Michael R. Cohen, PLS, CIPP/US, CIPP/E, CIPM, FIP

Michael Cohen is one of the leaders of the Lathrop GPM Global Privacy, Cybersecurity & Data Protection Group.

He advises clients on legal matters involving intellectual property transactions with special expertise related to information technology, data protection, privacy, and security.

Michael is a member of an elite group of lawyers who have been recognized by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) and the American Bar Association as a Privacy Law Specialist (PLS). In recognition of his passing examinations in the area of United States privacy laws and an advanced concentration in European data protection laws, standards, and practices, he has been awarded both the CIPP/US and CIPP/E certification by the IAPP. He also holds the Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM) certification from the IAPP in recognition of his ability to establish, maintain, and manage enterprise wide privacy programs that are fully compliant with all relevant privacy laws and regulations. The CIPM is recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as the gold standard accreditation for information privacy professionals. 

Michael is among a select group of lawyers who have also been  designated a Fellow of Information Privacy (FIP) by the IAPP. The FIP designation signifies that he has demonstrated a heightened knowledge of privacy laws, privacy program management, and data protection practices with significant practical experience in these areas.

Prior to joining Lathrop GPM Michael served as the in-house counsel for Lawson Software (now INFOR), as a partner at a top-tier intellectual property law firm, and as a special assistant attorney general responsible for government procurement of technology and related services.

He is the author of "A Legal Guide to Privacy and Data Security," "A Legal Guide to the Internet," "A Legal Guide to Technology Transactions," and "A Legal Guide to the Use of Social Media in the Workplace," all published by the State of Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, as well as "Computer Contracts and Entertainment Industry Agreements," published by Thomson/West.

Michael is the author of the chapter on IT Agreements that appears in the Minnesota Business Forms Deskbook published by Minnesota CLE.

Michael is an adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline Law School where he teaches a course on data privacy law as part of the Cybersecurity and Privacy Law Certificate Program.

Representative Experience


  • As privacy counsel, advises clients in “privacy by design” initiatives, incident management, and planning for data breach; breach notification; compliance with federal, state, and global data privacy laws and regulations; preparation of appropriate notices, policies, and procedures; employee training; and a variety of other data privacy and security matters
  • Assists clients in identifying, evaluating, and managing risks associated with privacy and information security practices
  • Advises clients on compliance with CCPA, CPRA, GLB, HIPAA, COPPA, CAN-SPAM, FCRA, TCPA, and other U.S state and federal privacy and data security laws and regulations, as well as global data protection requirements
  • Provides guidance on cybersecurity risks, incidents, and policy issues, including proactive cyber incident readiness
  • Conducts privacy assessments and audits
  • Develops corporate records management programs and employee training
  • Routinely assists clients in developing proactive cybersecurity readiness and appropriate responses to unauthorized access and use of data
  • Advises multinational clients on methods to allow for cross border data transfers from EU in light of invalidation of Privacy Shield 
  • Counsels clients on data collection and sharing issues (including behavioral advertising and Big Data initiatives), as well as text messaging campaigns and TCPA compliance
  • Counsels clients on data monetization efforts


  • Data Processing Agreements necessary to comply with GDPR and other global data privacy and security laws
  • Comprehensive intellectual property, privacy, and e-commerce audits
  • Cross branding and trademark license agreements for use in food industry
  • License agreement with Disney for use by licensee of copyrighted images on clothing, gift items, and related accessories
  • Licensing rights negotiations with major film companies for use by food company of major feature films for promotional purposes
  • Music publishing agreements and related contracts for songwriters and others for record and music publishing company
  • All forms of technology agreements including software licenses, data processing, data privacy and security addendums, hosting, SaaS, PaaS, ASP, outsourcing, development, cloud based, data center, subscription services, support services , SLA’s, disaster recovery, source code escrow, online licensing, and related agreements
  • Collaborative research agreement related to development of medical devices between Minnesota corporation and London based company
  • Software distribution agreement between Minnesota developer of Web based business content management software and London based distributor
  • Stent license agreement for leading provider of surface modification coatings for medical devices
  • Manufacturing, supply, and license agreements for world leader in design and manufacture of quick disconnect couplings used in industrial, medical, chemical handling, and food and beverage industries
  • Software development and license agreements for largest provider of sales force automation software
  • Research and license agreement with NREL, the United States Department of Energy's premier laboratory for renewable energy research
  • Sponsored research agreements between various universities throughout the country for purpose of developing products for commercial use by private companies
  • Patent licenses for processes and products in the pharmaceutical, medical, electronic, telecommunications, agricultural, and other industries
  • Computer network system acquisition including all hardware, software, and related services for use by a large national retailer based in Minnesota and implemented nationwide
  • Multimillion-dollar agreement between the State of Minnesota and software vendor for the consolidation of the delivery of health and human services into one computer system network that included review and application of state and federal procurement regulations, as well as appropriate computer contracts
  • Agreements related to large-scale outsourcing of information technology by multinational financial services institution
  • All forms of license agreements, terms of use, privacy policies, security policies, social media policies, and related forms for e-commerce businesses


  • Presenter, "Top Ten Issues for Businesses to Consider When Contracting for Information Technology," 2021 Business Law Institute, Minnesota CLE, May 4, 2021

  • Presenter, "Understanding the Basics of Data Privacy Law, Data Privacy and Security Fundamentals Seminar," Minnesota CLE, May 5, 2021

  • Presenter, "Data Privacy and Security, The Complete Lawyer," Minnesota CLE, June 9, 2021

  • Speaker, "Privacy Hall of Fame: One Person Can Make a Difference. How individuals have made a difference in how we think about privacy or have caused laws or practices to change as a result of their actions," Midwest Legal Conference on Privacy and Data Security, February 9, 2021
  • Speaker, "IT Agreements," Minnesota Business Forms Seminar, January 13, 2021
  • "Data Privacy | The New Litigation Battleground," Webinar, Association of Corporate Counsel, September 23, 2020

  • "10 Practical CCPA Compliance Tips for In-House Counsel," Minnesota CLE 2020 In-House Counsel Crash Course, March 6, 2020
  • "CCPA Clones Are on the Way," 2020 Midwest Legal Conference on Privacy and Data Security, February 13, 2020
  • "What You Need to Know About the CCPA," 2020 Midwest Legal Conference on Privacy and Data Security, February 12, 2020
  • "Operationalizing Legal Compliance with GDPR and the New California Consumer Privacy Act," Technology Law Institute, November 13, 2018
  • "Why Trustees Must Understand Cybersecurity," Minnesota Hospital Association Summer Trustee Conference, July 14, 2018
  • "Data Privacy and Security for IoT–Risk Factor or Competitive Advantage?" IoT Fuse Conference, May 3, 2018
  • “The Tension Between Privacy and Security,” moderator and conference planner, Midwest Legal Conference on Privacy and Data Security, January 26, 2017
  • “Creating a Privacy and Data Security Toolkit: Practical Steps,” speaker and institute planner, Computer and Technology Law Institute, November 10, 2016
  • “Information Security and Information Privacy – Should I Be Concerned for My Business?,” Travel Leaders Executive Series, September 7, 2016
  • “Update Your Global Privacy Compliance Toolkit: Preparing for the GDPR, Cross Border Data Transfer, and More!,” course chair and speaker, Minnesota CLE, August 4, 2016
  • “Lessons from the Panama Papers: Cybersecurity for Law Firms,” Minnesota State Bar Convention, June 24, 2016
  • “FTC and SEC Enforcement Perspectives on Privacy,” moderator and conference planner, Midwest Legal Conference on Privacy and Data Security, January 14, 2016
  • “A Legal Guide to Privacy and Data Security and Data Breach, Preparedness and Response,” chair and presenter, Minnesota CLE, October 2, 2015
  • “Panel of Privacy Professionals from Target, U.S. Bank, Cargill, and United Health Care,” moderator for IAPP KnowledgeNet Program, August 6, 2015
  • “Contracting for Privacy and Security: Managing and Allocating Risk,” presenter, Minnesota CLE, June 11, 2015
  • “A Legal Guide to Privacy and Data Security,” GPM workshop in collaboration with Minnesota Department of Economic Security, May 7, 2015
  • “IP Transactions—Hot Spots,” Intellectual Property Essentials for the Non-IP Lawyer, presenter, Minnesota CLE, April 8, 2015
  • “From Aristotle to Groucho Marx: Negotiating Technology Agreements,” Educational Conference for Minnesota City Attorneys, February 6, 2015
  • “Hays Companies Data Breach Discussion: Is Your Company Protected?” Cyber Liabilities Seminar, November 20, 2014
  • "Privacy and the Law," presentation with Professor William McGeveran, American Constitution Society and Student Intellectual Property Law Association, October 21, 2014
  • “A Legal Guide to Privacy and Data Security,” a joint project with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Data Privacy, Security, and Access in the Digital Age, Office of the Revisor of Statutes, St. Paul, Minnesota, October 9, 2014
  • A Legal Guide to Privacy, Ramsey County Bar Association, September 19, 2014
  • Legal Guide to Privacy and Data Security: A Seminar Presented by Minnesota CLE, August 18, 2014
  • “Introduction to Privacy Law," presenter, Minnesota CLE, Legal Guide to Privacy and Data Security, August 18, 2014
  • “What’s Next—What Attorneys Need to Have on Their ‘Privacy Radar,’” presenter, Minnesota CLE, Legal Guide to Privacy and Data Security, August 18, 2014
  • "Legal Topics for the PR Practitioner—Social Media, Privacy and More," Public Relations Society of America, Minnesota chapter, June 24, 2014
  • Facilitated Pro Bono Privacy Clinic at Target West Campus in Minneapolis for non-profit organizations in need of privacy counsel, September 26, 2013
  • “Navigating Intellectual Property of United States,” BioPeople and Danish American Business Forum, Copenhagen, Denmark, September 12, 2013
  • “Legal Guide to Social Media in the Workplace,” Gray Plant Mooty, August 28, 2013
  • “From Aristotle to Groucho: Negotiating Effective IT Contracts,” MCN Non-profits Technology and Communications Conference, Minneapolis, April 10, 2013
  • “Workshop on Technology Licensing, MinneBar 8, the so-called ‘unconference,'” April 6, 2013
  • “Teaching Intellectual Property Through Music,” MJF Street Law Program, January 1, 2013
  • “Start Me Up! Workshop,” Carlson School of Management, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 1, 2012
  • "IP Due Diligence—Lessons Learned From In-House Counsel,” M&A Networking Group, April 1, 2012
  • “Intellectual Property Basics From Mouthwash to Music,” BizLounge, February 1, 2012
  • “Intellectual Property Considerations for Start-ups,” Project Skyway, October 1, 2011
  • “Selecting the Right Arbitration Provision: A Seminar for In-House Counsel," November 1, 2006
  • “Licensing: A Strategy for Procurement, Protection, and Profits,” Seattle, Washington, October 1, 2005
  • “E-Commerce: Know Your Online Rights,” St. Cloud, Minnesota, October 1, 2004
  • “IP Licensing,” Atlanta, Georgia, September 1, 2004
  • “IP and Music,” July 2, 2004
  • “License Agreements: New Developments,” July 1, 2003
  • “Integrating Knowledge, Technology and Security,” November 1, 2002
  • “E-Commerce: Know your Online Rights,” September 1, 2002
  • “License Agreements: Case Law Developments,” August 1, 2002
  • “Using IP to Create Wealth and Increase Asset Return and Shareholder Value,” March 1, 2002
  • “Precision Software Licensing,” Palm Desert, California, October 1, 2001
  • “Intellectual Property Rights and Marketing Online,” July 1, 2000
  • “Intellectual Property in the New Millennium,” February 1, 2000
  • “Developing a Corporate Intellectual Property Strategy,” New York, February 1, 1999
  • “Protecting Your Company’s Valuable Proprietary and Intellectual Property Rights,” April 1, 1998
  • “From Aristotle to Henry Ford: A Basic Approach to Licensing,” September 1, 1995
  • “Outsourcing Contracts-Unwinding the Deal," May 1, 1995
  • Workshops for Procurement Officers of Federal Department of Health and Human Services, January 1, 1990


  • Chapter Author, "Chapter on Data Privacy and Security for The Complete Lawyer," Minnesota CLE, June 2021
  • Author, “A Legal Guide to Privacy and Data Security,” Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, January 2021
  • Chapter Author, "IT Agreements," Minnesota Business Forms Deskbook, Minnesota CLE, January 2021
  • "A Legal Guide to Privacy and Data Security,” Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, January 2020
  • "A Legal Guide To Technology Transactions," MN Department of Employment & Economic Development and Gray Plant Mooty, October 2019
  • "A Legal Guide to Privacy and Data Security,” Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, December 18, 2018
  • "Is Your Franchise Ready for GDPR?" Franchising World, August 28, 2018
  • “A Legal Guide to Privacy and Data Security,” Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development [second version], March 2016
  • Regular contributor of articles to international publication, Licensing in the Boardroom, and the National Law Journal, January 2016
  • “State Q&A, Right of Publicity: Minnesota,” co-author,, March 2, 2015
  • “Computer Contracts,” West-Thomson, updated annually since 1988
  • “Entertainment Industry Agreements,” West-Thomson, updated annually since 2006
  • “Legal Guide to Privacy and Data Security,” Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, April 2014
  • “Legal Guide to the Use of Social Media in the Workplace,” coauthor, Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development, June 2013
  • "A Legal Guide To Technology Transactions," MN Department of Employment & Economic Development and Gray Plant Mooty, May 2012
  • “Entertainment and Media Law Strategies – Leading Lawyers on Case Strategies, Exceeding Client Expectations, and Negotiating Deals,” Aspatore Books, January 2007
  • “Legal Guide to the Internet,” for use by non-lawyers to better understand data privacy and other issues related to ecommerce, Minnesota Department of Trade and Economic Development, January 2006
  • “Legal Guide to the Use of Social Media in the Workplace,” coauthor, Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development, June 2003

In the News

Professional Affiliations

  • 2021 Midwest Legal Conference on Privacy and Data Security, Planning Committee
  • Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US)
  • Certified Information Privacy Professional/Europe (CIPP/E)
  • Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM)
  • Fellow of Information Privacy (FIP)
  • Privacy Law Specialist (PLS)
  • International Association of Privacy Professionals KnowledgeNet Program, Minnesota chapter, chair
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Computer Law Section, member of the Executive Council, past president 
  • Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Cybersecurity and Privacy Law Program, Affiliated Professor

Community Involvement

  • Jewish Community Relations Council, board member


  • Selected among The Best Lawyers in America®, 2021 - 2022
Photo of Michael R. Cohen, PLS, CIPP/US, CIPP/E, CIPM, FIP
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Court Memberships

  • Minnesota


University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., 1985

University of Pittsburgh, B.A., 1977

Hebrew University, 1974