J. Donald Cowan, Jr. (Emeritus)
Don Cowan is a highly regarded and unusually diverse trial lawyer who practices in the area of litigation with a special emphasis on commercial cases, intellectual property, products liability and medical products. His experience includes a wide variety of jury cases in state and federal courts in North Carolina and other jurisdictions.
A past president of the North Carolina Bar Association, Mr. Cowan is currently an Adjunct Professor of Trial Practice at Duke University School of Law. He also currently serves on the Criminal Justice Act panel for the Middle District of North Carolina, is regularly appointed as trial counsel, and has recently concluded a federal death penalty case. In addition, Mr. Cowan regularly lectures to North Carolina state trial judges on trial practice and evidence. He presented a seminar paper to the American College of Trial Lawyers annual meeting on Daubert and Federal Rule of Evidence 702 issues, lectures annually to North Carolina Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers on recent federal cases involving federal procedure and evidence, and has presented a focus group mock trial of a product liability case at annual meetings of both the Defense Research Institute and the Product Liability Advisory Council.
Mr. Cowan is a former member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates and was president of Legal Services of North Carolina. The North Carolina Bar Association’s Litigation Section honored Mr. Cowan as the second recipient of the prestigious Advocate’s Award, which was created to recognize “superstars” of the Litigation Section and legal profession. He was named Best Lawyers’ 2012 Bet-The-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year and Appellate Practice Lawyer of the Year. Best Lawyers’ also named Cowan 2009 Greensboro Product Liability Litigator of the Year. He was named to the Super Lawyers list for 2009 and 2012 for outstanding achievement in his practice areas by Law & Politics, which publishes the annual North Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine.
Mr. Cowan was named a Litigation Star in the 2009 edition of Benchmark Litigation for cases involving intellectual property, products liability, and medical products and for his defense of Fortune 500 companies in antitrust and class action claims.
Mr. Cowan has represented Fortune 500 companies in class action, antitrust cases, while at the same time representing criminal defendants charged with capital crimes. Mr. Cowan has tried a wide variety of cases in state and federal courts including:
Trials to a jury verdict cases
Medical device and pharmaceutical products cases
National trial and coordinating counsel, Panacryl Suture multi-district litigation; trial counsel for Sofamor Danek in multi-district litigation cases involving back screws; trial counsel for Medeva and Fisons Pharmaceutical in fen/phen multi-district litigation cases; trial counsel for Sulzer Orthopedics in hip implant litigation; trial counsel for Wyeth in thimerosal-containing-vaccine litigation.
Trial and appellate counsel for Pinehurst Resorts, Resorts of Pinehurst, Inc. v. Pinehurst National Corp., 238 F. 3d 414 (4th Cir. 2000) (Text in 2000 WL 1690286) and Resorts of Pinehurst v. Pinehurst National Corp., 148 F. 3d 417 (4th Cir. 1998)
Trial counsel for major tobacco manufacturer, DeLoach v. Phillip Morris, 206 F.R.D. 551 (M.D.N.C. 2001)
Mr. Cowan has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University (B.A., 1965) and obtained his J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law (1968). He has served multiple terms on the Wake Forest University Board of Trustees and as president of the Wake Forest Law Alumni Association. Mr. Cowan has received numerous additional honors including:
Mr. Cowan has a peer review rating of AV in Martindale-Hubbell.
Professional associations and memberships