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The sudden death of Adam Cowell on 29 July at the age of 40 marks the loss of one of the profession’s leading business crime lawyers.
In his six years as a partner in the London office of Irwin Mitchell, Cowell established himself as one of the top lawyers in the country, representing defendants in high-profile prosecutions by the Serious Fraud Office. Widely respected as a leading business crime lawyer, Cowell was also adviser to companies and directors under regulatory investigation by the Department of Trade and Industry, Inland Revenue, Customs & Excise and the current Financial Services Authority investigation into split capital investment trusts.
As a young man, Cowell’s prowess as a golfer took him to county representative level and he narrowly decided against a career as a professional golfer. Following a prize-winning First Class Honours Degree in Law at Brunel University, Cowell trained at Powell Magrath & Spencer in Kilburn, after which he spent a short time at Donne Mileham & Haddock in Brighton. Cowell spent a longer period at Bindman & Partners honing his criminal law and advocacy skills. He then founded the London office of Moss & Co, which he grew for five years before joining Irwin Mitchell in 1998.
In six short years at Irwin Mitchell his rise to prominence in the firm was meteoric. He was a frequent lecturer, writer and broadcaster on money laundering and white collar crime. He was also secretary of the International Criminal Law Association, a committee member of the newly-formed Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers and former secretary of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association.
As well as having a keen interest in philosophy and history, Cowell had an extensive knowledge of wine, which was demonstrated at one of the last social events he attended, when he was overjoyed at leading to victory his team at the Vinopolis Lawyers Wine Challenge. The shock of his death to his colleagues, family and friends is compounded by his physical fitness, which was measured recently by his completion of the London Marathon in 2002, when he raised money for Barnardo’s.
He leaves a wife, Megan, and three daughters, Florence, Grace and Scarlett.