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Biography of Douglas Cowan

Doug Cowan is one of the country's most respected and experienced DUI defense lawyers. He is a founder of the National College for DUI Defense, served on its Board of Regents from 1994-2000, served as Dean of the College for the 1996-1997 academic year, and was Board Certified in DUI defense by the College* in July, 2000. That same year the College presented Doug with the Richard Erwin Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of a career committed to excellence in the representation of his clients, and for his many contributions to the betterment of the DUI Defense Bar. It was only the second time that honor has been bestowed. He is also a founder of the Washington Foundation for Criminal Justice, a state organization dedicated to DUI defense, and served as President of the Foundation from 1989-1998. Doug is also a Founding Member of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (Board of Governors, 1987 – 1989), and belongs to the other following organizations:

  • Washington State Bar Association (Since 1968)
  • Seattle-King County Bar Association (Since 1969)
  • East King County Bar Association (Since 1974; Board of Trustees, 1976 – 1978; President, 1979)
  • The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

A 1965 graduate of Washington State University, and a 1968 graduate of the University of Washington School of Law, Doug is a frequent contributor to local and national legal publications on the subject of DUI defense, is co-author of the textbook for lawyers, Defending DUIs in Washington (Lexis Law Publishing), is regularly called upon to serve on legislative and other governmental task forces considering DUI issues, has appeared on numerous local radio and television news programs and shows (KOMO's “Town Meeting,” and KIRO's “Dave Ross Show) and is regularly quoted in the local press. Doug has been named a state of Washington “Super Lawyer” by the publication “Washington Law & Politics” every year since 2000, was named by the same publication as one of Washington's “Top 25 Criminal Defense Lawyers” and has been listed in both Kingston's National Registry of Who's Who in America (2002 ed.) and Marquis' Who's Who in America (2002 ed.) and has been given Martindale & Hubbell's highest Lawyer rating, AV, since the mid 1980's.

With over 40 years of experience defending and prosecuting DUIs (Prosecuting Attorney for the City of Bellevue, Washington State's fourth largest city, 1974 – 1978) Doug sponsored an annual seminar on DUI Defense that regularly draws 450-600 lawyers, making it the largest state law seminar in the country. A nationally recognized authority on DUI defense, Doug has lectured or conducted workshops for other lawyers in 19 states on such diverse topics as “Cross-examination of the Arresting Officer,” “Pre-trial Litigation,” “Opening Statements in a DUI Case,” “Jury Selection in DUI Cases,” “Opening Statements,” “The Data Master,” “Cross-examination of the State's Breath Test Expert,” “Bench Trials in DUI Cases,” “Legal Ethics in DUI Defense,” “Closing Arguments in DUI Cases,” and “Demonstrative Evidence in DUI Defense.” Doug received certification in administering Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in 1996, and again in 2001.


Doug has received Certificates of Appreciation or Recognition from the following organizations:

  • The National College for DUI Defense
  • The University of Washington Law School Foundation
  • The Northwest College for DUI Defense
  • The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • The Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • The Washington Foundation for Criminal Justice
  • The Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice
  • The Washington Traffic Safety Commission
  • The Washington State Trial Lawyers Association

An avid golfer, Doug is married and has three children and five grandchildren.

*The Supreme Court of Washington does not recognize certification of specialties in the practice of law, and certification is not a requirement to practice law in the state of Washington.

Cowan Kirk Kattenhorn

Cowan Kirk is known throughout Washington and the nation for representing all of its clients with commitment, creativity and compassion. We recognize how devastating a DUI charge can be, particularly when our clients learn how incredibly tough Washington's DUI laws have become, even for a first-time offender.

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If you need a DUI defense attorney in Seattle, Bellevue, or King County, contact us today to find out why respect for our clients, a passion for justice, and our commitment to winning have earned each of us the highest honor a member of the bar can receive from our colleagues – their referrals.