Legal Reads: A book review of "Just Pursuit"

  • March 27, 2023
  • Matilda Lici

“The pursuit of justice creates injustice.”cover image of Just Pursuit

Thus opens the memoir of Laura Coates, a Black former federal prosecutor in the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice during the Bush and Obama years. Coates specialized in the enforcement of voting rights legislation, and later transitioned to prosecuting violent felony offenses, including child abuse, sexual assault and gun crimes. She traces the trajectory of her career at the Department of Justice through a series of vignettes—point-in-time snapshots capturing moments inside and outside of the courtroom with victims, offenders, colleagues and judges. Through these vignettes, she peels back the curtain to expose the inner workings of the criminal justice system, and lays bare the ways in which a system ostensibly set up to secure justice often fails those who become wrapped up in it, be they victims or offenders.