College of Law

Neil Cohen

UTK Distinguished Service Professor of Law and W.P. Toms Professor of Law


BA, 1967, Yale University

JD, 1970, Vanderbilt University Law School

LL.M., 1972, Harvard Law School

Diploma in Criminology, 1976, Cambridge University


Professor Cohen’s areas of expertise are criminal law and procedure, and evidence. He was frequently quoted by national, state, and local media during the O.J. Simpson trial and was also a commentator for Court TV and a guest lecturer to numerous academic and civic groups.

Professor Cohen is the author or co-author of 10 books and has been published in many law reviews, including the Harvard Journal of Legislation. His book, “The Law of Probation and Parole” (1999), has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court. Prof. Cohen also drafted the gender-neutral version of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate, Civil, Criminal, and Juvenile Procedure and assisted in drafting the Tennessee Rules of Evidence and the Tennessee Penal Code, as well as the modernized Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure.

He served as the reporter of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Jury Reform Commission. He was appointed by the President of the American Bar Association to the American Jury Project.

Professor Cohen has worked as a special prosecutor with the Knox County District Attorney General’s Office and has been honored with the Harold C. Warner Award for Outstanding Teaching, the Harry W. Laughlin Award for Outstanding Service, the Bass, Berry & Sims Award for Outstanding Service to the Bench and Bar, the Carden Award for Outstanding Scholarship, and the Tennessee Supreme Court Outstanding Service Award.