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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. 

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. 

Awards and Honors

  • The Best Lawyers in America ®, Antitrust, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Mass Tort Litigation, Personal Injury Litigation, and Product Liability Litigation (1994-2014)
    • Greensboro Product Liability "Lawyer of the Year" (2009)
    • Greensboro Appellate Practice "Lawyer of the Year" (2012)
    • Greensboro Bet-the-Company Litigation "Lawyer of the Year" (2012)
  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business®, "Leader in the Field" for Commercial Litigation (2005-2012)
  • Benchmark Litigation, "Local Litigation Star" (2009-2014)
  • Appointed by North Carolina Governor Mike Easley to the State Judicial Council
  • North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys’ 2006 Award for Professional Excellence for being “truly outstanding in exemplifying sustained, excellent service to defendants, to the Bar, and to the community”
  •  Business North Carolina’s "Legal Elite," Patent Law, Antitrust, Litigation (2003-2014)
    • Hall of Fame in (2010) Named to Legal Elite for patents, 2003; antitrust, 2004-2009; and litigation, 2004-2006, 2008; also named Legal Elite top litigation attorney for 2009
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine, Business Litigation (2006-2013)
    • “Top 10” Lttorneys in North Carolina in 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2011
  • 2008 Greensboro Bar Association Pro Bono Award for representation of five death penalty cases
  • Peer Review Rating of AV® in Martindale-Hubbell

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • North Carolina Bar Association (1968-present)
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow and former member of Board of Regents
  • Product Liability Advisory Council
  • The American Law Institute
  • North Carolina Bar Association, Past President
  • American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, Fellow
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Permanent Member, Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference
  • Chief Justice Joseph Branch Inn of Court


  • North Carolina, 1968