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.