Welcome to cowgill.com
My assistants and I have worked hard to make this site a worthwhile destination for those who seek information about legal ethics, attorney disciplinary proceedings and the law governing lawyers. I encourage you to take a tour.
Click on the link to read an overview of this site
Counselor and Attorney at Law
(859) 225-5236 - phone
(859) 225-5237 - fax
Paragon Centre Office Park
2333 Alexandria Drive
Lexington, Kentucky 40504
Click on the link for more information, including a map and driving directions
"The practice of law has never been more complex, and one of the more daunting complexities is the tangle of ethical constraints and obligations imposed upon attorneys. It is essential that every practitioner be careful about those constraints and obligations. Having direct and successful experience with his services, I can think of no more capable aide than Ben Cowgill. His name should be in the Rolodex of every lawyer in Kentucky."
~ An out-of-state lawyer who employed Mr. Cowgill for legal advice regarding ethics issues that arose
The field of legal ethics is a field of law, not merely an arena for debating different ideas about professional custom or courtesy. Like other fields of law, it is characterized by a constantly expanding universe of statutes, rules, court decisions, advisory opinions and scholarly commentary.
It has also become a minefield for the practicing lawyer. Years ago a lawyer could stay out of trouble by following a simple maxim: "don't lie, don't cheat and don't steal." For better or worse, the rules of the game have become far more complicated.
Consequently, it's simply not enough to make a seat-of-the-pants argument about "common sense" in addressing any serious issue of legal ethics. It can also be counter-productive, because it invites decision-makers to rely on their own notions of common sense rather than the law.
"We seldom attribute common sense except to those who agree with us."
There's plenty of law to be considered. The Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct are organized into eight parts, but they actually contain over one hundred and fifty distinct provisions under which a lawyer can be charged with professional misconduct.
Many of those provisions are not apparent as matters of common sense. In fact, some of them are at odds with widely-held notions about a lawyers' ethical duties. That's because the Rules serve goals and purposes that cannot be distilled into a single rule of thumb or a handful of hip-pocket principles.
For example, how many lawyers know that they cannot agree to refrain from representing other claimants in connection with the settlement of a civil case? Doing so would serve the client's interest in consummating a settlement, but the Rules prohibit a lawyer from entering in to such an agreement – or even offering it to the other side. That doesn't serve the client's interest in settling the case, but it's not supposed to. It's designed to ensure that other people have access to the lawyers of their choice. See SCR 3.130(5.6), comment .
The other side of the coin is that the Rules reflect a careful effort to draw the line on what lawyers may and may not do. Consequently, a lawyer is not guilty of "unethical" conduct, for legal purposes, unless he actually crosses that line. It is often necessary to show decision-makers where the line is located, by showing how the Rules have been interpreted in court decisions, advisory opinions and authoritative treatises.
Mr. Cowgill 's practice is focused on matters that involve legal ethics.
► He defends lawyers against bar complaints and charges of professional misconduct;
► He represents lawyers in disqualification proceedings;
► He advises Kentucky lawyers and law firms regarding issues of professional responsibility, including matters that involve potential conflicts of interest or other ethics issues;
► He assists law students and applicants for admission to the Bar, especially in helping them resolve character and fitness issues; and
► He serves as a consultant and opinion witness in civil cases and attorney disqualification proceedings.
Those arenas of activity involve the same body of law – the law governing lawyers. Consequently, they require the same knowledge, experience and resources, if one expects to practice in the field successfully. Mr. Cowgill possesses the knowledge, the experience and the resources.