Coleman Hicks was born in Columbus, Ohio and raised in Mason City, Iowa. Hicks was educated at Princeton University, receiving his B.A. in 1965. Bill Bradley, whom Hicks had met at a conference of high school students involved with student government, was one of Hicks' roommates at Princeton. After Princeton, Hicks enrolled at Yale Law School, graduating in 1968.
In 1969, Hicks joined the Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Navy. In summer 1971, he was posted as an instructor at the Naval Justice School in Newport, Rhode Island, but he left this position after only a few weeks when he became personal assistant to National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. (He was recommended by Kissinger's previous personal assistant, David Halperin, who was a friend of Hicks' from the Navy.)
In June 1972, a week before the second of the Watergate burglaries, Hicks left his post as Kissinger's personal assistant to join the law firm of Covington & Burling. There, he was a general litigator and participated in a wide variety of cases.
After leaving government service in 1981, Hicks returned to Covington & Burling, where he practiced law for the next fourteen years. One of the highlights of his legal career came in 1987, when he wrote the winning brief in the case of Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (484 U.S. 260 (1988)).
In 1995, at the start of the dot-com bubble, Hicks left Covington & Burling, relocating to Waltham, Massachusetts and joining Oak Industries, a company founded by a friend from the Navy Office of General Counsel, William Antle III, that provided broadband networks, frequency control devices and fiber-optic components to the telecommunications industry. He served as Oak Industries' General Counsel, and later as Chief Financial Officer. Oak Industries was acquired by Corning Industries in 2000.
- Joe Holley, "Coleman Hicks, 61; Lawyer, Executive", Washington Post, Aug. 6, 2004, p. B06
- Obituary in Princeton Alumni Weekly
Togo D. West, Jr.
|General Counsel of the Navy
May 25, 1979 – January 13, 1981
Walter T. Skallerup, Jr.