A portrait of Laura Coates
Laura Coates

Laura Coates, CNN’s chief legal analyst and anchor of Laura Coates Live, will deliver the keynote address at Connecticut College’s 106th Commencement on Sunday, May 19, 2024.

Coates, who joined CNN in 2016 and whose work has been nominated for an Emmy, plays a central role in the network’s legal programming. She has covered many major news moments, including the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Jan. 6th hearings, the two impeachment hearings of President Trump and high-profile criminal prosecutions.

She is the anchor of the CNN show Laura Coates Live and the host of The Laura Coates Show on SiriusXM’s bipartisan P.O.T.U.S. channel, where she leverages her experience as a prosecutor to showcase the day’s top stories at the intersection of law, politics and popular culture. She also has authored two books, You Have the Right: A Constitutional Guide to Policing the Police and The New York Times bestseller Just Pursuit: A Black Prosecutor’s Fight For Fairness.

A native of Saint Paul, Minn., Coates graduated from Princeton University 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. She then transitioned from private practice to the U.S. Department of Justice 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 U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, prosecuting a myriad of violent felony offenses.

At the Commencement ceremony, the College will present Coates with the degree of doctor of humane letters honoris causa, in recognition of her commitment to promoting justice and fighting misinformation around the world.