Ellen Epstein Cohen is an experienced trial attorney, having successfully defended clients in both state and federal courts for almost 35 years. Ellen also has a strong interest in alternative dispute resolution and has participated in innumerable mediations as well as arbitrations. Ellen focuses her practice primarily on the representation of physicians, nurses, oral surgeons, dentists and the full spectrum of healthcare providers in the defense of medical malpractice claims and before the Boards of Registration which govern licensed healthcare professionals. The professional liability aspect of Ellen's practice includes all areas of medical specialty, and covers from minor to catastrophic injuries and death. In addition, Ellen has been involved in cases involving medical devices and pharmaceutical products. In the past, Ellen has represented many product designers, manufacturers and distributors involving products of great diversity including medical devices, power equipment, construction materials and home appliances, among others.
In September 2016, Ellen was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Founded in 1950, the College is composed of the best of the trial bar from the United States and Canada. Fellowship in the College is extended by invitation only and only after careful investigation, to those experienced trial lawyers of diverse backgrounds, who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality. Membership in the College cannot exceed one percent of the total lawyer population for any state or province.
In addition, Ellen has been selected, based on a vote of licensed attorneys in Massachusetts and a review by an independent Blue Ribbon Panel, as a "Super Lawyer" every year from 2004 - 2019, and as one of the "Top 100 Lawyers" and "Top 50 Female Super Lawyers" in Massachusetts and New England in various years, as published in Boston Magazine. Ellen has also been selected for inclusion in "The Best Lawyers in America" 2004 - present, and in the “Boston's Best Lawyers” 2008-present. She has been the recipient of the "Rx for Excellence" award from the Massachusetts Medical Law Report, which identifies members of the Massachusetts medical community who promote safety and quality in health care and medical products.
In addition to her practice, Ellen is actively involved as an educator and speaker for the local bar association, as well as for medical providers in various forums. She has been a Faculty Member for the MCLE and Harvard Law School Trial Advocacy courses for many years, and has participated in innumerable educational programs aimed at helping healthcare providers improve the quality of care while minimizing risk. Ellen worked as a volunteer for the Children's Hospital League, and is a lifetime Overseer at Newton Wellesley Hospital where she served as the Community Member on the Ethics Committee and in other roles starting in 2005.
Ellen is a member of the Editorial Board and a contributing author to Women in Medicine E- Bulletin, 2010-present, addressing legal issues of interest and concern to women physicians. She edits articles for the Massachusetts Medical Society Legal Advisory Plan Newsletter, and serves as Counsel to the Plan. Ellen also participates in various professional organizations. In addition to her dedication to representing healthcare providers and all of her clients, Ellen enjoys spending time with her husband and four adult children.
Associations & Memberships
- Massachusetts Superior Court Task Force regarding Medical Malpractice Litigation (Rule 73) (2016)
- Massachusetts Medical Society Task Force on Breast Cancer (2000 - 2002)
- Women’s Health Alliance Newton Wellesley Hospital (2005 - Present)
- Newton Wellesley Hospital, Overseer and Member, Hospital Ethics Committee (1997 - 2005)
- Newton Wellesley Hospital, Lifetime Overseer
- Children's Hospital League, Board Member (1993 - 1998)
- Middlesex and Suffolk Counties, Bench/Bar Committees (1998 - 2001)
- Massachusetts Bar Association, Civil Litigation Section, Member
- Massachusetts Bar Association Small Firm Management Council, Member (1996 - 1997)
- Trial Attorneys of America, Member (1993 - 2010)
Awards & Recognition
- Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers (2016-Present)
- "Top 50 Female Super Lawyers", Boston Magazine (2004 - 2019)
- "Top 100 Lawyers in MA" (2016-2019)
- "Super Lawyer" (2004 - 2019)
- "The Best Lawyers in America" (2004 - 2020)
- Boston's Best Lawyers (2008 - 2017)
- Rx for Excellence Award, Massachusetts Medical Law Report
- Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating™
- Women in Medicine E- Bulletin, Member of the Editorial Board and Contributing Author, 2010 - Present
Recent representative successful results obtained on behalf of Ellen’s clients include the following:
Obtained a defense verdict on behalf of 3 OB/GYNs in a trial involving a stillbirth. The allegations included that all 3 OB/GYNs were negligent for having not performed a cesarean section delivery quickly enough. After a three week trial, and roughly 3 hours of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict in favor of all 3 physician defendants.
Obtained a defense verdict on behalf of two surgeons in a case alleging wrongful death after blunt abdominal trauma. The allegations involved the management of a patient on a trauma service after a single motor vehicle crash; the patient ultimately died of a ruptured spleen. After 9 days of trial the jury returned their finding that both surgeons had complied with the standard of care in their management of this patient.
Obtained a Defense Verdict on behalf of a pediatrician who was sued following the death of a 1 year old. The case alleged that the doctor should have anticipated that the child would become severely dehydrated and die within 18 hrs of being evaluated in the office. The defense proved that this child presented with very common signs of a new onset viral illness with ear infection, and that it was completely unforeseeable he would develop an acute and fatal GI bleed in his sleep later that night. The jury returned a verdict that the doctor was not negligent.
Obtained a defense verdict on behalf of an oral surgeon in a case involving an alleged delayed diagnosis of an ameloblastoma of the mandible in a teenager who eventually underwent mandibular resection and reconstructive surgery. The jury returned a verdict finding the surgeon was not negligent in his care of the patient.
Obtained a defense verdict on behalf of an OB/GYN who was sued with regard to an alleged injury after newborn circumcision. The defense focused not only on defending the technique used by the physician for performing a Mogen clamp circumcision, but also contested that there was any real or significant injury. After 7 days of trial, the jury returned a verdict quickly indicating that the defendant physician had not been negligent.
Obtained a Defense Verdict on behalf of two clients - a hospitalist and general surgeon. The plaintiff alleged the physicians provided negligent post-operative care to a patient who had recently undergone a paraesophageal hernia repair surgery by failing to timely diagnose bowel ischemia, allegedly resulting in her death. The jury found in favor of both defendants, finding that the physicians' post-operative care of the patient met the applicable standard of care for their respective specialties, and they were not negligent.
Obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a gastroenterologist in a case in which the plaintiff sustained injury to her spleen requiring splenectomy surgery following a screening colonoscopy. Spleen injury is a rare but known risk of colonoscopy. Plaintiff tried to use the fact that spleen injury occurred as evidence that there must have been negligence in the performance of the colonoscopy; Defendant adamantly denied anything improper in the technique he utilized, and proved that this patient had aberrant anatomy regarding her spleen and colon proven by pathology, which could not have been known by the gastroenterologist in advance of the procedure. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant finding that he had not been negligent.
- Boston University School of Law, Boston, Massachusetts
Law Journal: Boston University International Law Journal, Case and Note Editor and Staff Member, 1981 - 1983
- State University of New York at Binghamton
Honors: With Honors
Honors: Phi Beta Kappa
- District of Columbia
- U.S. Court of Appeals 1st Circuit
- U.S. Supreme Court