Donald W. Fowler

Retired Partner

The quintessential trial lawyer, Don Fowler specialized in federal and state trials and appeals in the areas of environmental law, toxic torts, and pharmaceutical products liability. With a practice that encompassed litigation against the federal government, Don’s vision, calculated problem-solving, and patience were the hallmarks of his reputation among clients, trial practitioners, and judges alike. For over four decades, Don’s clients became his friends and recognized his fierce dedication and intense loyalty to their matters.

Don represented major manufacturing concerns and site owners in trials and appeals of class actions and mass torts involving personal injury, property damage, and/or medical monitoring damage claims associated with alleged exposures to ionizing radiation and various chemical compounds, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), solvents, and benzene derivatives. He also represented a major pharmaceutical manufacturer in the national defense of personal injury claims associated with oncological drugs, migraine treatments, and anti-cholesterols, and successfully defended such cases whether filed individually, as part of a mass tort, or as a class action.

In the environmental area, Don’s practice included defending major corporations in both actual and anticipated litigation brought by federal and state natural resource trustees seeking recovery for damages to natural resources under federal and state law. He also handled litigation and environmental risk assessments in connection with corporate acquisitions. Representing companies in litigation and before the Environmental Protection Agency in matters arising under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and Superfund, including private cost recovery actions, Don designed and implemented compliance programs, conducted environmental audits and due diligence reviews, and negotiated environmental aspects of real estate and other transactions on behalf of many of the firm’s clients. As a frequent author of amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the firm’s toxics and pharmaceutical clients, Don lectured at both private and public seminars on developments in those fields.

Following law school, Don joined the Land and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice, where he spent three years as a trial attorney conducting environmental litigation before the federal appellate and trial courts. Before joining the firm, he also served as Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

While Don worked primarily as a trial lawyer, he appreciated the value of finding effective ways to advance his client’s goals short of trial. Being smart, thoughtful, and creative was always at the core of his approach and more often than not enabled him to secure successful outcomes for his clients.

Education

Yale Law School (J.D., 1975) Cornell University (B.A., 1972)

Admissions

  • District of Columbia and Maryland
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, District of Columbia, and Federal Circuits
  • United States District Courts for the District of Columbia, the District of Maryland, and the Eastern District of Michigan
  • United States Court of Federal Claims
  • United States Court of International Trade

Accolades

  • Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law and Litigation-Environmental, 2016 – 2024
  • Super Lawyers, Environmental Litigation, 2010 – 2023
  • American Registry’s list of America’s Most Honored Lawyers, 2022
  • America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators for Washington DC, 2021
  • Lawdragon 500 Leading U.S. Environmental & Energy Lawyers Guide, Environmental Litigation, 2021
  • The Expert Network, “Distinguished Lawyer,” since 2017
  • Corporate Livewire M&A Awards, Environmental Lawyer of the Year, 2017
  • Who’s Who Legal: Environment, since 2015
  • Burton Distinguished Legal Writing Award, 2015
  • Corporate America’s Legal Elite Awards, Best in Product Liability Litigation-Washington, DC, 2015

Memberships

  • Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI), member, since 2000

Cases

Insights & Events

Lawdragon, a legal media company, providing guides to the nation’s leading lawyers, has published its first annual guide to the top U.S. lawyers shaping the future of energy and the environment.  Lawdragon spent the last two…