2022 Business Law Q&A
James K. Cowan Jr.
CowanPerry PC, Blacksburg
Other legal specialties: Labor & employment (management), land use and zoning, and business litigation
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Towson University; law degree, Washington & Lee University
Family: Fiancée Rachel Greene and two sons, Jay, age 21 (senior at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland), and Robert, 19 (sophomore at Rice University, Houston)
Career mentors: Clinton S. Morse, Douglas W. Densmore and Jeanne Stosser
Bingeworthy TV show: “Somebody Feed Phil”
Something you would never do again: Wait so long to start a law firm!
How has the wave of unionization (e.g., Starbucks stores) affected your field? We haven’t seen a big impact yet in Southwest Virginia. The only real impact so far is that the media coverage that these high-profile campaigns attract has resulted in situations where employees who are working through an issue with their employer raise the issue or reach out to coworkers through social media, discussing potential unionization. But my clients have not seen resulting serious campaigns or any elections.
Has the rise of remote work affected the business and employment litigation field? The biggest impact I’m seeing is that as our clients allow more remote work, they are suddenly having a workforce … from five, 10 or 20-plus states. Most employers are not prepared to manage the compliance that comes with … the employment and other state laws that come into play in this situation, so we’re spending a lot of time assisting clients with compliance for what are now post-pandemic, multistate employers.