John C. "Jack" Coffee, Jr. (born November 15, 1944) is the Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and director of the Center on Corporate Governance at Columbia University Law School.

John C. Coffee
Born (1944-11-15) November 15, 1944 (age 74)
NationalityUnited States
Alma materN.Y.U. School of Law
Yale Law School
Amherst College
Scientific career
FieldsBusiness law, Tax law
InstitutionsColumbia Law School



Coffee grew up in Manhasset, New York. He attended Manhasset High School where he was in the National Honor Society. After graduation, he attended Amherst College with his high school friend and classmate, actor Ken Howard. He received his B.A. from Amherst College in 1966, his LL.B. from Yale Law School in 1969 and later an LL.M. (in taxation) from New York University School of Law.


Following graduation from law school, Coffee was a Reginald Heber Smith fellow for one year, doing poverty law litigation in New York City. He entered private practice as an attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore from 1970-76. He has also served as Reporter for the American Bar Association for its Model Standards on Sentencing Alternatives and Procedures and for the American Law Institute's Principles of Corporate Governance. From 1976-1980, he was a professor at Georgetown University Law Center before coming to Columbia. He was also a visiting professor at Harvard Law School (2001), Stanford University Law School (1988), the University of Virginia Law School (1978), and the University of Michigan Law School (1979).

Coffee has been listed by the National Law Journal as one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in the United States." He is often quoted by The New York Times,[1] The Wall Street Journal[2] and other major media outlets, such as Fox News and CNN, in their corporate and securities reporting. He has also written one of the best known casebooks on U.S. securities regulation, as well as another on corporations. He is considered one of the foremost legal scholars in that area of securities law. Professor Coffee is the most cited law professor in law reviews in the combined corporate, commercial, and business law field.[3]


Coffee lives in New Jersey with his wife, Jane, who is a professor of Mathematics at the College of Staten Island. They have one daughter, who is a physician.

On August 10, 2011, Coffee was a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.[4]


  • 2012 (with Hillary A. Sale). Securities Regulation: Cases and Materials, 12th ed.
  • 2008 (with Choper and Gilson). Cases and Materials on Corporations, 7th ed.
  • 2004 (with Klein). Business Organization and Finance: Legal and Economic Principles, 9th ed.
  • 1988 (with Lowenstein and Rose-Ackerman). Knights, Raiders and Targets: The Impact of the Hostile Takeover.