“I love the dynamics of different families and figuring out how to implement those dynamics so that the family structure is still successful.”

Tracey Coates


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Tracey Coates is Co-Chair of the firm's Family Law department and a member of its Litigation practice group. In working in the former capacity, she handles a variety of domestic relations matters, including pre-marital agreements, divorce and separation, child custody, child support modification, enforcement of court orders and agreements, adoption, and guardianships. Her clients include all types of individuals and couples, in a wide range of family structures.

Tracey works hard to engage in background conversations with her clients to understand family dynamics and build rapport and trust. She goes into every case with a caring, but realistic approach with her clients. She is often touted for being accessible to her clients, understanding how important it is to respond to clients when emotions are heightened.

Prior to joining Paley Rothman, Tracey spent three years as an associate with Wendy H. Schwartz and Associates. She was previously a clerk for then-Chief Presiding Judge John S. Leonardo of the Pima County (Ariz.) Superior Court and worked as a Staff Attorney for the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau in Baltimore.

Tracey is a member of several bar associations, including the American Bar Association, D.C. Bar Association, Maryland Bar Association and Montgomery County Bar Association. In 2013, she was selected to participate in the inaugural Leadership Development Academy program for the Montgomery County Bar Association. The Leadership Development Academy was created to develop young lawyers into bar leaders and to encourage them to be more involved not only in the legal community, but in the Montgomery County community, by providing services and programs that will enrich the community.

In addition to her bar memberships, Tracey has a mediation training certificate for completing 40 hours of coursework. Outside of her billable work, Tracey volunteers and is a member of the Board of Directors for the D.C. Volunteer Lawyers Project (DCVLP), an organization whose mission is to provide high-quality, free legal services to low-income D.C. residents in family law cases. She provides pro bono legal representation, doing custody, divorce and guardian ad litem work for survivors of domestic violence and children in high-conflict custody cases.

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Bar Admissions
  • Maryland

  • District of Columbia

  • J.D., Hamline University School of Law
         - Member, National Moot Court Team
         - Law Clerk Grant Recipient, Maryland Legal Aid Bureau
         - President, Black Law Students Association

  • B.A., Smith College

  • Mediation Training
         - Certificate of Completion of 40-Hour Basic Mediation Training (2009)
         - Certificate of Completion of Custody Mediation Training (2015)

Accolades & Awards
  • Best Lawyers in America - Best Lawyers (2021-2022)
         - Family Law

  • "Top Divorce Lawyers," - Washingtonian magazine (2019)

  • "Top Attorneys," Bethesda Magazine ​(2019)
         - Family/Divorce

  • "Top Lawyers" - Washingtonian magazine (2018, 2020)

  • Maryland Super Lawyers "Rising Stars" (2013-2016)

  • Washington D.C. Super Lawyers "Rising Stars" (2013-2016)

Civic & Community Involvement
  • Bar Association of Montgomery County, MD - Executive Committee Member

  • Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland - Peer Review Committee

  • Maryland State Bar Association - Judicial Appointments Committee

  • D.C. Volunteer Lawyers Project - Board of Directors, Volunteer

  • Bar Association of Montgomery County
         - Member, Family Law Section
         - Member, Leadership Development Academy

  • American Bar Association - Member, Family Law and Young Lawyers Sections

  • Women’s Bar Association of D.C. - Member

  • Women Empowered Against Violence (WEAVE) - Past Volunteer

  • Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School - Past Mentor

  • The House of Ruth - Past Volunteer

  • Virginia Juvenile Court System - Past Court Appointed Special Advocate

  • Hamline University School of Law - Past Alumni Board Member

  • Smith College Club of Washington, D.C. - Past Secretary, Executive Board

Speeches & Presentations
Media Commentary
The Divorce Chronicles Podcast