Not a Lawyer, But He Plays One on TV

Sandy Cohen will be visiting Boalt Hall School of Law on May 11 to present a fellowship award in his honor.

A one-time public defender who went to law school in Berkeley, Cohen might stir up some controversy for the staid Boalt Hall alumni. After all, he’s reportedly the target of a criminal investigation stemming from his role in a shady hospital development deal in Newport Beach, Calif.

That’s not to say Cohen isn’t a decent role model. He once ranked #25 in TV Guide’s list of the all-time greatest dads.

Oh, did we mention that Cohen is a fictional character?

In fact, it will be Peter Gallagher, the bushy-browed actor who plays Cohen on “The OC,” who will present the Sandy Cohen Public Defense Fellowship, an award that’s funded in part by proceeds from an annual “OC” Prom organized by Boalt students.

(That’s right, an “OC” Prom.)

“There are some fellowships that are bigger [in dollar value],” said Carl Gustafson, a second-year Boalt student and a member the “OC” fan club. “But around the school, this is the one people remember best.”

(That’s right, an “OC” fan club.)

Now in its third year, the Sandy Cohen fellowship is awarded to students who take unpaid associate jobs in public defense offices. Five law students share the $5,000 award.

This year’s honorees will be Rachel Pfeiffer and Loriani Santos, who will work in Contra Costa County, Van Swearingen (San Francisco), Joey McInnis (Los Angeles) and Ruth Mackey (District of Columbia).

For more information about the Sandy Cohen fellowship presentation on May 11, email Gustafson at

Matthew Hirsch


3 Responses to “Not a Lawyer, But He Plays One on TV”

  1. texlaw66 Says:

    Since Cohen is a fictional character, will the honorees receive the award in monopoly money?

  2. fivecats Says:

    Monopoly money may be too real … My choice would be a “check in the mail.”

  3. legaleagle Says:

    Ingenious! Public-interest law students being creative, fun, and pulling in money? Great!

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