Cowan Law Group & Construction Law Group in Orange County
Joe Cowan founded the Cowan Law Group over 20 years ago. The following are some questions and answers that discuss his unique qualities and why so many individuals and businesses trust the Cowan Law Group with their legal and business needs.
Q. Why did you become a lawyer?
A. I’m the youngest of six kids raised by a single mother. We didn’t have much money, so I started working in the construction industry at a very young age. In fact, I started a construction business when I was 17 years old, and that company became one of the largest site construction companies in California. The construction industry involves a huge number of legal issues in a wide variety of areas. I always found the legal issues fascinating and believed that a solid understanding of the law and ability to resolve complex issues is a huge advantage in business.
Q. What inspired you to found the Cowan Law Group?
A. When I originally went to law school, I intended to use my legal training to help me with the construction business I started. However, I found I have a real passion for helping individuals and small to medium-sized companies resolve their legal and business problems in ways that make good business sense.
Q. How is the Cowan Law Group different from other law firms?
A. There are far too many firms that provide minimal value to their clients, and many that create more problems than they resolve. In many instances, the attorneys are good, smart people, but they don’t have the background or business savvy necessary to provide truly strategic, cost-effective legal solutions to their clients. This is a real problem because a good attorney who understands not just the legal issues, but also his client’s business challenges and objectives, is a tremendous resource and strategic advantage. With that in mind, I created the Cowan Law Group, whose mission is to provide smart, creative, and practical legal services.
Q. What makes you a good lawyer and advisor?
A. I have benefitted greatly from a first class college and legal education. What I believe is even more important, however, is my life experience. Starting at a very young age, I had to overcome many challenges both personally and professionally. As a lawyer and advisor, these experiences have been invaluable because, through them, I have developed an ability to look at problems and challenges and know how to navigate through them in ways that are smart and effective.
But what is most telling is what my clients say. Over the course of my legal career, I have successfully resolved over $700 million of legal disputes in many different areas, including general business, real estate, construction, employment, and trade secret litigation, and I have handled a large number of business transactions. My clients often tell me that I provide counseling that is practical and mindful of business priorities, and that I handle legal issues in ways that make good business sense. I’m very proud of this feedback, and I’m very lucky to have so many truly terrific clients.
Q. Given your business background, do you focus on construction law?
A. I have many clients that are in the construction industry, and my background gives me some obvious advantages in that area. However, my overall experience is very broad and encompasses most aspects of business, so I’m able to practice effectively in many different areas and industries. In addition to the construction industry, I also have a large number of clients in areas, such as the finance, medical, manufacturing, marketing, engineering, architecture, restaurant and technology industries.
Q. Where did you go to college and law school?
A. I went to college at UC Berkeley and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in both history and rhetoric in 1988. I found Berkeley incredibly stimulating and am very proud that I graduated with high honors, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and made the Dean’s List every semester despite working several jobs to pay my own way.
For law school, I was extremely fortunate to attend the University of Virginia School of Law and graduated with a Juris Doctorate degree in 1992. UVA was a great place for me to go to law school. I not only enjoyed the benefits and privileges of attending a top 10 law school, but I also had the good fortune of living within a few hours of Washington, DC, which was huge for me. When I was at Berkeley, I spent a summer working on Congressman Carlos Moorehead’s legislative staff in Washington, DC, which was a great honor, and I loved the entire experience. During the 3 years I was at UVA, I was able to spend a considerable amount of time in DC and I benefitted tremendously from the opportunities I had there.
Q. What do you like to do?
A. I love spending time with my family. I’m very fortunate to have a beautiful wife and 2 terrific sons, whom I adore, and a terrific dog named Lucy that the entire family is crazy about. I’m also very passionate about photography, music, and guitar. However, what I believe has shaped me most is my passion for travel. When I was 18, I was very lucky to have an opportunity to backpack through nearly all of Western Europe for 6 months by myself. The experience was transformational, to say the least, and it instilled in me a strong drive to see and experience the world. Since then, I have also traveled to Africa, the Middle East, Cuba, and many parts of the United States, Mexico and Canada. One of my goals is to travel to New Zealand in the not too distant future.
Q. What professional licenses do you have?
A. I’m licensed to practice law in the State of California and am admitted to practice in the United States District Courts for the Central and Southern Districts of California. In addition, I have a California contractors license, and a California real estate brokers license.
Q. Are you active in any professional organizations?
A. Over the years I’ve been active in the Orange County and Los Angeles Bar Associations, the Orange County Association of Realtors, as well as the Associated General Contractors and the Building Industry Association. These are all great organizations and I’ve enjoyed being part of them. In addition, I was also very fortunate to be a member of Young Presidents Organization for 14 years, and had the great privilege of being a member of our local chapter’s board of directors for several years, as well as our chapter’s chairman. I graduated from YPO in 2012 and am now a member of World Presidents Organization.