When John Kerry was appointed U.S. secretary of state, it created an open seat in the Senate, and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick filled it with a Northeastern alumnus. William “Mo” Cowan, L’94, a member of Northeastern’s Corporation, was sworn in as the state’s interim senator in February. Voters will choose Kerry’s permanent successor in a special election this June.

In his illustrious career, Cowan has held positions as Patrick’s chief of staff and chief legal counsel. He is a former member of the litigation section of the Boston-based law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glosky and Popeo, P.C., and the former president of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association. He was named a “Top 5 Massachusetts litigator” by Law & Politics magazine and a “40 Under 40” business leader by Boston Business Journal.

“Mo is a fantastic leader with a heartfelt commitment to public service,” says President Joseph E. Aoun. “He has that rare combination of deep policy expertise and the ability to build excellent working relationships with colleagues. These talents will serve him—and Massachusetts—well in the Senate.”

“I know the citizens of Massachusetts care about jobs, education, and affordable, high-quality healthcare, and I will work with those interests in mind every day,” says Cowan.

His Northeastern experience helped shape his career success, he says. “Northeastern is what brought me to Massachusetts, and I am thankful for the inspiration, lessons, and real-world experience I gained during the time I spent there,” Cowan says. “It is one of many pieces that helped bring me to where I am today.”


“Getting her real-time constructive criticism of my lawyering skills in their infancy was important in shaping the lawyer that I ultimately became.”
On his co-op with the Honorable Patti Saris of the Massachusetts State Trial Court

“We represented criminal defendants brought before the Palm Beach County authorities and tried cases, argued bail, and worked with the public
defenders in that area.”
On his co-op with the Palm Beach County (Fla.) Public Defender’s Office

“It helped me realize that as an advocate you often have to place personal feelings on the back burner to advocate for your client or to ensure that justice is done.
On his co-op with North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services