After grad­u­ating from Duke Uni­ver­sity in North Car­olina, Cowan earned a law degree from North­eastern Uni­ver­sity in Mass­a­chu­setts. He remained in Boston after law school. There, he emerged as a pop­ular mentor for young black pro­fes­sionals and was often tapped to help diver­sify the city’s insti­tu­tions (he once helped Mitt Romney iden­tify lawyers of color who would make good judges), according to the Globe.

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