Local attorney LeeAnna Dowan has been practicing law for the past 15 years in Elizabethtown, working from her downtown office by the Hardin County Justice Center. An alumnus of Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, Dowan said she enjoys the welcoming spirit of those who live in the area.
“There really is a genuine warmth among people,” she said. “They stay close to their heritage, so it means something to this community to be from Elizabethtown, to be part of Elizabethtown.”
Though Dowan now calls Elizabethtown home, her roots are in The Great White North. Born in California, Dowan spent much of her formative years growing up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Moving to the area in 1992, Dowan earned an associates degree from ECTC and a bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University. She then graduated from the University of Louisville’s Louis D. Brandeis School of Law in 2002.
Around this same time, Dowan began working as an instructor for Sullivan University. In fact, she balanced teaching while studying for the Kentucky bar exam.
Dowan continued teaching off-and-on with Sullivan until 2015, teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses in areas such as business law, information literacy and conflict management. She said her experience teaching gave her a better understanding of how to communicate with clients.
“The difference that made for me was learning how to explain the complex legal terminology and the complex facets of procedure to people that didn’t have that background,” she said.
Dowan Law Offices opened in 2004 and specializes in family law and criminal law. Though the office now has a staff of attorneys and legal assistants, Dowan initially operated the practice alone.
Remaining in the downtown area throughout the years, Dowan said it has been relieving to see the area’s recent revitalization.
“I was relieved to see it maintain the historical architecture, colors and style,” she said. “Those nuances are important to our community and our foundation.”
ECTC communication professor Carla Hornback, who had Dowan in class when she attended the college, said it has been a pleasure to see Dowan excel over the years.
“It has been a joy to watch her grow into the confident, accomplished and caring woman she is today,” she said.
In addition to her practice, Dowan also uses her legal experience to assist with the Hardin County Teen Court program, a peer-run diversion program for juveniles who commit low-level crimes. Members of teen court take on the roles of prosecutors, defense attorneys, jurors, bailiffs and clerks to determine disciplinary action.
Dowan has been involved with the Teen Court program since 2005, currently serving as commissioner for the program. As a commissioner, Dowan serves as a presiding judge over Teen Court hearings.
Dowan said regardless of the career field Teen Court participants pursue after high school, they learn plenty of valuable skills through the program.
“I’ve watched our Teen Court kids grow and be more confident in their public speaking and in their writing and analytical thoughts,” she said. “They’ve made great friends and they’ve made some life-long contacts.”
When she’s not working, one of Dowan’s preferred hobbies is playing the bass guitar. She said both of her parents performed music together in a big band-style ensemble in Calgary for about a decade, with her mother playing piano and her father playing clarinet and saxophone.
“I’m the only left-brained kid in a right-brained family,” she said.
Though Dowan eventually was inspired by her parents to play an instrument, she didn’t begin to pick up the bass until the 1990s. In addition to her passion for music, Dowan said she also enjoys sailing.
Dowan also has experience racing horses, taking part in barrel racing and pole racing. She said her interest in this hobby might have been influenced by the Calgary Stampede, an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival event held in Calgary each year.
In 2012, Dowan was inducted into ECTC’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni. Hornback said Dowan has proven to be a positive role model in the community.
“The pathway in life that LeeAnna walked has made her a wonderful role model for young women who struggle or perhaps doubt their worth or ability,” she said. “She personifies what it means to pursue your vision with intense determination while demonstrating love and generosity toward others.”