Koren L. Bell

Partner
  • BIOGRAPHY
  • Awards & Recognition
  • In the news

Koren ("Kori") Bell is a partner at Larson O’Brien LLP. She is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer with a record of success litigating high-stakes cases. In courtrooms across the country, Kori has handled complex white collar criminal matters—including as Counsel of Record in the U.S. Supreme Court—and civil matters—including as trial counsel for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in a highly-publicized defamation case. She has represented both plaintiffs and defendants, including Fortune 500 companies, diplomats, and high-net-worth individuals, in all types of cases across a range of industries—including pharmaceutical, transportation, financial services, and sports and entertainment. Kori is bilingual and regularly represents Spanish-speaking clients. Through aggressive, creative, and focused advocacy, Kori delivers results for her clients both before and after trial.   

Prior Experience

Kori joined Larson O’Brien from Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz LLP, where she defended prominent clients—including FedEx Ground Package System, Pfizer Inc., and the billionaire CEO and founder of a major pharmaceutical company—in high-profile civil and criminal disputes. Among them was Todd McNair v. NCAA, in which she helped to obtain a complete defense verdict following a month-long trial arising from the Reggie Bush scandal. Kori spearheaded case strategy and conducted key witness examinations during the trial, which was covered extensively in the media, including by ESPNSports Illustrated, and the LA Times.  After the jury rejected the plaintiff’s claims, the trial court called the advocacy in the case "the best I’ve seen since I’ve been a judge."

Previously, Kori spent over eight years at the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Los Angeles. As a Supervising Trial Deputy in the largest office in the federal defender system, she helped oversee trial litigation, devise management improvements, and develop district-wide challenges to prosecutions. During her tenure, she also defended clients in some of the Office’s most complex and difficult federal criminal trial matters and appeals. Among them was Shaw v. United States, involving the federal bank fraud statute, which Kori advanced to—and argued as Counsel of Record before—the U.S. Supreme Court. At the trial level, she defended a variety of serious cases, including matters involving alleged cross-border criminal activity, each of the federal fraud statutes, bribery, public corruption, and capital murder.

Kori began her career as a law clerk to the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She was then a Skadden Fellow at the Education Law Center, where she represented a plaintiff class of schoolchildren from 31 low-wealth districts before the New Jersey Supreme Court and the lower courts, and an associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

Kori received her law degree from Yale Law School, where she was an Executive Editor of the Yale Journal of International Law. She received her undergraduate degree with high honors from Swarthmore College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was selected as a Eugene Lang Scholar. Following college, she was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in Argentina, where her family is from, and a Fulbright Scholar in Chile.

Other Activities

Kori is active in the Los Angeles legal community as a member of the Latina Lawyers Bar Association and the Advisory Committee of the LA-ABA's Judicial Internship Opportunity Program. She has taught at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, presented at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers West Coast White Collar Conference, and judged the national moot court competition at Loyola Law School.  

Representative Matters

  • Trial counsel in Todd McNair v. NCAA. Obtained a complete defense verdict in a month-long defamation trial in Los Angeles Superior Court.
  • Counsel of Record in the U.S. Supreme Court, and lead trial and appellate counsel, in Shaw v. United States. After winning jury acquittals on certain counts, advanced the case to the Supreme Court. Following argument before the Supreme Court, secured a judgment vacating and remanding the Ninth Circuit’s decision affirming the client’s convictions in a ruling that undermines the applicable jury instructions for the federal fraud statutes.
  • Defense of FedEx Ground Package System in $600 million federal civil lawsuits brought by the State and City of New York alleging the knowing shipment of contraband cigarettes.
  • Defense of Pfizer Inc. in multi-plaintiff products liability actions brought in Missouri state court over its blockbuster statin.
  • Defense of founder, majority owner, and former CEO of a leading pharmaceutical company federally charged with illegally distributing an FDA-approved medication in violation of RICO, the fraud statutes, and the Anti-Kickback Statute.
  • Trial counsel in a landmark criminal prosecution under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Obtained mid-trial dismissal following aggressive litigation over the applicable jury instructions.
  • Lead trial counsel for the lead defendant in three cases, out of two jurisdictions, alleging $30-million international market-manipulation conspiracies. Leveraged government misconduct to negotiate a disposition that reduced the client’s life-term exposure to a sentence of time-served.
  • Trial counsel in a counterfeit currency case. Obtained pre-trial dismissal after challenging the constitutionality of the government’s search.
  • Lead trial counsel in a cross-border illegal gratuities case. Obtained jury acquittal on a witness-tampering count, and post-trial dismissal of a gratuities count. Raised first-impression questions of statutory interpretation later addressed by the Supreme Court in McDonnell v. United States.
  • Trial counsel in a firearms case in which the government presented two confessions obtained from the client. Won jury acquittal.

Higher education honors include: 

  • Skadden Fellow (2004-2006)
  • Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar (1999-2000)
  • Fulbright Scholar (1998-1999)

Court grants firm's writ of mandate petition

Larson O'Brien's writ of mandate petition on behalf of client Ramin Salari was granted on May 22, 2020, directing the charges to be dismissed.

Firm joins L.A. Represents pro bono initiative

Mayor Eric Garcetti's pro bono initiative is composed of top Los Angeles law firms providing free legal services to residents facing hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Los Angeles Business Journal

Partners named among the 2020 Top Women Attorneys

Partners Kori L. Bell and Hilary Potashner have been named among the Top Women Attorneys of 2020.

Los Angeles Business Journal

Bell among most influential women lawyers in L.A.

Los Angeles Business Journal recognizes Kori Bell among the most influential attorneys in Los Angeles

Daily Journal

Larson O'Brien hired in college admissions scandal

Ex-judge, Stephen G. Larson, hired to represent water polo coach in college admissions scandal

Law360

Larson added to "Varsity Blues" defense team

Larson O'Brien counted among elite firms that make up the "Varsity Blues" defense team

Law360

Koren ("Kori") Bell Joins Larson O'Brien

Larson O'Brien LLP Welcomes Veteran Trial Lawyer Koren Bell as Partner and Dana M. Howard and K. Darcy Elgin as Associates

  • EDUCATION

    Yale Law School; Yale Journal of International Law, Executive Editor

    Swarthmore College, B.A., High Honors; Phi Beta Kappa, Lang Scholar

  • CLERKSHIPS

    Hon. Stephen Reinhardt
    U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

  • ADMISSIONS

    California
    New York
    Supreme Court of the United States
    U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
    U.S.D.C. Central District of California

  • Languages

    Spanish