Koren (Kori) Bell is a partner in Willkie’s Litigation Department. A nationally recognized litigator and former federal public defender, Kori’s diverse practice focuses on high-stakes trials (including last-minute trials), white collar criminal defense, complex commercial litigation, government and internal investigations, and regulatory enforcement matters.  

Kori has been lead counsel in some of the nation’s most complex and highly-publicized trials and appeals—including in a case she argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. Chambers cites Kori’s “excellent reputation” for her “trial and appellate capabilities,” noting: "She's a rockstar! She's just brilliant, an elite attorney doing massive cases." Benchmark Litigation ranks Kori as a “Litigation Star” and one of the “Top 250 Women in Litigation” for complex civil litigation, white collar defense work, and appellate litigation.

Praised by judges for her courtroom skill—described as “superb,” “topnotch,” and among “the best I’ve seen”—Kori is known as a tenacious and creative advocate. Inside and outside the courtroom, she has handled high-stakes and sensitive matters for companies and prominent individuals across a range of industries—from entertainment to finance, technology, healthcare, pharmaceutical, real estate, and sports. Her successful representations span cross-border business disputes to crisis management and all manner of criminal matters.  

Most recently, she was trial counsel for Netflix in its successful defense of a high-profile patent infringement case, largely defeating claims that sought approximately $300 million in damages. In the same year, she was lead counsel for the co-founder of a tech startup in a highly-publicized 10-week federal fraud trial, following which the Court praised counsel’s "unparalleled" and “extraordinary” advocacy, noting: “in 45 years I haven’t seen a performance like this, ever.” Shortly before, Kori was co-lead counsel for the decorated former USC water polo coach in his five-week “Varsity Blues” trial, following which she achieved the rare victory of winning her client's new trial motion after litigation over first-impression issues. 

Kori is fluent in Spanish, and frequently represents Spanish-speaking clients.  She is an active member of the legal community, serving in leadership roles.  



Kori was previously a partner at Larson LLP in Los Angeles.  

Prior to her work in private practice, Kori spent nearly a decade at the Federal Public Defender’s Office 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, Kori defended clients in some of the Office’s most difficult and complex federal criminal trial matters and appeals, including cases involving cross-border criminal activity, each of the federal fraud statutes, public corruption, and capital murder.

Prior to law school, Kori served as a Fulbright Scholar and Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. Following graduation from law school, she began her career as a law clerk to the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, after which she was awarded a Skadden Fellowship.


  • Legal 500 U.S., Recommended Lawyer, Dispute Resolution: Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2024 
  • Chambers USA, Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 4), California, 2024
  • Benchmark Litigation
    • Top 250 Women in Litigation, 2022-24
    • Litigation Star - White Collar Crime, Appellate and Commercial (California), 2023-24
  • Best Lawyers in America, Criminal Defense: White Collar, 2021-2024
  • Daily Journal
    • Top White Collar Lawyers, 2023
    • Top Women Lawyers, 2022-2023
  • Los Angeles Business Journal
    • Leaders of Influence: Leaders of Influence: Litigators & Trial Attorneys, 2022-2023
    • Women of Influence: Attorneys, 2019-2022
    • Thriving In Their 40s, 2021, 2023
  • Super Lawyers, Southern California Super Lawyer, 2022-2024
  • Litigation Counsel of America, Named a Fellow to this invitation-only trial lawyer honorary society (2020) 
  • Los Angeles Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, Board Member
  • Mexican American Bar Association, Judicial Externship Program Committee Member
  • Latina Lawyers Bar Association, Member
  • American Bar Association’s Judicial Intern Opportunity Program, Advisory Committee Member
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • The Chancery Club of Los Angeles, Member
  • Los Angeles Chapter of the Women’s White Collar Defense Association, Member
  • Panelist, “ETHICS – Zealous Representation: The Pursuit of Justice or Obstruction of Justice,” Institute on White Collar Crime, ABA (March 7, 2024)  
  • “Promoting Women as Lead Counsel: the Role of the Bench, In-House Counsel, and the Media,” Daily Journal, 2023
  • Panelist, "Enforcement Hot Topics: COVID Fraud, Government Contracting Fraud, and More," NACDL 2022 West Coast White Collar Conference (June 16, 2022)
  • Co-Presenter, "Challenging Discrimination in the Courtroom," Annual CJA Panel Training (May 21, 2022)
  • Panelist, "Taking the Steps to Federal Court: Do's and Don'ts of Appearing in Federal Court," FBA-LA Webinar (July 30, 2021)
  • Panelist, "Bridgegate and Beyond: Appellate Update for the White Collar Practitioner," ABA White Collar Crime Committee (March 16, 2021)
  • Panelist, "From FIFA to NCAA and Varsity Blues: The Trend of Enhanced Enforcement Efforts in Traditionally Self-Regulated Sectors," ABA 2020 Virtual Institute on White Collar Crime (June 10, 2020)

Criminal Defense, Regulatory Enforcement, and Investigations 

  • Counsel for a global financial institution in a DOJ white collar investigation.
  • Lead trial counsel for the co-founder and former president of Outcome Health in a 10-week, highly-publicized Chicago federal criminal trial, and parallel SEC civil suit, alleging a $1 billion fraud scheme targeting the tech startup’s pharmaceutical clients and investors.  The Court praised counsel’s advocacy as “unparalleled,” noting: “in 45 years I haven’t seen a performance like this, ever.”
  • Co-lead trial counsel for the decorated former USC water polo coach in his five-week, high-profile “Varsity Blues” admissions trial in Boston.  Won a new trial motion after extensive litigation over first-impression issues, and significant pre-trial victories—including severance and dismissal of the lead RICO charge as well as the property fraud allegations.
  • Appellate counsel before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in an SEC matter presenting a novel question about the Supreme Court’s disgorgement decision in Liu v. SEC, 140 S. Ct. 1936 (2020).
  • Counsel of Record for the petitioner in a case involving the construction of the bank fraud statute, which Kori advanced to — and argued before — the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s decision vacated her client’s convictions, remanded, and ultimately invalidated the Ninth Circuit’s model fraud jury instructions, as the Circuit held in a subsequent case Kori supervised. As the comments to the Ninth Circuit Model Criminal Jury Instructions for wire fraud explain, “in United States v. Miller, 953 F.3d 1095, 1101-03 (9th Cir. 2020), the Ninth Circuit expressly considered this instruction and held that wire fraud requires the intent to “deceive and cheat,” thereby overruling prior holdings approving the “deceive or cheat” language in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Shaw v. United States, 137 S. Ct. 462, 469 (2016),” Kori’s case.
  • Co-lead trial counsel for an aerospace expert accused of conspiring with the former mayor of Palmdale to embezzle millions in NASA funds in a highly-publicized public corruption case.  Following a multi-week preliminary hearing—deemed by the Court to be “among the most complicated, if not the most complicated case I’ve ever heard in 37 years”—obtained a no-custody, no-restitution, tax-count disposition and the dismissal of all other charges.  The Court praised the “topnotch” and “superb lawyering by Ms. Bell” and co-counsel, calling the result “a testament to their abilities.”  Thereafter, Kori successfully resolved sequel California Attorney General and NASA enforcement actions.
  • Co-lead trial and appellate counsel for the tax agent in the long-pending, multi-million dollar public corruption case involving the former Los Angeles County Assessor, which garnered national attention after then-Los Angeles County District Attorney Cooley called it one of the most important in decades. Obtained the dismissal before the California Court of Appeal of two cases charging dozens of counts, a final dismissal of one case when it was recharged on remand, and a no-custody disposition in the second case.
  • Co-lead trial counsel in a landmark criminal prosecution under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, obtaining mid-trial dismissal following first-impression litigation over the statute.
  • Lead trial counsel in a firearms case, obtaining acquittal notwithstanding the client’s two full confessions to law enforcement.
  • Lead trial counsel in a counterfeit currency case, obtaining dismissal on the eve of trial following litigation over the constitutionality of the search.
  • Lead trial counsel for investor in a high-profile criminal prosecution alleging $30 million cross-border market-manipulation conspiracy, obtaining a time-served disposition after exposing government misconduct.
  • Counsel for prominent physician and owner of cancer-treatment facility in enforcement proceedings brought by the Alaska Attorney General’s office for the Medical Board, obtaining a finding of no violation.
  • Counsel for entrepreneur in forfeiture proceedings involving a large seizure of cash, obtaining the non-prosecution of criminal charges and the return of all seized assets.
  • Counsel for CEO and founder of Insys Therapeutics in an unprecedented, closely-watched federal criminal prosecution alleging violations of RICO for the marketing and distribution of an FDA-approved cancer medication.
  • Counsel for a major television network in an internal investigation overseas.
  • Counsel for a prominent director in studios’ internal investigation into allegations of sexual assault, obtaining a finding that the allegations were unsubstantiated.

Complex Civil Litigation

  • Counsel of Record in the U.S. Supreme Court for amici curiae Asian-American civil rights organizations in support of respondent in FBI v. Fikre, involving a challenge to the “No-Fly List.”
  • Trial counsel for Netflix in its successful defense of a high-profile patent infringement case, largely defeating claims that sought approximately $300 million in damages. A federal jury returned a verdict of non-infringement for Netflix on one of the patents-in-suit, found that Netflix had non-willfully infringed a single claim of another patent, and awarded the plaintiff $2.5 million in lump-sum damages, instead of the running royalty based on Netflix subscriptions it had sought. 
  • Trial counsel for the NCAA in a highly-publicized, month-long defamation trial in California state court arising from the Reggie Bush scandal.  After Kori and her team obtained a complete defense verdict for the NCAA, the Court called the advocacy in the case “the best I’ve seen since I’ve been a judge.”
  • Counsel for developer Colonies Partners, L.P., and its co-managing partner, in a pair of novel civil rights suits brought after the client’s full acquittal at trial on public corruption charges.  After defeating summary judgment, Kori and her team obtained a $65 million settlement from the County of San Bernardino.
  • Co-lead counsel before the Ninth Circuit and district court for Qatari travel conglomerate in suit alleging violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) for a disinformation conspiracy perpetrated on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. 
  • Counsel for counterclaimants in a putative class action involving alleged trade secret violations and violations of the Federal Wiretap Act.
  • Counsel for billionaire family in cross-border disputes over assets involving a range of sectors—including automotive, oil and specialty chemicals, banking and finance, cyber security, healthcare, and real estate.
  • Counsel for FedEx Ground Package System in $600 million federal civil lawsuits brought by the State and City of New York alleging shipment of contraband cigarettes.
  • Counsel for global pharmaceutical company in multi-plaintiff products liability suits in Missouri state court over its blockbuster statin.

*Kori advised on certain matters prior to joining Willkie.




Yale Law School, J.D., 2003 Swarthmore College, B.A., 1998

Bar Admissions

California New York

Court Admissions

United States Supreme Court United States Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit United States Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit United States District Court, Central District of California United States District Court, Northern District of California United States District Court, Southern District of New York United States District Court, District of Massachusetts United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois Supreme Court of New York United States District Court, District of Minnesota