EDUCATIONNorthwestern University School of Law - J.D., high honors
Northwestern University - B.A., Business
- Federal Trial Bar
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
This page is dedicated in loving memory of our partner, mentor, and dear friend, Richard A. Cowen. As a founding member of this firm, Richard established our core values and work ethic. A man full of warmth, enthusiasm, integrity, and wit, Richard led by example. He embodied the virtues of the finest lawyers: thoughtful, intelligent, sage, disciplined, compassionate, generous and courageous. Even in his absence, he continues to be the lawyer and person we all strive to be. He is profoundly and deeply missed.As our partner, Richard was in many ways the voice of the firm. A continuing source of wisdom, Richard struck a delicate balance between maintaining established practices and giving careful consideration to innovation and modernization of the firm. He spoke candidly yet gracefully for his beliefs, without the need for support of the group. He mentored patiently and inspired lawyers young and old. He was known for being honest and fair with everyone.
As a litigator, Richard had a keen mind, great judgment, and was uniquely conscientious about his work. He commanded respect inside and out of the courtroom: simultaneously humble and firm. Richard’s work – and clients – remained important to him long past when he was still coming into the office. In 2014, Richard was named one of Illinois’ Leading Lawyers, a distinction reserved for those nominated and voted on by their peers.
As an active member of his community, Richard served for twenty years on the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, dedicating himself to voter reform and efficiency in election administration. His colleague, Langdon Neal, fondly recalls: “…in Electoral Board cases, Richard asked probing questions and made decisions based on the law. Richard was not guided by partisanship and sided instead with giving candidates access to the ballot whenever possible, regardless of party affiliation. To that end, Richard's most recent 2015 Electoral Board term was marked by the Courts upholding every Chicago case that was challenged.” Richard also served for 15 years on the Illinois State Board of Elections, holding both the office of Chairman and Vice-Chairman at different points throughout his tenure.
As a friend and skilled golfer, Richard shared many golf trips with friends and Stahl Cowen partner, Bill Crowley. During those trips, according to Bill, Richard’s energy was boundless. Into his mid and late seventies, they would play five eighteen-hold rounds in four days – and Richard would often exclaim “let’s play 36”! They often did. Richard’s friends also knew him to be a matchless storyteller with a mischievous, sparkling sense of humor. He had an uncanny ability to remember a joke long past, and a wonderful flair for retelling it. His company was infectious.
As a family man, Richard shared his joy for life with his beloved wife, Nadia, his cherished sisters and children, his eleven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild, all of whom were a particular source of pride.
As an avid traveler, Richard’s fondness for Italy and red wine led him to be a part-time travel guide and sommelier to those seeking adventure or an enjoyable bottle. He traveled extensively, but had a special place in his heart for Como, where he loved to eat, drink and blend with the locals. Richard was fluent in Italian – and mostly self-taught.
Richard was a source of steadfastness for this firm. As he fought his final battle with cancer, he continued to show up – and to work – in his welcoming and ever-unassuming office at the beginning of our hallway. There was a subtle elegance in his willpower, and his desire to continue living and loving his life. And to the very last day that Richard joined us in the office, his unmistakable voice booming Hello!put a smile on the faces of everyone that encountered him. As his son Scott said, everyone who met him was better for it.
Richard, for so many years you were a voice for many: your clients, our firm, the community. Your voice will forever be missed.