The Honourable James Cowan, QC


Suite 900, Purdy’s Wharf Tower One
1959 Upper Water St.
Halifax, N.S.
B3J 3N2



Language(s) spoken: English

Bar Admission(s): Nova Scotia, 1967

Legal Assistant(s): Kathleen O'Reilly

With over decades of experience practicing law, Jim is sought after for his expertise involving public-private partnerships, estate and tax planning, commercial law and wills and trusts. Jim was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 2005 and became Opposition Whip in 2007. In 2008, he became the Leader of the Opposition, a position which he held until November 4, 2015. He retired from the Senate in January, 2017. Jim has been actively involved in the community for over 40 years.

Education & Career


Dalhousie University, LLD (honorary), 2009
University of London, LLM, 1966
Dalhousie University, LLB, 1965
Dalhousie University, BA, 1962


Member, Canadian Bar Association
Secretary, Halifax International Airport Authority, 1995 – present
Senator, The Senate of Canada, 2005 – present
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, 2008 – present
Director, Halifax International Airport Authority, 2002 – 2005
Member, Dalhousie University Board of Governors, 1971 – 2009
Chair, Dalhousie University Board of Governors, 2000 – 2008
Secretary and Director, Landmark East School, 1978 – 2004
Federal Campaign Chair, Liberal Party, 2004, 2006 and 2011
Board of Governors, Atlantic School of Theology, 2001 – 2008
Director, Equisure Trust Company, 1984 – 2003
Director, Equisure Financial Management Limited, 1995 – 2003


Queen’s Counsel, 1983
Martindale-Hubbell rating: AV Preeminent® (highest peer rating)