Bryan lives and works in Melbourne. He graduated LLM in 1970, lectured at Monash University, worked with the ALRC in Sydney, practised as a barrister in Melbourne for 35 years, was appointed Queens Counsel in 1996, and retired in 2016. He acted mainly in native title, human rights, refugee appeals, and administrative and constitutional law cases, including in the High Court.
He has lectured and published extensively on native title issues; was Secretary of Liberty Victoria (1980s – 90s); and was appointed Adjunct Professor at Monash University Law School, (2005-2008). Bryan graduated PhD at Monash University in 2010 and published his thesis, written for the non-lawyer, 'A Mabo Memoir: Islan Kustom to Native Title' (Zemvic Press, 2013), available at bryankeoncohen.com. In 2012 he was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia, General Division (AM) for services to the law, especially Indigenous rights.
Bryan has published numerous legal articles, edited to volumes of essays concerning Indigenous rights, plus short fiction in Australian and UK magazines. He is married to June, another lawyer. They have three daughters and four grandchildren. Bryan plays golf badly.