Laura Coates is CNN’s chief legal analyst and anchor. She plays a central role in the network’s extensive legal programming and fills in as an anchor across CNN programming including hosting primetime programs, impactful specials, and a CNN Town Hall.
Coates is a well-respected constitutional expert, attorney, commentator, author, and former adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Law. Her depth of experience and broad expertise has earned her acclaim across all media platforms for her objective, nonpartisan legal analysis.
Coates played a prominent role in major news moments, including CNN’s coverage of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the January 6th hearings and the two impeachment hearings of President Donald Trump, hosting a special entitled White House in Crisis: The Impeachment Inquiry. She routinely covers high-profile criminal prosecutions, including the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, providing minute-by-minute analysis and reporting on the ground amid protests. She hosted a primetime special featuring some of the nation’s top lawyers on the criminal trial of Alex Murdaugh, moderated Mayors Who Matter: A CNN Town Hall on Race and Covid-19, as well as a primetime special with law enforcement experts analyzing the police response to the mass shooting at Uvalde Elementary School.
Coates is also the host of the award-winning daily “The Laura Coates Show” on SiriusXM’s bipartisan P.O.T.U.S. channel where she interviews world leaders and politicians from both sides of the aisle and engages the audience with a lively discussion on the intersection of politics and the law.
She is the New York Times bestselling author of Just Pursuit: A Black Prosecutor’s Fight For Fairness. In 2016, recognizing the dire need for increased police accountability and improved police-community relations, Coates wrote the bestselling book You Have the Right: A Constitutional Guide to Policing the Police. In the book, she removes the legalese to help ordinary citizens know and understand their Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights.
A native of Saint Paul, Minnesota, Coates graduated from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs and the University of Minnesota Law School, where she serves on the Board of Advisors, before beginning her legal career in private practice. She practiced law in Minnesota and New York handling cases ranging from intellectual property litigation and First Amendment issues to defamation and media law. Called to public service, she transitioned from private practice to the United States Department of Justice, thriving as a federal prosecutor. She served as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice during the Bush and Obama administrations, specializing in the enforcement of voting rights throughout the country. She also served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, prosecuting a myriad of violent felony offenses including drug trafficking, armed offenses, domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault.
She and her husband live in Washington, DC with their two young children. You can find her on social media at @thelauracoates.