Michael Coard, Esquire
Michael Coard, a criminal defense attorney with more than 25 years of state and federal trial experience, specializes in murder cases and worked at the Charles W. Bowser Law Center after serving as Legal Counsel for State Senator Hardy Williams.
A graduate of Cheyney University, Coard received his law degree from Ohio State University (OSU). Among his service to the community while at OSU, Coard served as the as president of the Black Law Students Association; as well as led the activism that helped compelled OSU the largest university in America to divest all of its funds from companies doing business with or in apartheid governed South Africa.
Currently an adjunct professor in the African Studies Department at Temple University and volunteer instructor of Criminal Justice in the university’s Pan African Studies Program, Coard is certified by the Court of Common Pleas to represent indigent defendants in death penalty cases; served as local co-counsel for the historic Mumia Abu-Jamal case, whose death sentence was vacated. Moreover, nearly half of his criminal cases in general are pro bono. Coard is a recipient of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s prestigious Thurgood Marshall Award as well as both the NAACP’s and the Barristers Association’s prestigious Cecil B. Moore Award. He is a past recipient of Cheyney University Alumni Association’s Martin Luther King Jr. Spirit Award.
As a community activist, he is a founding member of Avenging the Ancestors Coalition (ATAC). ATAC is the organization that helped lead the historic and successful battle to force the federal government to agree to commemorate the African descendants enslaved by President George Washington at America’s first “White House,” which was located at the current site of the new Liberty Bell Center. And as a member of the Friends of Bethel Burying Ground, he is working with activists to have that South Philadelphia cemetery-where the remains of more than 8,000 African-Americans from the 1800's are desecrated under a trash dump and city playground- officially memorialized.
He has served as a Pennsylvania board member of the ACLU, the Philadelphia chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and as a member of the Occupy Philadelphia Legal Defense Team and the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
A founding member of Judging The Judges as well as “F(ilm) The Police.” Coard serves as one of the attorneys for Heeding Cheyney’s Call (a coalition of Cheyney University supporters who are using the federal courts in a major civil rights battle to compel the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to end its decades-long racial discrimination against the oldest African-American institution of higher learning in America). Finally, Coard hosts the “Radio Courtroom” show on WURD 96.1-FM and the “TV Courtroom” show on Comcast/Verizon. He also writes columns for the Philadelphia Tribune (the oldest continuous Black newspaper in America) and the Philadelphia Magazine.
- “Avenging Our Enslaved Ancestors & Honoring Our Ancient Ancestors”