Luke Bierman is of counsel to Cohen Milstein, and adviser to the Ethics and Fiduciary Counseling and Securities Litigation & Investor Protection practices. Mr. Bierman's role is to counsel pension funds and public entities on fiduciary, ethics, governance and compliance issues. He joined Cohen Milstein in 2011, bringing with him a singular perspective and substantive experience as in-house counsel to one of the leading pension funds in the country, appointments to state task forces to review the state code of judicial ethics and professionalism, and a scholarly and academic background as the Dean and Professor of Law at a rising law school that President Bill Clinton has called “interesting and innovative.” His experience provides him with a unique context for assisting public pension funds at critical and challenging times for those funds, and to offer collaborative and creative solutions.
Mr. Bierman served from 2007 to 2010 as General Counsel for the Office of the New York State Comptroller, the sole trustee of the state’s then $150 billion pension fund and the state’s chief fiscal officer for the state of New York’s then $130 billion budget. This was during the period when the Office of the Comptroller faced unprecedented challenges including an international placement agent scandal and the Great Financial Crisis, and Mr. Bierman led the review of policies and procedures in the Office. In this role, Mr. Bierman managed a legal staff that included 55 attorneys and was responsible for legal advice and counsel on all matters relating to the comptroller’s constitutional and statutory responsibilities, including fiduciary, governance, ethics, litigation, investment, pension benefits, state and municipal finance and legislative matters. He also managed the 35 outside law firms that represented the Comptroller in litigation and transactional matters.
Mr. Bierman is a noted expert on legal ethics and professionalism, who has spoken and written widely about state courts and judicial conduct. He has served as a member of the North Carolina Commission on Administration of Law and Justice and on the North Carolina Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism. He was a member of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s Task Force on the Code of Judicial Conduct, which was assigned to review and suggest updates to the Court. He served on the ABA Presidential Task Force on Financing Legal Education and the ABA Presidential Task Force on Legal Access JobCorps. While working at the American Bar Association, Mr. Bierman initiated the project that resulted in revisions to the Model Code of Judicial Conduct (2007), which many states have since adopted. Mr. Bierman is Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus at Elon University School of Law in Greensboro, North Carolina, an innovative law school that blends the most important traditional elements of legal education with highly experiential learning in the nation’s first 2½ year JD program.
Previously, Mr. Bierman was the Associate Dean for Experiential Education and Distinguished Professor of Practice of Law at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, where he was responsible for Northeastern’s Cooperative Legal Education Program. Earlier in his career, Mr. Bierman served as a Fellow in Government Law and Policy at Albany Law School. He also has served as Director of the Institute for Emerging Issues at North Carolina State University, where he held the rank of Associate Professor of Political Science; as Founding Director of the Justice Center and Special Assistant to the President of the American Bar Association; as Visiting Specialist in Constitutional Law with the rank of Associate Professor at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey; and as law clerk to the Presiding Justice and an Associate Justice as well as Chief Attorney of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department. Mr. Bierman also has taught at Northwestern University School of Law, the University at Albany - State University of New York and Trinity College in Hartford.
Mr. Bierman is widely published for his legal analysis and is a frequent lecturer and commentator about corporate governance reform, fiduciary responsibility and ethics and justice reform. He was a member of the board of directors of the Council of Institutional Investors, where he co-chaired the policies committee. Mr. Bierman earned his Ph.D. and M.A. in Political Science from the University at Albany - State University of New York; his J.D. from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law of the College of William and Mary, where he was a member of the Law Review; and his B.A. magna cum laude in American Political History with High Honors from Colgate University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute.
- Associate Dean, Experiential Education, Northeastern University of Law, Boston, MA, 2011-2014
- General Counsel, Office of the New York State Comptroller, 2007-2010
- Director, Institute for Emerging Issues, North Carolina State University, 2004-2006
- Associate Specialist Visiting Professor in Constitutional Law, The Richard Stockton College, University of New Jersey, JN, 1994-1996
- Chief Attorney, Third Department, Appellate Division, New York Supreme Court, 1990-1994
- Vice President, NC Bar Association, 2015-2016
- Board of Directors, Council of Institutional Investors, 2009-2011
- Elected Member, American Law Institute, 2002-present
- Founding Director, Justice Center, American Bar Association, 2000-2004
- Assistant to the President, American Bar Association, 1998-2000, 2001-2002