The Honorable James A. Gowan Speaks on the Delaware Campus
Web Editor - Published: May 26, 2011
“Be sure that when you go out and practice law that you practice it with high standards and with high ideals,” the Honorable James A. Gowan instructed students in the Delaware campus Intensive Trial Advocacy Program as he delivered the 12th Annual E. John Wherry, Jr. Distinguished Lecture in Trial Advocacy and Professionalism on Tuesday, May 24th.

Gowan, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, related a number of anecdotes from his own experiences as a practicing attorney, and he fondly reminisced on his time serving as an instructor for the ITAP program that began in 1987 following a request from John Wherry the previous year. Gowan mentioned that since 1987, he had only missed one year of ITAP following a broken vertebra.

“Give something back to your community and your profession,” Gowan urged the students, and he also called on them to be a “positive effect on their community” instead of matching negative stereotypes.

Following his remarks, Judge Gowan announced that this would be his last year as an ITAP faculty member, and he received a standing ovation from those in attendance. Taishoff Advocacy, Technology, and Public Service Institute Director and ITAP Program Director John F. Nivala then presented Judge Gowan with a small token of appreciation for his years of service to the program.

A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas Law School, Justice Gowan spent twenty years as an attorney in private practice in Suffolk County, New York before being elected to the Supreme Court of New York, Tenth Judicial District for the first of two fourteen year terms in 1978. He officially retired on January 31, 2001. A frequent lecturer for numerous professional groups, including the New York State Bar Association, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, and the Association of Supreme Court Justices, Justice Gowan has written and lectured extensively on topics such as Punitive and Compensatory Damages, Structured Settlements, Tort Liability, and Evidence. In addition to his work as a faculty member of Widener Law’s ITAP program, Justice Gowan has served on the faculty of similar programs at Empory University School of Law and Hofstra Law School.

A generous grant provided by the late E. John Wherry Jr., Esq. makes possible the annual lecture that accompanies the ITAP programs on both the Delaware and Harrisburg campuses. Wherry, who co-founded the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program at Widener Law, came to the Delaware campus as an adjunct professor in 1984. He became a Visiting Associate Professor of Law in 1992 and finally an Associate Professor of Law from 1992 to 1995.