Press Releases


Legal Publication names Cowan among ‘Leaders in the Law’


Plunkett Cooney partner Dennis G. Cowan was recently nominated as a member of the Class of 2020 “Leaders in the Law” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly (MLW), an industry publication serving the state’s legal community.

Cowan and the 29 other honorees were selected for, among other things, their significant contributions to the practice of law in Michigan, their expertise and their leadership in improving the state’s justice system, as well as seeking improvements to the legal and local communities and setting an example for other lawyers.

The 12th Annual Leaders in the Law awards ceremony will be held virtually on Aug. 3 starting at 6 p.m. The “Lawyer of the Year,” as selected by a vote of the class, will be announced during the COVID-compliant online event. All of the 2020 honorees will also be profiled in a special section of the MLW issue that will be distributed beforehand.

A Co-leader of the firm’s Governmental Affairs and Business Planning & Transactions practice groups, Cowan has the distinction of having previously served as President & CEO of Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest full-service law firms.

Currently, he focuses his legal practice on obtaining governmental approvals for clients at the local, county and state levels. He has particular experience advocating on behalf of clients who are seeking zoning, site plan and other land use approvals. Cowan also represents clients before state administrative boards, as well as with the Michigan Attorney General's office.

Additional areas of his expertise include banking law, business law and transactions and cannabis law.

A 1984 magna cum laude graduate of the Detroit College of Law, now known as the Michigan State University College of Law, Cowan has been involved in some of the state’s largest and most significant business deals, including a bid to build a Detroit casino, securing approvals for multi-million-dollar developments in suburban communities, and assisting with the financing package that helped make the city of Detroit’s “Grand Bargain” bankruptcy possible in 2014.

Cowan, who received his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts/Boston in 1978, is a member of the Oakland County Bar Association; the Real Property Law, Corporation and Business Law, and Public Corporations Law sections of the State Bar of Michigan; and the State and Local Government Section of the American Bar Association.

During his more than 30 years of practice, Cowan served 14 years as a member of the Royal Oak City Commission. After six years as a City Commissioner, he was elected and served four consecutive two-year terms as Royal Oak Mayor. As a result of his extensive experience as a public official, Cowan offers a unique perspective to advising clients on legal issues related to all levels of government.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney is a leading provider of transactional and litigation services to clients in the private and public sectors. The firm employs approximately 150 attorneys in seven Michigan cities, Chicago, Illinois, Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. Plunkett Cooney has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, a leading, international directory of law firms.

For more information about Dennis Cowan’s selection as a 2020 Leader in the Law, contact the firm’s Director of Marketing & Business Development John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008 or via email at