John E. Coons received his B.A. in history at the University of Minnesota, Duluth and graduated from Northwestern Law School, where he was Order of the Coif and managing editor of the Law Review. After practicing before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, he returned to Northwestern, where he taught for 12 years. He joined the Boalt faculty in 1968.
Coons has been a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo and Arizona State University College of Law. With Boalt colleague Stephen Sugarman, he has co-authored several books, including Private Wealth and Public Education (1970), Education by Choice (1978), Scholarships for Children (1992), and, most recently, Making School Choice Work for all Families (1999). He has also published By Nature Equal: The Anatomy of a Western Insight (with Brennan, 1999).