Description:

Sheldon I. Cohen was born in Newark in 1937. He grew up in the Roseville section and attended Garfield School and Barringer High School. He went to Rutgers from 1954 to 1959 and majored in engineering. He participated in Army ROTC and fencing and joined Phi Epsilon Pi fraternity. After graduating, he was commissioned an officer in the Army and served stateside at Fort Stewart as a supply officer from 1960 to 1962. After graduating from Georgetown Law, he worked at the lobbying firm Chapman, DiSalle and Friedman. He then went into private practice, specializing in employment law, particularly in regards to security clearances and classified information. He authored "Security Clearances and Protection of Classified Information: Law and Procedure" for the Department of Defense. For a number of years, he has led communication and reunion efforts of the Phi Epsilon Pi fraternity at Rutgers. In part one, he explores his family history and details his upbringing in Newark, including his father's small business, and experiences at Rutgers. He also recalls Washington, D.C. in the aftermath of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination and representing people arrested during the upheaval in the city. In part two, he discusses experiences going to law school and working as a lobbyist for prominent government figures Oscar L. Chapman, Michael V. DiSalle and Martin L. Friedman. He traces changes in public-sector employment law pertaining to national security over the course of his fifty-five-year law career. He discusses his involvement in the American Bar Association's Administrative Law Section in opposing President George H.W. Bush's proposed regulations affecting classified information.

The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2022-2023 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.