Professor Vance L. Cowden was born April 15, 1949, in Pittsburgh, PA, to parents Ralph V. Cowden and Frances G. Cowden. He received his B.A. in History from Waynesburg College, Waynesburg, PA, in 1971 and his J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1974.
He began his teaching career as an associate professor in clinical legal studies at USC School of Law. He served in many capacities while at USC including former staff attorney, assistant director and director of the Corrections Clinic, clinical teacher, and acting director of Clinical Education. In 1988, he became a professor of law at the USC School of Law. In 1992 and 1993, he was a visiting professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law summer trial advocacy program.
Prof. Cowden was a member of the American Bar Association, SC Bar, Richland County Bar Association and the Clinical Legal Education Association. He served on the USC Faculty Grievance Committee, SC Bar Task Force on Justice for All, Criminal Drafting Committee for SC Uniform Jury Charge Project and on numerous committees of the American Bar Association. He served on the Lay Advisory Committee at Midlands Technical College from 1989 until 1993 and was on the board of trustees for Justice 360 from 1998 until 2014.
He published several articles and contributed to the South Carolina Civil Trial Techniques Handbook, Chapter 4 — Direct Examination (1997) and the South Carolina Criminal Trial Techniques Handbook, Chapter 4 — Direct Examination (1998).
Prof. Vance L. Cowden died on March 29, 2016. He is survived by his wife, Mary Jane Cowden; his daughter, Adriene L. Melcher (Erick); grandson, Connor V. Byers; step-grandchildren, Ally Melcher and Jack Melcher; and his brother-in- law, Dr. Ross H. Bayard.