James L. Cowden

  • Retired


Harrisburg, PA






James L. Cowden practices primarily in the field of labor and employment law, including traditional labor law as well as employment discrimination, wrongful discharge and labor contract administration in both the state and federal sectors. He has worked extensively in higher education, where he has handled many cases involving tenure, promotion and sexual harassment. He also works in the area of professional licensure. He serves as solicitor to several boards of the City of Harrisburg, including the zoning hearing board.

Cowden is admitted to practice before the Pennsylvania courts, the U.S. District Courts for the Middle and Eastern Districts of Pennsylvania, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia and Third Circuits and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a graduate of Allegheny College and the Dickinson School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review. He is an author of several law review articles on Pennsylvania public employment law topics and has addressed several national conferences on higher education issues.

Areas Of Practice

  • Labor and Employment Law
  • Traditional Labor Law
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Wrongful Discharge
  • Labor Contract Administration
  • Tenure
  • Promotion
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Professional Licensure
  • Zoning and Land Use

Bar Admissions

  • Pennsylvania, 1974
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania, 1975
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1988
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit, 1976
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1987
  • U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit, 1990


  • Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
    • J.D.
  • Allegheny College, Meadville, PA
    • B.A.
    • Major: Political Science

Representative Clients

  • Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties
  • Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union No. 520
  • Harrisburg Zoning Hearing Board
  • Harrisburg Leasing Authority


  • Pennsylvania Employment Law, Lancaster County Bar Association, 2002 to 2002
  • Pennsylvania Employment Law, Dauphin County Bar Association, 2003 to 2003
  • Developments in Higher Education Law, National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Bar Association, 1974
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association, 1974

Pro Bono Activities

  • Dauphin County Bar Association