Cohen Granted Tenure at Harvard Law School

I. Glenn Cohen will ascend in the ranks of Harvard Law School’s faculty this summer as its newest tenured professor, bringing with him expertise on the legal aspects of healthcare and bioethics.

“I’m excited, honored, and happy to be here for the foreseeable future,” said Cohen, who became an assistant professor at HLS in 2008 and co-director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics in 2009.

“He’s an amazing professor,” said Benjamin N. Roin, assistant professor at HLS, who works with Cohen as the other co-director of the Petrie-Flom Center. “You go to the classroom and see that he’s really dynamic. I think he’s a great teacher who loves his students.”

Cohen said that he looks forward to “more book writing, more book editing, and maybe down the road, a new course” in his new position. He has been in discussions about a potential healthcare law course that would be a collaboration between the Law School, Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School. The class is still in a developmental stage.

In the meantime, Cohen expects his course load to remain about the same, and he anticipates teaching courses in bioethics and health law, including one that discusses the intersection of bioethics and film. Furthermore, he will continue in his position as co-director of the Petrie-Flom Center.

“He’s such a fascinating scholar,” Roin said. “He’s really interested in the puzzling questions surrounding health, law, and medicine. His medical ethics class is always over-enrolled.”

Cohen’s main research interests lie in the fields of reproductive technology, medical tourism, and issues common to both doctors and lawyers. Cohen was chosen as a Radcliffe Institute Fellow this year with a focus on medical tourism.

“There are so many interesting things going on with health reform and the healthcare debate,” he said. “It’s very current, which I like.”

Amidst growing concern among Law School students over employment after graduation, Cohen said that bioethics and the legal aspect of healthcare have strong growth prospects.

“The Affordable Care Act is a great insurance opportunity for lawyers,” he said. “The law school, I think, ultimately does hope to bring in more healthcare faculty members.”

Roin said that given the large role of the healthcare industry in the U.S. economy, this growth in health law was “inevitable.”

“The healthcare system interacts with the legal system in a whole bunch of different ways,” he said. “You can’t get away from it anymore.”

—Staff writer Dev A. Patel can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @dev_a_patel.