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
"Ben Cowgill possesses a unique combination of experience in the field of legal ethics. He is a safe harbor in a sea of frequent uncertainty about issues often unforeseen by the practitioner."
~ A Kentucky lawyer who employed Mr. Cowgill for legal advice and opinion testimony regarding ethics issues that arose in the course of a complex civil case (name withheld to preserve confidentiality)
Like anyone else with a legal problem, a lawyer with a legal ethics issue wants to resolve it as quickly as possible on the most favorable terms that are reasonable to expect under the facts and the law. That goal is best achieved through the assistance of someone who already possesses substantial knowledge and experience in the field.
Any lawyer can pick up the Kentucky Rules of Court and read the Rules of Professional Conduct, just as any lawyer can pick up the same book and read the Civil Rules or the Rules of Criminal Procedure. But reading rules is clearly not enough to make a lawyer competent in any field of practice, whether it's civil litigation, criminal defense or legal ethics.
Likewise, any lawyer can "escort" a respondent through a disciplinary proceeding, if the only goal is to make sure the respondent receives a fair hearing. That's rather easy to do, because the right to a fair hearing is built into the system. The real issue is whether the respondent exercises that right by hiring an attorney who is ready, willing and able to provide competent advice and effective advocacy in that arena.
Selection of counsel is an important decision in any legal matter. But when the client is a lawyer and the matter involves a question of legal ethics, it is not unreasonable to apply rigorous criteria in deciding who is most prepared for the task. In particular, it is not unreasonable to expect:
► that "the lawyer's lawyer" will be someone who already possesses substantial knowledge and experience in the field of legal ethics, and will not be "learning as he goes;"
► that he also possesses significant experience in the real world of legal practice, and is therefore able to understand the practical aspects of the client's situation;
► that he is ready, willing and able to be a zealous advocate of the client's interests, within the bounds of the law;
► that he has invested in the library materials and other practice resources necessary to address a legal ethics issue competently and efficiently; and
► that he has also equipped himself and his practice with tools that facilitate a close working relationship with the lawyer-client.
"I encourage you to compare my credentials with those of other lawyers who take cases in this field."
Ben Cowgill has spent the last eight years — one-third of his legal career — concentrating in the field of legal ethics. It's not merely one of several areas of "concentration" – it's the one and only field in which he concentrates. If you need an attorney regarding a legal ethics issue, you are invited to consider his credentials. They include:
► A unique combination of experience as a prosecutor, professor and practitioner;
► Insight into the real world of legal practice from long experience as a litigator;
► The deep knowledge that results from teaching others on a regular basis; and
► A collection of resources, tools and facilities that he has chosen specifically for the benefits they provide in the representation of other lawyers.
A unique combination of experience
Mr. Cowgill is the only lawyer in Kentucky who has gained experience in the field of legal ethics through a combination of experience as a prosecutor, professor and practitioner.
He advised the KBA Board of Governors on issues relating to the regulation of the Kentucky legal profession; appeared before the Supreme Court of Kentucky as the KBA's lead counsel; and conducted training programs for Board members and Trial Commissioners regarding their respective roles in the disciplinary process.
He was also the principal author of the Supreme Court Rules that created the Kentucky Lawyers Assistance Program ("KyLAP"), a program that works hard to help lawyers overcome personal problems on terms that keep them in the profession.
► During his service as Bar Counsel, he also taught Professional Responsibility as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. He agreed to do so in order to deepen his own understanding of legal ethics on an academic level, through the discipline of preparing class lectures, assignments and exams.
► Since his return to private practice in 2003, he has counseled and represented Kentucky lawyers, out-of-state lawyers and applicants for admission to the Bar in a wide variety of matters including disciplinary cases, disqualification proceedings and character and fitness hearings. He has also advised lawyers on how to avoid ethics violations when ethics issues arise in the course of their practices. He has advised fellow members of the Bar on issues ranging from the management of conflicts at the commencement of employment to the terms of settlement agreements and the distribution of settlement funds.
He has also served as a testifying opinion witness in both legal malpractice cases and attorney disqualification proceedings. He has given opinion testimony regarding professional standards of care, conflicts of interest, alleged unethical conduct and the unauthorized practice of law.
Insight gained from long experience as a litigator
Mr. Cowgill is an experienced litigator. Before focusing his career in the field of legal ethics, he was a partner in a civil litigation firm and his practice was concentrated in the defense of product liability cases. He has tried major civil cases in state and federal courtrooms throughout Central and Eastern Kentucky.
Knowledge derived from teaching others
Mr. Cowgill is also a well-known presenter of CLE programs about legal ethics. During one recent reporting period, he received a CLE Award largely because of credits he earned as a presenter.
He has given ethics presentations for the American Bar Association Center for CLE, the National Organization of Bar Counsel, the Federal Bar Association, the Kentucky Bar Association, the Washington and Oregon CLE Forum, the University of Kentucky College of Law, the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, the Samuel P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Northern Kentucky Bar Association, the Louisville Bar Association, the Fayette County Bar Association, National Business Institute, Inc. and Federal Publications, Inc.
Resources and tools that facilitate the representation of other lawyers
Mr. Cowgill has designed every aspect of his law practice with a single goal in mind: creating an ideal environment for advising and representing other lawyers. In particular:
► He practices as a solo practitioner and does not share office space, conference facilities or support staff with any other lawyers. He is therefore able to provide his lawyer-clients with the highest level of privacy and confidentiality.
► He maintains one of the largest personal libraries of legal ethics material in Kentucky. The bookshelves of his office contain all of the leading treatises, loose-leaf services and reference books that interpret the ABA Model Rules, along with conference materials, seminar course books and other unpublished papers stretching back over a decade. He also subscribes to on-line services that relate specifically to legal ethics, including the on-line edition of the ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct.
► He makes extensive use technology to manage information efficiently and create a seamless working relationship with his clients. For example:
• He gives each client the ability to access their file through a secure, case-specific "extranet," as explained in the extranet's public lobby.
• He manages his practice using LexisNexis Time Matters (Professional Edition, Version 8.0), the same practice management software used by some of the world's largest law firms.
• He performs all of his work on a secure, encrypted network of desktop and notebook computers, which allow him to access all client records and documents anytime, anywhere.
Mr. Cowgill has been showing other lawyers how to use technology for over twenty years. He has given a number of CLE seminars on various aspects of law office technology, including ethical considerations. He was recently appointed to the Technology Core Group of the ABA Law Practice Management Section.
Relevant professional memberships
Mr. Cowgill is a member of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility and the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers, and has frequently attended national conferences of both organizations. He was also an active member of the National Organization of Bar Counsel during his service as Bar Counsel in Kentucky.
Mr. Cowgill earned his bachelor’s degree with high distinction at Duke University. He is an honors graduate of Duke’s Institute of Public Policy, where he wrote his senior thesis on the Administration of Justice.
Following his graduation from Duke, he returned to Lexington and earned his law degree at the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he was a member of the Sixth Circuit Moot Court Team.
A life beyond the law
Mr. Cowgill has served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Lexington Public Library and as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Better Business Bureau of Central and Eastern Kentucky. He was also one of the founders of the Lexington Dream Factory, a wish-granting organization for seriously ill children. He is an Elder of Crestwood Christian Church and a member of the Lexington Rotary Club.
He is the proud father of two children, and also the proud uncle of nieces and nephews who have recently begun careers of their own all over the country.
His daughter was valedictorian of her class at Henry Clay High School and is now a senior with a 4.0 academic standing at an Ivy League university.
His son is also a straight-A student and an accomplished guitarist. He is a sophomore in the Liberal Arts Academy at Henry Clay, and also the fourteenth Cowgill to attend Henry Clay over the past 70 years.
His nieces and nephews include a bank officer in Virginia, a project leader at Google, an architect in Seattle, a sports marketing professional in Dallas and a student at Vanderbilt University.