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Oklahoma Legal Oral History

Interviews with Oklahoma Legal Professionals

Biography

Andrew M. Coats is the director of Crowe and Dunlevy's Oklahoma City office. At the time of his interview he was the Dean of the University of Oklahoma's College of Law. He served in the Navy before graduating from the University of Oklahoma's College of Law in 1963. He successfully argued before the Supreme Court for the Universities of Oklahoma and Georgia in their landmark case against the National Collegiate Athletic Association which broke the college football TV monopoly. He has also served as the Mayor of Oklahoma City and District Attorney for Oklahoma County. He was named the “Outstanding Lawyer in Oklahoma” in 1977, is a fellow at the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, an Oklahoma Fellow of the American Bar Association, a trustee to the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society, and was the President of the Oklahoma Bar Association in 1992-1993.

If a researcher wishes to use the information gathered in this interview for uses other than educational or scholarly uses, they may do so without further permission from the interview subject. 

Audio

Below is a short selection of the interview with Andrew M. Coats. You can listen to the full interview by visiting the Chickasaw Nation Law Library at Oklahoma City University School of Law.

Transcript

Below is an excerpt from Mr. Coat's interview and a link to download the full transcript.

KEK:  Well, yeah and it changed, like you said, the whole landscape of this whole area. Now, did you do the arguments in front of the Supreme Court?

AMC:  I did.  And it was interesting because I was Mayor of Oklahoma City at the time and the Chief Justice, when you address the court you say, “Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the court.”  But when he introduced me, Warren Burger, because they also call the Mayor “Your Honor,” he said, “You may speak Your Honor,” which I thought was really interesting.

KEK:  That is. 

AMC:  And he had a big twinkle in his eye when he said that because they had never done that before.  As far as I know that is unique.

KEK:  How interesting.  What was that like for you, I mean, not only were you the Mayor of Oklahoma City but you were going to argue before the Supreme Court on this case, what…..?

AMC:  Well, it was really, really, interesting.  And what I did among other things again, bearing on the preparation I spoke of earlier, I’d been through this case and lived with it for a year and a half or two years by that time and even so, I locked myself in a hotel room in Washington for two weeks before that argument.  I had two of my partners who worked with me on the case who were truly extraordinarily able lawyers, they got together and spent time together and then they came and they moot-courted me for two or three days.  They asked me every question anybody could think of about these cases.  We read and went through every case that we thought might have any possible bearing on it.  I mean mostly you’re dealing with Supreme Court cases but there had been a lot of antitrust cases over the years so you had to really understand that.  But then cases in the courts of appeals around the country which might have some impact, so we did that.  We really prepared well for it and so when it came time to do it, when you’re as well-prepared as we were, I wasn’t in as much fear...We did employ Dean Herman Griswold. Dean Griswold had been Dean of the Harvard Law School and he had also been Solicitor General of the United States which is certainly one of the best jobs in the world, regularly appears in front of the Supreme Court and they wear a frocked coat, striped pants, and they represent the United States’ interests in any case in front of the Supreme Court. He had been Solicitor General and he worked with me in helping to prepare me. He read the briefs and helped prepare me for the argument and sat with us in the Supreme Court for the arguments.  And I think again, one of the other great compliments I got in my life was that after the arguments, we were walking out of the courtroom, the old gentleman that was ahead of me and he walks about halfway out and stops like he had been thinking about it, and turns around and says, “You know, that wasn’t too bad.”  He didn’t say it was good, but he said it wasn’t too bad.  I don’t know what he expected but the arguments did go well and I think that that helped with the results. 

Catalog Record

800 N. Harvey Oklahoma City, OK 73102 405.208.5271