Brian S. Cousin

Firm: McDermott Will & Emery
Location: New York - NY

  • 340 Madison Avenue
    New York, NY 10173-1922
  • Tel : 212 547 5420
  • Fax : 646 786 4655

Brian S. Cousin focuses on employment litigation and counseling, ERISA and benefits litigation, executive contract negotiations, complex commercial litigation, and international arbitration. He is head of the Firm’s International Employment Practice Group and co-head of the Firm’s ERISA and benefits litigation practice.

Brian has more than 30 years of experience handling class action and complex commercial litigation, employment litigation, close corporation and partnership disputes and arbitration matters. Brian has successfully handled many types of litigation and arbitration matters involving such claims as theft of trade secrets, fraud, breach of contract and fiduciary duty, defamation, violation of restrictive covenants, unfair competition, discrimination and retaliation, indemnification and advancement of legal fees, and violations of the following federal statutes: ERISA, the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), Sarbanes-Oxley, and the civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

Brian has successfully litigated a wide variety of employment-related cases, including claims under Title VII and Title IX, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Family Medical Leave Act and state leave laws, the Inevitable Disclosure Doctrine, state discrimination and retaliation statutes, the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour laws.

Brian is also an experienced ERISA and benefits litigator, having successfully handled numerous class action and single plaintiff cases over the last 30 years. Brian’s ERISA litigation experience includes class action and US Department of Labor cases involving claims for breaches of fiduciary duty related to excessive fees and precipitous stock drops, as well as many cases in the health care industry. Brian has represented ERISA plan fiduciaries and trustees in connection with ERISA- and benefits-related investigations conducted by the US Department of Labor.

Brian advises US and multi-national companies and executives on all aspects of employment, labor, and corporate compliance, including drafting and negotiating employment and separation agreements, corporate restructurings and reductions in force, corporate transactions, internal corporate investigations, handbooks and policy manuals, sexual harassment and other sensitivity training, protecting against employee raiding and theft of trade secrets and other confidential information, and compliance with all federal, state and local discrimination laws. Brian frequently represents companies on multi-national counseling projects by engaging and coordinating lawyers from a vast network located in more than 80 countries.

Brian has extensive experience advising both corporations and executives with respect to rights of indemnification and advancement of legal fees and costs.

With respect to alternative dispute resolution, Brian regularly represents clients in arbitrations before the American Arbitration Association (AAA), Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS), and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and in mediations before the AAA, JAMS, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the courts.


  • Premier Employment Lawyers 2019, 2020, Exclusive Featured Attorney for New York
  • The Legal 500 2014 to 2019, United States: Labor and Employment: ERISA Litigation
  • Super Lawyers 2013 to 2019, Employment Litigation, New York
  • Martindale-Hubbell since 1998, AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated

McDermott Will & Emery

Our team collaborates across practice groups and geographies to deliver nuanced perspectives to elevate strategy and surface highly effective solutions. More than 1,100 lawyers strong, we thrive on working together to find the right answer for our clients, and there isn’t a legal issue we haven’t discussed or an industry segment into which we haven’t delved.

When you partner with us, you don’t just receive access at your fingertips to a global network of diverse, industry-leading legal talent. You also get our personal commitment to you, your team and your vision.

Our team works together every day across geographies, practices and industries to deliver the insights and results that matter to your business and to the people you serve.

Our service is personalized and personable.That’s because we care deeply about what we do
and who we do it for.