Shannen Coffin chairs Steptoe's Appeals and Advocacy practice. He frequently represents regulated businesses in trial and appellate courts in matters involving constitutional and administrative law challenges to government regulatory action. His practice spans a wide range of legal subject matters, including First Amendment free speech (e.g., libel and commercial speech), the Administrative Procedure Act, federal preemption, state sovereign immunity, commercial and insurance law, and tribal jurisdiction.
He has represented clients in numerous regulated industries, including energy, financial services, retail, insurance, and defense. In testimonials published in The Legal 500 US for commercial disputes, people familiar with his work praise Shannen as "outstanding," "extremely smart," and "a joy to work with." One commentator observes that Shannen "just doesn't think outside the box, [he thinks] outside the building."
Shannen’s practice draws on his significant experience as a former senior attorney in the federal government. He served as counsel to Vice President Cheney in the Office of the Vice President of the United States. There, he provided legal advice to the vice president and his staff on constitutional, regulatory, national security and related policy issues, coordinated OVP's response to congressional investigations and litigation, and represented OVP in the inter–agency process with respect to federal regulations and legislation.
Shannen also served as deputy assistant attorney general in the US Justice Department’s Civil Division, where he was responsible for overseeing and coordinating trial litigation on behalf of the federal government for constitutional challenges to federal statutes, statutory and constitutional challenges to agency programs, and defense of national security and anti-terrorism programs. He argued numerous significant litigation matters for the federal government in both trial courts and courts of appeals, including constitutional challenges to presidential action, disputes over access to government information and an intervention by the federal government into a major labor dispute.
- District of Columbia
- Supreme Court of the United States
- US District Court, District of Columbia
- US Court of Appeals, First Circuit
- US Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
- US Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
- US Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
- US Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
- US Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
- US Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
- US Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
- US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- US Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
- US Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
- US Court of Appeals, District of Columbia
- US Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
- Hon. David B. Sentelle, US Court of Appeals, District of Columbia, 1994–1995
- J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 1994, summa cum laude; Associate Editor, Georgetown University Law Journal; Order of the Coif
- B.B.A., Loyola University, New Orleans, 1991, summa cum laude; Beta Gamma Sigma; Beta Alpha Psi, Accounting and Finance
Represented educational policy associations as amici curiae in the US Supreme Court in Department of Transportation v. Association of American Railroads, challenging as unconstitutional delegation of legislative rulemaking power to Amtrak.
Won Federal Power Act preemption challenges to state price subsidy scheme on behalf of electric energy generator; affirmed by Supreme Court in Hughes v. Talen Energy Marketing.
Won a challenge to jurisdiction of Blackfeet Tribal Court in Town Pump Inc. v. LaPlante, adjudicating personal injury claims against non-Indian business operating on the reservation.
Represented US merchant community in TCF Bank v. Bernanke and NACS v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, successfully defending constitutionality of Dodd-Frank Act provisions regulating debit card swipe fees and separately challenging Federal Reserve Board’s implementing regulations.
Successfully defended insurance company against policyholder’s appeal of dismissal of claim based on alleged employee forgery under commercial crime policy in Tesoro Refining and Marketing Company, L.L.C. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh.
"The Great Crypto Transition: FinCEN, Gamestop, The States & More," Chamber of Digital Commerce, February 25, 2021
"Virtual Currencies and the Rule of Law," The Federalist Society, February 5, 2021
"The State of Consumer Financial Regulation," FiSCA 2018 Annual Conference, October 4, 2018
"The United States Vice-Presidency: In History, Practice, and the Future," Pepperdine University School of Law, April 1, 2016
News & Publications
September 7, 2021
July 19, 2021
October 30, 2020
October 6, 2020
September 15, 2020
September 3, 2020
August 26, 2020
Legal 500 US, Dispute Resolution: General Commercial Disputes (2020)
- Am Law Litigation Daily, Litigator of the Week (August 1, 2013)
- Legal 500 US, Energy: Litigation (2013)
- Counsel to the Vice President of the United States (2005–2007)
- Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Federal Programs Branch, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice (2002–2004)