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John C. Coates, IV
John F. Cogan, Jr. Professor of Law and Economics
Research Director, Program on the Legal Profession

Harvard Law School
Griswold Hall #400
1525 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

Tel: + 1 (617) 496-4420
Fax: + 1 (617) 496-5156
E-mail: jcoates@law.harvard.edu


John Coates, IV is the John F. Cogan, Jr. Professor of Law and Economics and research director at the Program on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School. He joined the faculty in 1997 after private practice at the New York law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, where he was a partner specializing in mergers and acquisitions, corporate and securities law, and the regulation of financial institutions. Before coming to HLS, he taught on the adjunct faculties of New York University School of Law and Boston University School of Law. He was promoted to Professor in 2001, and was named the John F. Cogan Jr. Professor of Law and Economics in 2006.

His current research at Harvard includes empirical studies of the purchasing of legal services by S&P 500 companies, the causes and consequences of the completion or failure of M&A transactions, mutual funds and the effects of their regulation, and the causes and consequences of CEO and CLO turnover. He teaches courses on Mergers & Acquisitions, Financial Institutions Regulation, Contracts, Corporations, and the History of Capitalist Institutions. Professor Coates is a principal researcher on the Program’s Corporate Purchasing Project, a quantitative and qualitative examination of how corporations purchase legal services.  He also instructs at the Program’s Executive Education courses.

Professor Coates is a frequent panelist and speaker on M&A, and a consultant to the SEC, law firms, mutual funds, hedge funds, and other participants in the M&A and capital markets. He also is a member of the Legal Advisory Committee of the New York Stock Exchange and is a past director of the American Law and Economics Association. He is the author of numerous articles on corporate, securities, and financial institution law, and for seven years co-authored the leading annual survey of developments in financial institution M&A.


JD, New York University School of Law, 1989

BA, University of Virginia, 1986

Research and Scholarship

Managing Disputes Through Contract: Evidence from M&A, Harvard Business Law Review (2012) (forthcoming)

Corporate Politics, Governance, and Value Before and After Citizens United, Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (2012) (forthcoming)

Hiring Teams, Firms and Lawyers: Evidence of the Evolving Relationships in the Corporate Legal Market, 36 Law & Social Inquiry 999-1031 (2011) (with Michele DeStefano Beardslee, Ashish Nanda and David B. Wilkins)

Corporate Purchasing Project: How S&P Companies Evaluate Outside Counsel (A White Paper), Harvard Law School Program on the Legal Profession (2011) (with Michele DeStefano Beardslee, Ashish Nanda, Erik Ramanathan and David B. Wilkins)

M&A Break Fees: U.S. Litigation versus U.K. Regulation, Regulation versus Litigation: Perspectives from Economics and Law, Daniel Kessler, ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (2011)



Mergers and Acquisitions



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