The Only Ally You Need When Faced with Criminal Charges


Principal & Founderundefined

The 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.


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. Dan was highly successful in his work at the firm, and went on to become youngest attorney to ever 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, for more than three decades. He has achieved success in numerous cases involving charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud. He has also obtained multiple acquittals in a variety of other federal prosecutions in areas ranging from mortgage fraud and medical fraud to governmental contracting fraud. Dan has achieved courtroom victories in a myriad of different cases, from small state court matters to murder charges, to sophisticated white collar cases and everything in between. Dan has also been hired in complex civil matters to be lead counsel when his particular courtroom skill set has been needed.

On a personal note, 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.”

Notable Successes

Dan has served as trial counsel in nearly 300 cases tried by jury in over sixteen states. His experience as a trial attorney includes obtaining verdicts of “not guilty” in the Enron litigation, the Branch Davidian trial, and the trial of alternative cancer treatment physician Dr. Stanislaw Burzinski. He likewise 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. He has obtained acquittals in a wide array of cases – from DWI to murder and everything in between.

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 victorious; it was the lone acquittal in the entire round of Enron trials.

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, and tax fraud.


Mr. Cogdell’s success in a multitude of courtrooms across the country has not gone unnoticed. Dan has repeatedly been recognized as one of the “Woodward White, Inc. Best Lawyers” (every year from 1994-2015) and has been selected for inclusion in the Texas Super Lawyers list from 2002-2015. He is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. In 2014, Mr. Cogdell was honored as an Alumnus of the Year by his Law School alma mater, South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas.


  • 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:

  • 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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