GREENSBORO - J. Donald Cowan, a senior partner with Smith Moore LLP, has received the 2008 Pro Bono Award from the Greensboro Bar Association. The award was based on Cowan's pro bono representation of defendants in five separate capital cases in North Carolina, including his work in the highly publicized Willie Brown case. Cowan was appointed to represent Brown in 1987, following Brown's conviction for armed robbery and murder. Over a 19-year period, Cowan presented evidence at numerous hearings in North Carolina Superior Courts and United States District Court and argued two separate appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Brown's behalf. Brown's case was one of the first cases to challenge North Carolina's use of lethal injection in executions, an issue now being argued in the United States Supreme Court.
"Don's work on the Willie Brown Case exemplifies the very best our profession has to offer," said Jim Exum, former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. "He did all in his professional power to win for his client a trial free from reversible error on the part of the court system."
A past president of the North Carolina Bar Association, Cowan serves as an Adjunct Professor of Trial Practice at Duke University School of Law, and is a Fellow and Regent of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Cowan is an alumnus of Wake Forest University and the Wake Forest University School of Law where he also serves on the Board of Trustees.
Contact: Steve Powell
For Smith Moore LLP