Attorney Profile

Trial Experience That Is "Second to None"

Attorney David Coombs is an Army-only military defense counsel who, during his active duty career as a Judge Advocate, became widely recognized as one of the best trial attorneys in the U.S. Army.  Mr. Coombs is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves.  He has held nearly every position that you can hold as a trial advocate in the United States Army:   


  • Trial Counsel
  • Senior Trial Counsel
  • Acting Chief of Military Justice
  • Defense Counsel
  • Senior Defense Counsel
  • Capital Defense Counsel
  • Senior Capital Defense Counsel
  • Professor of Criminal Law and Evidence
  • Judicial Advisor for the Iraqi Central Criminal Court, Baghdad, Iraq
  • Certified Military Judge

Over more than a decade in the JAG Corps, Mr. Coombs built a reputation as a skilled and formidable trial lawyer.  He is respected by his colleagues in the JAG Corps, the judges before whom he appears, fellow defense attorneys, and law enforcement.  Here is what senior officers in the JAG Corps had to say about Mr. Coombs:

"superb trial lawyer, he is the most technically proficient and most successful in the courtroom."

"he has the ability to produce remarkable results where few other counsel could even tread water."

"he works his cases hard, thinks through every detail, uses innovation, and prepares every case as if it were the case of the century."

"One of the Army's strongest trial advocates.  Best trial attorney on this installation, his courtroom victories are legendary."

"his courtroom skills are second to none in the JAG Corps."

"Outstanding performance by perhaps the best trial defense counsel in the army"

"each time he took hopeless facts and by meticulous preparation and case-shaping motions practice yielded unbelievably favorable results for soldiers."

"he defines excellence, and his early nomination and certification to be a military judge is the truest testament to the JAG Corps' trust in his phenomenal abilities and potential."

"he represents the best of the JAG Corps in every endeavor he undertakes, he simply embodies the soldier-lawyer ideal."

In short, Mr. Coombs' trial experience and reputation is unsurpassed in the military law community.  His experience is experience you can trust.

Wide-Ranging Criminal Law Experience All Over The World

As a defense attorney, Mr. Coombs has represented several hundred clients facing various forms of disciplinary actions ranging from general courts-martial to non-judicial punishment and administrative actions, including:

  • Murder, attempted murder, negligent homicide, manslaughter
  • Rape, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated assault, child pornography
  • Drug conspiracy, possession, and distribution, positive urinalysis
  • Robbery, forgery, larceny, fraud, false official statements
  • AWOL, missing movement, desertion, failure to repair
  • Disrespect, failure to obey, drunk on duty
  • Conduct unbecoming an officer, fraternization, adultery

Through his aggressive representation, he has obtained numerous acquittals, grants of clemency, and outright dismissal of charges. 

From 2003 until 2005, Mr. Coombs also handled what one senior officer called "the toughest, most demanding criminal case that the Army has had in decades,"  United States v. Akbar.  The case was subject to extensive media coverage and Mr. Coombs was repeatedly quoted in such prominent media outlets as The New York Times, USA Today, Fox News, CNN and Army Times.

Mr. Coombs will travel anywhere to defend members of the United States Army.  He has represented members all across the United States and around the world: Aberdeen Proving Ground, Fort Belvoir, Fort Benning, Fort Bliss, Fort Bragg, Fort Campbell, Fort Carson, Fort Drum, Fort Eustis, Fort Hood, Fort Irwin National Training Center, Fort Lee, Fort Lewis, Fort Meade, Fort Monroe, Fort Riley, Fort Sam Houston, Fort Shafter, Fort Sill, Fort Stewart, Fort Story, Grafenwoehr Depot, Heidelberg, Kaiserslautern, Military District of Washington, U.S. Military Academy, Vicenza, Kuwait, Bosnia and Iraq.

Specialist in Criminal Law, Evidence, and Trial Advocacy

Not only has Mr. Coombs successfully defended hundreds of cases, he is also highly regarded as a specialist in criminal law, evidence and trial advocacy.  During his tenure as a Professor of Law at the Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Virginia, Mr. Coombs taught over 2,000 resident and non-resident students comprised of attorneys from all services, military judges, foreign exchange officers and senior Army commanders.  In fact, he probably taught either the prosecutor who will be trying your case, the detailed defense counsel assigned to you, or the military judge who will be presiding over the court-martial!  In his reserve capacity, Mr. Coombs will continue to be associated with the Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School, where he will teach courses in criminal law, evidence and trial advocacy during the year. 

Mr. Coombs is a frequently sought-after speaker at national and international trial advocacy seminars.  He has presented at the National Judicial College (Reno, Nevada), the Army Continuing Legal Education Conference (Weinheim, Germany), the Appellate Military Judge's Conference (Washington, D.C.), the Multi-Region Army Trial Defense Service Conference (Washington, D.C.), the Military Judges Conference (Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama) and the Congressional Legislative Liaison Conference (Charlottesville, Virginia).

In addition, Mr. Coombs has published several academic articles and practice manuals related to trial advocacy and criminal justice, including: "United States v. Blazier: So Exactly Who Needs an Invitation to the Dance", The Army Lawyer, July 2010; "Pass Go, Collect $200.00, and Hire Yourself an Expert - Article 46 and the Right to Expert Assistance", The Army Lawyer, June 2008; "Uncharged Misconduct - The Edge is Never Dull", The Army Lawyer, May 2007; Dictionary of Common Evidentiary Issues, The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School (TJAGLCS), (author) 2007, 2008; Advanced Evidence Deskbook, TJAGLCS (author) 2006 - 2008.

Mr. Coombs is also an adjunct law professor of Trial Advocacy at Roger Williams School of Law in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Education and Bar Admissions

Mr. Coombs has his Master of Laws (LL.M.), with a specialization in Criminal Law from the Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School.  He received both his Juris Doctor (J.D.) and his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) from the University of Idaho, where he was a member of the Dean's List.

Mr. Coombs is admitted to practice before the following bars:

  • The United States Supreme Court 
  • The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces  
  • The Army Court of Criminal Appeals
  • California
  • District of Columbia  
  • Massachusetts

A Client-Directed Practice

Mr. Coombs is committed to his client-soldiers.  He has chosen a client-directed practice which allows him to focus personally on the individual needs of each of his client-soldiers.  He listens to your needs and works directly with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. 

A common complaint about lawyers is that they are not responsive to clients.  You will not have this problem with Mr. Coombs.  Mr. Coombs will return your telephone calls and emails promptly.  The only exception to this is if Mr. Coombs is in trial, in which case, he will respond to you by the end of the day.  You will appreciate this focus and intensity if he happens to be in trial on your case.

When it comes to your freedom and your future, you deserve the very best representation.  Let Mr. Coombs' stellar reputation and institutional knowledge work to your benefit.

More Information

For more information about Mr. Coombs, please feel free to ask him about his background, or click to see his complete resume.