Insight

A Trial Icon

Dan Cogdell on his almost four decades of courtroom success.

Dan Cogdell Best Lawyers 2020
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Sean Stonefield

June 15, 2020 08:00 AM

Dan Cogdell has spent nearly four decades honing his skill as a trial lawyer—serving as lead counsel in close to 300 cases before juries in 20 states. He has successfully represented professional athletes, CEOs, doctors, members of law enforcement, lawyers, mayors, judges, politicians, and many others in matters involving a myriad of offenses including white-collar offenses, internal investigations, grand jury investigations, health care fraud, environmental crime, and banking and securities fraud. His early and sustained success at trial—often in some of the most high-profile and influential cases in state history—has in turn garnered him a reputation as a trial icon.

Some of Cogdell’s best-known cases include representing an Enron accountant in the Enron-Merrill Lynch Trial, for which he obtained the sole acquittal of that or any other Enron trial. Another watershed moment in Cogdell’s career came in the mid-1990s when he achieved an acquittal for a client in federal conspiracy trial for one of 11 Branch Davidians following the siege of their compound near Waco, Texas. The Oxygen Network recently aired a one-hour documentary on Cogdell’s defense called “Waco: In Defense Of.” Currently, there are plans to produce a second documentary about another trial Cogdell was involved in where he used a cattle prod on himself to prove a point in attacking the testimony of the state’s medical examiner.

"When you hold someone's future in your hand, it is experience and judgment that matter."

Among his other notable results, Cogdell a successfully defended alternative cancer treatment physician, Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, in both Federal Court against criminal charges and as part of a team of lawyers who successfully represented him before the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also hired Cogdell to lead his defense team in fighting felony securities charges. Cogdell is currently in a trial defending a case for a global chemical producer involving a plant in Crosby, Texas, that experienced an explosion during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Indeed, Cogdell isn’t one to look backward—even with all of his historic successes, he is more energized than ever, particularly with the re-opening of his own boutique law firm: “Big law firms unquestionably have some very talented people, but few—if any—have had anything close to my success in actually defending folks in a courtroom. When you hold someone’s future in your hand, it is experience and judgment that matters. That is what I bring to the table. I have found that the number of lawyers at a firm is largely an irrelevant data point. My clients hire me for my experience and my ability. What floor the elevator stops on to get to me has never made a difference."

“In my almost 40 years of defending clients, I have had the pleasure of helping some really good people and companies who are facing extreme challenges. Doing what I do isn’t ever easy, but the rewards of helping folks get through some of their toughest times make the sacrifices worthwhile.”

Headline Image: David Brown

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