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Lawyer who owes $35M in litigation debt says he has the cases to cover it

Posted Apr 8, 2014 12:55 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A Florida personal injury lawyer with a lot of debt also has the big cases, and, as the Tampa Bay Times puts it, "a seeming inability to lose," that will help him pay it all off.

Barry Cohen, 74, admits he isn't thrilled about the $35 million or so the newspaper says he owes to litigation financing firms, due in part to the high interest rates charged on such debt. But his strong suit, a winning record in trying big cases, with more such litigation in the pipeline, will help him cover debt he refers to as "Monopoly money," he tells the Times, while continuing to live "a pretty damn good life."

While there have been signs of financial stress, and Cohen himself says he's a better trial lawyer than administrator, what might seem like a stunning amount of money to some isn't nearly as much to a lawyer who deals in big cases, Elliott Buchman, the former chief financial officer at Cohen's firm, tells the Times.

"My assets are going to pay back these lenders, and there will be plenty of money," says Cohen. "I'm going to continue to live the way I live, and help people the way I help them, and do what I love to do, and live life and practice law."

Related coverage:

Fox 13: "Barry Cohen: Pride in challenging authority"

Tampa Bay Times: "Carlton: How very Barry"

WTSP: "Barry Cohen represents parents of kid killed after fair"

Updated on April 9 to add link to subsequent Tampa Bay Times story.

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