Koren Bell

Koren (“Kori”) is Counsel in the Los Angeles office of Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz. Her practice focuses on trials and investigations. Previously, Kori spent over eight years at the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Los Angeles, where she oversaw litigation in the Trial Unit as a Supervising Trial Deputy and defended clients in some of the Office’s most complex and difficult federal criminal trial matters and appeals. Among them was Shaw v. United States, which Kori argued in the United States Supreme Court shortly before joining the firm. At the trial level, Kori defended a variety of high-stakes cases, including matters involving each of the federal fraud statutes and cross-border criminal activity requiring significant overseas investigation and litigation.

Before serving as a public defender, Kori was a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, where she defended corporate and individual clients in criminal and regulatory matters and complex commercial disputes. Earlier in her career, she was a Skadden Fellow at the Education Law Center, where she represented a plaintiff class of schoolchildren from 31 low-wealth districts before the New Jersey Supreme Court and the lower courts.

Notable Matters

Kori’s notable matters before joining the firm include:

  • Counsel of Record in the United States Supreme Court in Shaw v. United States, which concerns the required intent to defraud a financial institution under the federal bank fraud statute. As counsel in the lower courts, pursued a strategy focused on the circuit conflict over the proper interpretation of the statute and, ultimately, obtaining certiorari. Won jury acquittals on two counts, and briefed and argued the appeal of the remaining counts before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
  • Lead trial counsel for one of the lead defendants in three matters, out of two jurisdictions, alleging $30-million international market-manipulation conspiracies, wire fraud, and money laundering, and in a related civil forfeiture action. Used the revelation of government misstatements and omissions in wiretap applications that produced over 25,000 hours of recorded calls, and the consequent dismissal of one indictment, to negotiate a disposition of the remaining matters, vastly reducing the client’s exposure.
  • Trial counsel in a landmark criminal prosecution under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Obtained mid-trial dismissal following a strategy focused on the exclusion of government evidence, proposed jury instructions for key statutory terms, and the testimony of a defense expert electrical engineer.
  • Trial counsel in a counterfeit currency case. Obtained pre-trial dismissal after filing a motion that challenged the constitutionality of the search based on the testimony of a defense expert neuropsychologist.
  • Lead trial counsel in an international illegal gratuities case.  Obtained jury acquittal on the witness-tampering count, and post-trial dismissal of the substantive gratuities count. In pre- and post-trial motions, challenged the applicability of the anti-gratuities provision, raising questions of statutory interpretation later addressed by the Supreme Court in McDonnell v. United States.
  • Trial counsel in a firearms case in which the government presented two confessions obtained from the client. Won jury acquittal.

Clients, Industries & Other Activities

In Kori’s civil litigation practice, she has represented plaintiffs and defendants across a variety of industries, including Fortune 500 companies and prominent individuals. Since joining WW+E, Kori has played an important role in the firm’s defense of Pfizer Inc. in multi-plaintiff actions over its blockbuster statin; of FedEx Ground Package System in a lawsuit brought by the State and City of New York concerning the alleged shipment of contraband cigarettes; and of the National Collegiate Athletic Association in a high-profile defamation case.

In addition, Kori has taught pre-trial and trial skills at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and presented at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer’s West Coast White Collar Conference.

Education

  • Yale Law School, J.D., 2003; Executive Editor of the Yale Journal of International Law.
  • Swarthmore College, B.A. with High Honors in Political Science, 1998. Lang Scholar; Phi Beta Kappa.

Clerkship

  • Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (2003-2004).

Awards

  • Skadden Fellow (2004-2006)
  • Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar (1999-2000)
  • Fulbright Scholar (1998-1999)