Chris Gowen serves as the managing partner for Gowen Silva & Winograd. Legal professionals both inside and outside of the beltway regularly refer to Mr. Gowen as a “jack of all trades” due to the scope of his work, which covers a wide array of practice areas. Mr. Gowen’s practice focuses primarily on civil negligence cases and family law, however, his litigation experience includes: basic and high-profile criminal cases, politically charged litigation, landlord tenant actions, college and university disciplinary hearings, employment discrimination, civil rights cases and civil RICO defense. Additionally, Chris represents politicians and staffers in contract disputes and defamation matters.
In October of 2019 Chris completed his 100th trial, winning a civil case in DC Superior Court. Several of Chris’ cases have received media attention, allowing the firm to establish a strong relationship with reporters in and around the district. One case even caught the attention of the President, who directed this preposterously ridiculous re-tweet at Mr. Gowen.
In 2015, Chris joined the legal team on behalf of the lawyers representing the Ecuadorian villagers against Chevron, in what is now considered one of the largest lawsuits in American history. Chris represented a Harvard and Michigan lawyer falsely accused of racketeering in a controversial case that may never end. (Listen to Chris in an interview on NPR).
In 2019, Chris recovered over a million dollars for child clients who were victims of abuse, neglect, negligent supervision, wrongful death, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Representing children without a voice presents the most rewarding challenge for Chris. These type of cases require the ability to tell a story, often without the use of the client’s own words. Therefore, events must be reconstructed through the use of technology in investigations.
Chris’ other significant accomplishments include having a multi-million-dollar pre-nuptial agreement thrown out of court because Chris and his client were able to prove that the husband breached the agreement. Chris won a landmark decision as part of a same-sex common law marriage divorce case where the court ruled that historic Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hughes could be applied retroactively in jurisdictions that recognize common law marriage. (Read the brief here).
Chris completed his higher education at Wake Forest University and graduated from Villanova University in 2000 with a Bachelors of Science. Chris graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 2005. Chris currently is an adjunct professor at the American University Washington College of Law, where he has taught since 2010. Upon graduation from law school, Chris served as a Public Defender in Miami Dade County under Bennet Brummer and Carlos Martinez. Chris went on to work for former President Bill Clinton and former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for several years as a traveling aid. Chris was also one of the fact checkers for President Clinton’s memoir, My Life. Chris’ political work also included working for John Kerry’s presidential campaign, Governor Tom Wolf’s campaign and inauguration, as well as Constitutional Law Professor Michael Higginbotham’s campaign for congress.
Chris enjoys playing tennis, golf and sailing in his free time and has served on the board of directors for the PG Pool, as well as for Crofton Swim and Tennis.
- District of Columbia
- United States District Court for Maryland
- United States District Court for the District of Columbia
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Honors, Awards & Certifications
- DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Certification, La Pier & Associates, 2013
- Adjunct Professor of the Year Award, American University Washington College of Law, 2012
- Excellence in Adjunct Appointment Award, American University, 2013
- University of Miami, School of Law (J.D.)
- Villanova University, Villanova School of Business (Bachelor of Business Administration)
- District of Columbia Bar Association
- The Florida Bar
Publications & Media
- 21-Hour Philo Invitational Seminar for Trial Attorneys, “Civil RICO Lawsuits and the Chevron Case,” with Aaron Marr Page, Detroit, MI, September 14, 2014
- Interview, Public Radio International’s ‘The World,’ “A Canadian court is allowing Ecuadorians to pursue their long-running pollution suit against Chevron,”December 18, 2013
- Wall Street Journal, “Ecuador Court Affirms and Halves Chevron Judgment,”November 12, 2013
- CNN, “Disastrous day for the Lago Agrio plaintiffs in Chevron trial,”November 6, 2013
- BloombergBusinessweek, “Lawyer Describes Fraud, Lies, and Acrimony in $19 Billion Chevron Case,”November 5, 2013
- Law360, “Chevron Moves To Block Donziger Witnesses In $19B Trial,”November 1, 2013
- Philadelphia Inquirer, “Chevron fights case that led to $19B ruling in Ecuador,” October 29, 2013
- CNBC, “PREVIEW-Chevron goes to trial in New York over $18 bln Ecuador award,” October 14, 2013
- San Francisco Gate, “Diary of lawyer’s Chevron lawsuit in coming trial,”October 12, 2013
- Forbes, “Chevron Launches RICO Trial Over $18 Billion Ecuador Verdict Tuesday,” October 11, 2013
- Reuters, “Judge: no jury for Ecuadoreans, lawyer in Chevron fraud trial,”October 7, 2013
- Legal Newline, “Chevron says it will drop money damages claims against Donziger,”October 1, 2013
- Legal Newsline, “Spokesman for Donziger, Ecuadorians argues tribunal lacks authority,” September 24, 2013
- CSR Newswire, “Chevron Tried to Bribe Ecuador Judge with $1 Million Payment on Eve of RICO Trial,”September 13, 2013
- International Business Time, “Chevron Asks Judge To Block Jury Decision On Pollution Case With Ecuador, Promises To Drop $60B Compensation Claims,”September 11, 2013
- CSR Newswire, “Bombshell Retreat: Chevron Seeks to Drop $60 Billion in Damages In Ecuador Case,”September 10, 2013
- CSR Newswire, “Appeals Court to Consider Removing Key U.S. Judge in Chevron Ecuador Case,”August 29, 2013
Other Publications and Appearances
- Christopher Gowen and Erin Magary, “Collateral Consequences: How Reliable Data and Resources Can Change the Way Law is Practiced,”Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 39, No. 1 (Nov. 2011)
- Christopher Gowen, Lisa Thurau, and Megan Wood, “The ABA’s Approach to Juvenile Justice Reform: Education, Eviction, and Employment: The Collateral Consequences of Juvenile Adjudication,”Duke Forum for Law & Social Change, Vol. 3, No. 1, 187-204 (2011)
- Christopher Gowen and Anne Garaghty Helms, “The Legal Community’s Collaborative Effort to Address Collateral Consequences for Youth”Human Rights, Vol. 38, No. 3 (2011)
- Panelist, “Exploring and Examining Innovative Reentry Strategies for the 21st Century,”Pennsylvania Reentry Summit, Widener Law School, September 2011, Harrisburg, PA
- PG Pool, Board Member