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Coleman Cowan

Coleman is a fearless advocate who helps whistleblowers tell their stories and fight for justice.

Attorney and Emmy award-winning 60 Minutes producer Coleman Cowan began practicing law nearly three decades ago. He spent ten years as a trial attorney, winning significant results for his clients,1 before his career path led him away from North Carolina courtrooms and into war zones, jungles, and mountaintops across the world. For the next decade, Coleman worked as a producer for 60 Minutes, traveling the world reporting and producing stories on war, politics, economics, and sports. The narratives he crafted of ordinary people facing extraordinary challenges won him multiple Emmy, Gracie, Murrow, Peabody, and Polk awards for broadcast journalism.

With a decade of adventure behind him, Coleman returned to his work as a trial lawyer in North Carolina, applying the same reporting and storytelling skills he developed at 60 Minutes to tell his clients’ stories.

“People often ask me why I would leave a successful career producing news stories from around the world. The answer is simple. I was at ‘60 Minutes’ for 10 years and had a lifetime of adventure during that time. But I wanted to get back to North Carolina, and back to the courtroom. I wanted to tell people’s stories and help decide right from wrong in a courtroom in front of a jury. I’ve been fortunate to have two interesting careers, which I’ve learned have many similarities. Being an effective trial lawyer is really about taking a complex body of information and turning it into a compelling story, which is exactly what I was doing at ‘60 Minutes.’ The only difference is my audience used to be millions of people around the world. Now, it’s 12 men and women on a jury.”

Results-driven and competitive

Like Coleman’s work in investigative journalism, whistleblowing cases require painstakingly detailed investigations to uncover wrongdoing and develop the evidence needed to present a False Claims Act case to the Department of Justice. Coleman uses his investigative skills and compelling story-telling aptitude to litigate complex, high stakes, multimillion dollar cases. In 2002, Business North Carolina Magazine recognized his legal accomplishments, naming him to their “Legal Elite”6 list for litigation.

A competitor by nature, Coleman has often taken his search for a challenge one step further by competing in dozens of triathlons, marathons, and ultramarathons, including Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, The North Face Endurance Challenge Series 50-mile race, Badwater Cape Fear, and multiple Ironman triathlons.

Returning to his roots

Coleman earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a J.D. with honors from Wake Forest University School of Law, where he was on the law review and won awards for Most Outstanding Advocate and Best Oralist. After 10 years as a litigator, Coleman left North Carolina to obtain a Master’s in Journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was a member of the inaugural Stabile Investigative Journalism Program at Columbia, graduating with honors.

After spending several highly-accomplished years as a documentary news producer in New York, Coleman returned to North Carolina in 2018 and uses his investigative and legal skills to help his whistleblower clients seek justice.

In addition to his work as a trial lawyer, Coleman is also an American Bar Foundation Fellow,5 North Carolina Middle District Civil Rules Committee member, and vice-chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Professional Vitality Committee. He is often asked to share his knowledge and experience in continuing legal education seminars and other speaking engagements.

5For information regarding the American Bar Foundation’s 1% of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction, visit
6For more information regarding the standards for inclusion for Business North Carolina’s “Legal Elite” list, visit

Licensed In

North Carolina


Wake Forest University School of Law

Winston-Salem, NC
1995 J.D., cum laude

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

New York, NY
2007 M.S., cum laude

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC
1992 B.A. in Economics

Admitted to Practice

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina

U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina


Public Justice Foundation

Taxpayers Against Fraud

National Association of Consumer Advocates

North Carolina Advocates for Justice

North Carolina Bar Association

North Carolina Middle District Civil Rules Committee


American Bar Foundation, Fellow5

Business North Carolina’s “Legal Elite”6 list, 2002

Emmy for News and Documentary, “Imminent Danger,” 2013

Edward R. Murrow, “Stuxnet,” 2013 and “Amazon Crude,” 2010

Gracie, “Kathryn Bigelow,” 2011

Sigma Delta Chi, “Amazon Crude,” 2010

George Polk, “The Price of Oil,” 2010

Emmy for Business, “The Chairman,” 2009

Peabody Award, “60 Minutes: Lifeline,” 2009

Publications & Speaking Engagements

“Hardwired: What Our Experiences Can Teach Us About Managing Stress and Anxiety” CLE, Keynote Speaker, 2022

Litigating Landmines CLE, Speaker, “Being Prepared for the Charge” Conference, 2021

NC Family Law CLE, Speaker, 60 Minutes with Coleman Cowan, 2019

Sue C. McNeil v. Wyeth, 462 F.3d 364 (5th Cir.), 2006

North Carolina Bar Association Pre-Trial Practice Seminar, Speaker, Admission of Expert Witness Testimony under the Federal Rules of Evidence, July 2004

North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers Annual Product Liability Meeting, Speaker, Pharmaceutical Products Liability, May 2004

North Carolina Bar Association Evidence Seminar, Course Planner, Dec. 2003

North Carolina Bar Association Evidence Seminar, Course Planner, Dec. 2001

Alex. H. Thompson v. Michael S. Waters et al., 351 N.C. 462, 526 S.E.2d 650, 2000

Anthony Lambert, Sr. v. Brenda G. Williams et al., 223 F.3d 257 (4th Cir.), 2000

Community/Civic Activities

Board of Directors, The Free Indeed Project of Charlotte

NationSwell Council

Contact the Carolina
Whistleblower Attorneys

If you’re wondering if it’s a good idea to speak with a whistleblower lawyer about what you know, let us set the record straight.

  • Corporate ethics hotlines can be risky and may lead to termination. If you’ve already done this, call us immediately.
  • Your coworkers could be aware of the fraud – or complicit in it – and you should not talk to them about it.
  • The first claim to be filed under the False Claims Act can proceed – if you’re not first, you’re at a serious disadvantage and may get nothing (another reason not to speak to your coworkers about it).
  • A confidential discussion costs you a few minutes, but could save you time, stress, and money.


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