Marsha Cohen

The Honorable Raymond L. Sullivan Professor of Law


Professor Marsha Cohen came to California to clerk for the late Associate Justice Raymond L. Sullivan, then of the California Supreme Court. Thereafter she joined the public interest law office of Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, in Washington, D.C., practicing primarily in the areas of federal food and drug and product safety law. She came to UC Law SF after a short stint at UC Davis. Professor Cohen has served on various government and National Academy of Sciences panels on a variety of topics, most notably on food safety and sodium. For almost eight years she was a member of the California State Board of Pharmacy, and was its first non-pharmacist president.

During her years at UC Law SF, Professor Cohen most regularly taught Torts, Administrative Law, and Consumer Protection, and for many years she was the faculty supervisor of the Judicial Externship Program. Her area of narrowest specialty is food and drug law, and she is the coauthor of Pharmacy Law for California Pharmacists, now in its 7th edition.

Professor Cohen is the Founding Executive Director of Lawyers for America, which provides an exciting alternative path in legal education and helps legal nonprofits and government to meet the overwhelming need for public interest lawyering.

Professor Cohen has founded, served on the boards of, and raised money for, a variety of nonprofits (including Friends of the Company, the Cutting Ball Theater, San Francisco Day School, and Smith College). She urges theater-lovers to check out the exciting and unusual theater offered near UC Law SF by the Cutting Ball Theater ( and to support the youth of San Francisco performing with the Young People’s Teen Musical Theatre Company by attending its shows (

Selected Scholarship


Marcus and Cohen’s Pharmacy Law for California Pharmacists (7th ed. 2012) (with Sami Sedghani). AMAZON

Pharmacy Law for California Pharmacists (Marcus/Cohen 6th ed. 2008) (with William L. Marcus).

Pharmacy Law for California Pharmacists (Marcus/Cohen 5th ed. 2005) (with William L. Marcus).

Statutory Supplement: Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and Related Sections of Additional Statutes (Food and Drug Law Institute 2005) (editor).

California Administrative Law (West Group 2002) (with Michael R. Asimow).

Pharmacy Law for California Pharmacists (Marcus/Cohen 4th ed. 2002) (with William L. Marcus).

Pharmacy Law for California Pharmacists (Marcus/Cohen 3d ed. 1999) (with William L. Marcus).

Ensuring Safe Food: from Production to Consumption (Committee to Ensure Safe Food from Production to Consumption, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, National Academies Press 1998) (with committee).

Pharmacy Law for California Pharmacists (Applied Therapeutics 2d ed. 1997) (with William L. Marcus).

Pharmacy Law and Regulations (California State Board of Pharmacy 1983) (editor).

Journal Articles

Written Informed Consent—Translating into Plain Language. A Pilot Study, 9 Healthcare 232 (2021) (with Agnieszka Zimmermann, Anna Pilarska, Aleksandra Gaworska-Krzeminska, & Jerzy Jankau). URL

Teaching While Pregnant: The History of Faculty Maternity at UC Hastings, 30 Harv. Women’s L.J. 203 (2019). FULLTEXT

Exaggerated Response or Necessary Change?, 6 Update 41 (2005).

A Mayor’s Dilemma—Can I Ignore a Statute I Think Is Unconstitutional? Another Skirmish in the Gay Marriage Wars, 30 Admin. & Reg. L. News 28 (Fall 2004). WL

Can We Talk? About Food and Drug Regulation and the First Amendment, 58 Food & Drug L.J. 741 (2003). FULLTEXT

Rx by Email—Bad Medicine for a Chronic Rulemaking Illness, 29 Admin. & Reg. L. News 10 (Fall 2003). WL

Breaking the Federal/State Impasse over Medical Marijuana: A Proposal, 11 Hastings Women’s L.J. 59 (2000). FULLTEXT SSRN

Kawaauhau v. Geiger, 12 Health L. News 4 (Sept. 1998). URL

Justice Sullivan: The Teacher, 46 Hastings L.J. 3 (1994). FULLTEXT

Summaries of Justice Raymond L. Sullivan’s Majority Opinions on the Supreme Court of California, 46 Hastings L.J. 295 (1994). FULLTEXT

Getting New Drugs to People with AIDS: A Public Policy Response to Lansdale, 18 Hastings Const. L.Q. 471 (1991). FULLTEXT

Regulatory Reform: Assessing the California Plan, 1983 Duke L.J. 231 (1983). FULLTEXT

Federal Pension Benefits: The Reach of Preemption, 34 Hastings L.J. 293 (1982). FULLTEXT

What Drug Information Should the Consumer Have? A Consumer Perspective, 11 Drug Info. J. 34 (Mar. 1977).

Stevens v. Parke, Davis & Co., 10 U.S.F. L. Rev. 683 (1976). FULLTEXT

Enforcement Under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act—The Park Case in Perspective, 30 Food Drug Cosm. L.J. 676 (1975). FULLTEXT

“Uncle Sam”, the Product Safety Man: Consumer Product Safety Standards in the Marketplace and in the Courts, 2 Hofstra L. Rev. 619 (1974) (with James A. Brodsky). FULLTEXT

Legal/Regulatory Developments Affecting Food—Perspective of the Consumers Union, 29 Food Drug Cosm. L.J. 604 (1974). FULLTEXT

The Consumer Class Action: An Endangered Species, 12 San Diego L. Rev. 39 (1974) (with Peter H. Schuck). FULLTEXT

Newspaper & Magazine Articles

A License for Safer Drugs: Drugmakers Need an Incentive to Study Safety After Products Hit the MarketWash. Post, Sept. 2, 2006, at A29.

Pharmacists, Conscience and FreedomThe Jurist, Sept. 26, 2005. URL

Marijuana Decision Confirms That Even Medical Use is IllegalL.A. Daily J., Jun. 12, 2001, at 6, col. 3. CATALOG

Our Governor Should Do More to Bring Logic and Science to Medi–Pot MessL.A. Daily J., Aug. 10, 2000, at 6, col. 3. CATALOG

Jibes Could Ruin Stanford for the First DaughterSF Examiner, Sept. 19, 1997 (reprinted in Houston Chron., sept. 21, 1997, at 5. URL

The Antique Labs in SF Schools; More Reasons for San Franciscans to Vote on TuesdaySF Examiner, June 2, 1997.

Yes, Have a Legal Defense Fund—But Pledge to Repay DonorsL.A. Times, July 15, 1994.

Other Publications

Patient Drug Information: Does It Benefit the Public?Proceedings, National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (Apr. 29, 1979).

Policy Making and the Administrative ProcessProceedings, 25th Annual Summer Program for California Lawyers, Continuing Education of the Bar (Aug. 14, 1979).

Who Owns the Food Label? A Policy PaperProceedings, Conference on Nutrition and the American Food System, Part II (June 1-2, 1978).

Same Data, Different Results—A Study of the Use of Scientific Information in Legal Decisionmaking (Comm. on Envtl. Decision Making, Comm’n on Natural Res., Nat’l Research Council, Decision Making in the Environmental Protection Agency Working Papers, Vol. II, 1977).


  • Harvard Law School
    J.D., cum laude, Law

  • Smith College
    B.A., cum laude, English


  • Food and Drug Law