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Dan Cogdell

Principal & Founder

Principal and founding attorney at Cogdell Law Firm, Dan Cogdell, is often referred to by his contemporaries as a “Texas trial legend.” He has been practicing criminal defense law for 36 years, during which time he has handled some of the most complex and high-profile cases in the country.

He is particularly adept at representing individuals and entities in fraud and federal white collar crime matters and has secured winning verdicts in such cases as the Enron litigation and the Houston City Hall bribery case. Dan's reputation and results speak for themselves.

Background and Experience

Dan began his legal career as a briefing attorney for Judge John Onion, the Presiding Judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. He later joined the Houston-based firm Haynes & Fullenweider, where he worked with the legendary Richard “Racehorse” Haynes for five years. Due to his successes, he became youngest attorney to make partner at Haynes & Fullenweider.

In 1988, Dan left to start his own law firm, bringing his brand of practice to a wider audience. Dan has been defending all types of criminal cases, including:

  • White collar criminal matters
  • Mail fraud
  • Wire fraud
  • Bank fraud
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Medical fraud
  • Governmental contracting fraud
  • Murder charges
  • Sophisticated white collar cases

Dan has also been hired in complex civil matters to be lead counsel when his particular courtroom skill set has been needed.

"It was unbelievably reassuring the reception Mr. Cogdell gets when entering the court room. I knew I was in good hands." - Former Client

Notable Successes

Dan has served as trial counsel in nearly 300 cases tried by jury in over sixteen states and has obtained acquittals in a wide array of cases – from DWI to murder and everything in between. His experience as a trial attorney includes obtaining verdicts of “not guilty” in:

  • The Enron litigation
  • The Branch Davidian trial
  • The trial of alternative cancer treatment physician involving Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski

Lifewise, he obtained the acquittal of Judge John Peavy, Jr. in the Houston City Hall scandal, “Operation Lightening Strike” (NASA), and has successfully represented defendants in multiple state cases.

His Involvement in the David Koresh Case

In 1996, when federal authorities prosecuted several David Koresh-followers who survived the deadly government assault on the Branch Davidian headquarters, Cogdell and several other attorneys signed on for the seemingly impossible job of defending the Davidians.

When the jury came back with “not guilty” verdicts in favor of his client, one media outlet praised Cogdell for the most memorable closing argument of the trial in which he ruthlessly picked apart the government's case until it appeared hollow at its very core.

Most recently, the Houston Chronicle described Cogdell as a “gunslinger of a Texas criminal lawyer” who “stood out against the mostly New York lawyers” in the first Enron criminal trial. Again, against all odds and popular sentiment, Cogdell and his client emerged victoriously; it was the lone acquittal in the entire round of Enron trials.

Personal Life

Dan is not only competitive in the courtroom. He has been an avid motorcycle racer for the past 40 years. As Dan puts it, “Overcoming fear is an absolute necessity for prevailing in a Courtroom. Racing motorcycles not only keeps me physically sharp, it helps me mentally as well. ‘Afraid' is not ever an adjective I want used to describe me.”

Dismissals of Charges in Various Criminal Cases

He has also obtained dismissals of charges in a wide array of criminal cases, including:

  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Money laundering
  • Intoxicated manslaughter
  • Securities fraud
  • Bank fraud
  • Conspiracy
  • Tax fraud


  • “Woodward White, Inc. Best Lawyers” (1994-2015)
  • Texas Super Lawyers list (2002-2015)
  • Alumnus of the Year by his Law School alma mater, South Texas College of Law in Houston
  • Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. In 2014, Mr. Cogdell was honored as an


  • J.D., with Highest Honors, 1982. South Texas College of Law
  • B.B.A., 1979. University of Texas at Austin

Admissions to Practice

  • State Bar of Texas
  • The United States Supreme Court
  • The United States District Court: Southern, Northern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas
  • The United States Courts of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and Fifth Circuit

Bar Association Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Houston Bar Association
  • Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association (Past President & Lawyer of the Year)
  • Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Speaking Engagements

Mr. Cogdell is a frequent lecturer and speaker. He has been engaged to lecture or speak at organizations such as:

  • The State Bar of Texas
  • Houston Bar Association
  • Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
  • The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association
  • Dallas County Bar Association
  • South Texas College of Law
  • University of Houston Law Center
  • Texas Tech School of Law
  • University of Texas School of Law
  • Harvard Law School

Public Appearances & Media

Mr. Cogdell has made multiple appearances in the local, national, and global media, including:

  • Megyn Kelly Today
  • Oxygen: In Defense Of
  • NBC Nightly News
  • Dateline NBC
  • 20/20
  • Larry King Show
  • Good Morning America
  • The Today Show
  • Court TV
  • Nancy Grace
  • American Justice
  • BBC

To learn more about Dan, call (713) 426-2244.

Put Experience on Your Side

& Excellence in Your Corner

  1. Mr. Cogdell has successfully handled many high profile criminal cases, including obtaining a verdict of "Not Guilty" in the Enron litigation, the Branch Davidian Trial and the Houston City Hall Bribery case.
  2. With our large legal team, we are better able to take on complex cases.
  3. Mr. Cogdell has served as lead trial counsel in nearly 300 cases tried by jury in over sixteen states.
  4. Our firm has earned a 10.0 Superb rating from Avvo.
  5. We have upheld a solid reputation for proven experience and excellence for decades.

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The Best Resource You Can Have When Everything Is On The Line.

Start your defense with Cogdell Law Firm.

Cogdell Law Firm, PLLC.
1000 Main St., Suite 2300
Houston, TX 77002