Coates Lear specializes in assisting companies, boards of directors, board committees and individuals in internal investigations, government inquiries and enforcement proceedings. Drawing on his extensive government experience, Coates has particular expertise in matters involving the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He also helps clients evaluate and improve their compliance programs, and represents clients in complex litigation.
Before joining the firm, Coates was senior counsel in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, where he worked from 2007 to 2015. While at the SEC, he led investigations into a wide range of issues and conduct, including public company financial reporting, securities offerings, mutual fund disclosure and private fund management. From April 2012 to September 2015, he was a member of the Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit, a specialized unit devoted to investigating potential securities law violations in the investment management industry. In 2014, Coates also served a short-term detail to SEC Commissioner Kara M. Stein, advising the commissioner on numerous recommendations from the Division of Enforcement.
Before joining the SEC, Coates litigated on behalf of companies and individuals while practicing at another global law firm, where he focused on class actions, securities litigation, white collar defense and insurance-related matters. Coates began his legal career as a law clerk to US District Judge James R. Spencer in the Eastern District of Virginia.