanford Law School in 1955, making Order of the Coif, and then headed to Irell & Manella.

Cohan was an active member of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America and Jewish Big Brothers and was a long-standing member of the Rotary Club. 

Cohan is survived by his wife Roberta Arnold Halpern Cohan; his children Deborah, Steven, Judson, and Alexis; and nine grandchildren. 

Family memorial services were held in private. The Feb. 6 services are to be public. For information, call the firm at (310) 277-1010, extension 7949.

In lieu of flowers, his family requests that contributions be made in Cohan’s memory to the Jewish Big Brothers Association of Los Angeles, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America, the Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation-Council, the Jewish National Fund, and the Morebrook Institute in Camarillo.


Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company