Martha Coakley

Of Counsel
Co-Chair, State Attorney General Investigations practice
Former Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is Co-Chair of Foley Hoag's State Attorney General practice. She focuses her practice on government and internal investigations, litigation, and data privacy and security. Martha has substantial experience in civil and criminal litigation in all state and federal courts including the U.S. Supreme Court. She has performed extensive grand jury work, and defended clients before federal grand juries and has considerable experience conducting complex investigations.

Martha has worked successfully with internal teams and outside litigators to help clients navigate issues with attorneys general and staff, given her broad scope of experience as a former civil litigator, District Attorney and Massachusetts Attorney General. She was retained by the Massachusetts House of Representatives to assist in revising their sexual harassment policy. She served as a team member of an independent investigation of allegations of sexual abuse for an independent school and the school's leaders response to those allegations. Clients in Massachusetts and across the country call on Martha to assist them with individual attorney general individual and multi-state investigations, whether in anti-trust, consumer protection, healthcare, cyber-digital or labor matters.

As the first female Attorney General of Massachusetts (2007-2015), Martha was a national leader addressing the economic crisis of 2007-2009 by holding banks accountable and keeping residents in their homes; protecting civil rights as the first Attorney General to successfully challenge the Defense of Marriage Act; investigating fraud and corruption; and leading major initiatives to address health care and energy costs. She recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for the taxpayers of Massachusetts from investigations of Medicare fraud to the Big Dig. 

Martha began her legal career as a civil litigator. She gained extensive experience in insurance defense, criminal defense and complex civil litigation. Martha joined the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office in 1986 as an Assistant District Attorney in the Lowell District Court office. In 1987, she was invited by the U.S. Justice Department to join its Boston Organized Crime Strike Force as a Special Attorney. Martha returned to the D.A.'s Office in 1989, and in 1991 was appointed the Chief of the Child Abuse Prosecution Unit.

In 1998, Martha was elected Middlesex District Attorney. During her eight years as District Attorney, Martha was widely recognized as a public safety advocate, not only bringing justice to crime victims and their families, but also emphasizing the importance of working with community leaders, schools and law enforcement in a variety of diverse and multi-faceted prevention efforts. Martha advocated for changes in the law to streamline the approval process for academic and research institutions to conduct stem cell research.


  • Boston University School of Law, J.D., 1979
  • Williams College, B.A., cum laude, 1975

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Massachusetts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • Supreme Court of the United States


  • Resident Fellow, Harvard University Institute of Politics (IOP), John F. Kennedy School of Government, Spring 2015
  • Attorney General of Massachusetts, 2007-2015
  • Middlesex (Mass.) District Attorney, 1999-2007
  • Special Attorney, Boston Organized Crime Strike Force, 1987-1989
  • Assistant District Attorney, Middlesex (Mass.) District Attorney's Office, 1986-1987 and 1989-1997
  • Civil Litigation, Boston, 1979-1986


Honors & Involvement

  • National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Kelley-Wyman Award, given annually to the Attorney General who has done the most to achieve NAAG objectives, 2014
  • Excellence in Computer Forensics Award, Computer and Enterprise Investigations Conference (CEIC), 2009
  • Eleanor Roosevelt Award, Massachusetts Democratic Party, 2006
  • Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Pinnacle Award for Excellence in Management in Government, 2004
  • Selected as a member of the YWCA Boston's Academy of Women Achievers, Class of 2002
  • Leila J. Robinson Award for contributions to the field of law, Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts, 2000
  • Named Woman of the Year by the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, 1998    
  • Massachusetts Association of School Committees, Honoree
  • Victim Rights Law Center, Honoree
  • President, Massachusetts District Attorney's Association (2002)
  • Former Board of Directors, Dana Farber Cancer Institute
  • Former Chair/Board of Directors, Middlesex Partnerships for Youth, Incorporated
  • Former President, Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts
  • Board Member, The National Association of Drug Court Professionals
  • Adjunct Faculty,"Policing in the 21st Century", Boston University School of Law (2016-2017)

Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, "Reproductive Justice: Legal Landscape Since Dobbs," Women's Bar Association (October 2022)
  • Keynote, "The Future of Healthcare in Massachusetts," AGHE of Massachusetts, Worcester, MA (November 2017)
  • Panelist, “State AG Investigations: How to Fight Back!” Foley Hoag webinar (September 2017) 
  • Panelist, "COMPLY" Conference, New York City, NY (March 2017)
  • Panelist, "Front Office" Policy Collision Debate, ABA Section of Antitrust Law Forum, Washington, D.C. (November 2016) 
  • Keynote, New York Healthcare Foundation (October 2016)
  • Speaker, “Cyber Security Belongs in the C-Suite: Are you ready?,” Information Systems Security Association, New England Chapter Meeting (September 2016) 
  • Panelist, “Interpreting US SEC 2011 Cybersecurity Risk,” ABA 2016 Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (August 2016)
  • Panelist, "AG Role in Consumer Protection: Top Cop, Protector of Consumers, including Vulnerable Populations, or Over the Top Regulator? Will the Real AG Please Stand Up!," George Washington Law School (October 2015)
  • Speaker, “Are you prepared, ready & resilient?,” PwC Cybercrime & Healthcare Roundtable, Boston, MA (March 2015)
  • Regular presenter of trainings and instruction at conferences and seminars, both in Massachusetts and nationwide
  • Guest lecturer for colleges and universities, including Harvard University, Boston College Law School and Tufts University
  • Guest lecturer for organizations such as the Columbia Law Review, the Massachusetts Municipal Association and the Massachusetts Medical Society