Jim Coleman is the John S. Bradway Professor of the Practice of Law, Director of the Center for Criminal Justice and Professional Responsibility, and Co-Director of the Wrongful Convictions Clinic at Duke Law School. He is a graduate of Columbia University (J.D. 1974), and Harvard University (A.B. 1970).
Jim is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina. His experience includes fifteen years in private practice in Washington, D.C., the last twelve as a partner at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. In private practice, Jim specialized in federal court and administrative litigation; he also represented criminal defendants in capital collateral proceedings and was an active participant in his firm’s pro bono program. Jim also has had a range of government experience during the early part of his career, including stints as an assistant general counsel for the Legal Services Corporation, chief counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, and deputy general counsel for the U.S. Department of Education.
During his career, Jim has been active in the American Bar Association, where he served as Chair of the ABA Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities and of the ABA Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project, and has served on various state commissions focused on wrongful convictions, the death penalty, and criminal justice generally.
Jim joined the Duke faculty full-time in 1996, where his teaching responsibilities have included criminal law, wrongful convictions, and the appellate litigation clinic, which he and Erwin Chemerinsky started. His academic work, conducted through the Center for Criminal Justice and Professional Responsibility, centers on the legal, political, and scientific causes of wrongful convictions and how they can be prevented. His administrative work for the University has included chairing the Lacrosse ad hoc Review Committee and the Duke Athletic Council.