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Shannen Wayne Coffin[1] (born September 19, 1969)[2] is an American attorney for the Washington, D.C. law firm Steptoe & Johnson LLP who until early November 2007[3] served as general counsel to American Vice President Dick Cheney.[4][5] Coffin was previously at the Department of Justice, where he served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Division. In that position, Coffin was responsible for oversight of the Federal Programs Branch, a component of the Civil Division that defends the federal government in a diverse array of lawsuits, including the defense of constitutional challenges to federal statutes and agency programs, civil anti-terrorism litigation, and disputes involving access to Executive Branch information.

Prior to joining the Justice Department, Coffin had worked for Steptoe & Johnson in its Supreme Court and appellate practice. He clerked for Judge David B. Sentelle on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in the 1994-1995 term.

Coffin came to national attention when his correspondence with U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont surfaced in regard to the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy that became public in August 2007.[5]

Coffin is married to Casey Coffin and has written articles for National Review's website[6] and publications for the Federalist Society.[7]

He grew up in Springhill in northernmost Webster Parish, Louisiana.


  1. ^ Texas, Select County Marriage Records, 1837-2015
  2. ^ "Shannen W. Coffin". Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  3. ^ "Cheney Lawyer Leaving". U.S. News and World Report. 2007-11-02. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  4. ^, 30 January 2006: Alito's 'Murder Board' a Mix of the Legal Elite.
  5. ^ a b Time, 21 August 2007: Officials admit having wiretap papers.,8599,1654515,00.html
  6. ^ National Review, 2 May 2005. "Don Presidente"
  7. ^ "An Examination of Cheney vs. U.S. District Court". Federalist Society. 1 June 2004. Archived from the original on 2007-10-13. Retrieved 2007-08-21.

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