Personal Representation

Personal Injury

After sustaining an injury, it is imperative to make sure you and your family are protected from the insurance companies whose only interest is limiting their exposure to a personal injury claim.  Gowen Rhoades Winograd & Silva, PLLC will provide you with the rigorous representation to help you obtain compensation from the negligent party. Our personal injury attorneys bring a wealth of experience with all types of personal injury claims, including:

  • Automobile accidents
  • Products liability
  • Medical and dental malpractice issues
  • Work related injuries

Criminal Defense

GRWS handles a diverse array of criminal matters. We represent clients in many areas including those charged with DUI offenses, drug possession and distribution, assaults, theft, sexual assault and weapon charges.  Facing criminal charges is a frightening time in an individual’s life and requires an attorney who understands the criminal justice system. Our attorneys are experienced in operating within state and federal criminal courts. Our team evaluates the case and helps our clients decide on the best path forward. We have tried hundreds of criminal cases and we make sure our clients receive excellent representation.

White Collar Criminal Defense

Our firm represents clients in all manner of white collar cases in state and federal courts. Members of this firm have handled a variety of complex matters for clients including those charged with bank fraud, bribery, money laundering, Espionage Act violations, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, structuring offenses, and illegal importation and misbranding of prescription drugs. One of the complications often associated with being the target of a government investigation in the white collar realm is the that the government often pursues parallel civil or administrative actions concurrently with a criminal investigation. Our firm handles these matters as well, assuring that our clients receive full-service representation covering all aspects of our clients’ potential liability.

Our firm represents clients in all phases of a white collar case, from the investigation stage through resolution whether by trial or plea negotiations, navigates the federal sentencing guidelines where necessary.

Security Clearance, Administrative Matters and Professional Disciplinary Matters

Living and working in the Washington, D.C. area involves dealing with any number of administrative agencies. These agencies often conduct their own investigations and proceedings, which can have significant financial, professional, and personal implications for our clients. Our firm represents clients in matters such as suspension and debarment hearings, revocation of security clearances, and litigation before the Merit Systems Protection Board. We also represent attorneys facing professional complaints and discipline.

School Discipline

Chris Gowen and Jesse Winograd have represented numerous college and graduate students facing disciplinary charges at their respective universities. The ramifications students face today are for more significant than those of years ago because of the collateral consequences associated with disciplinary charges.  Students in the District of Columbia are especially vulnerable to the collateral consequences because many will seek government employment and security clearances which can be negatively affected by a disciplinary finding.

In addition, and most significantly, universities are finding themselves in a significant bind because of the risk of losing their Title IX funding for sexual misconduct reports on campus.  The Title IX funding issue presents one of the most controversial legal issues in the country (see articles). Lawmakers with good intentions wanted to regulate the discipline of sexual misconduct on college campuses. However, in doing so, developed a system that punishes colleges and universities who do not show enough sexual misconduct discipline. This leads to massive disciplinary findings against innocent students for consensual sexual encounters.

Our firm not only represents students at the university discipline level but also takes the cases to the next level will sue the university for violating Federal law and basic due process standards. (See Articles for Recent case filed against Catholic University of America)

Too often students want to play lawyer in these hearings and fail to recognize the significance of the potential penalties they are facing. It is essential for students to understand the process and rules that each university employs, and to have legal assistance guiding them.

It should be noted that many colleges and universities do not allow the attorney to speak at the hearings. The attorney is only allowed to attend and assist the student through the hearing, but is often not allowed to question witnesses or present argument.  Our lawyers have developed an index card system to provide coaching to the students through the hearing so they can ask the questions a lawyer would ask if permitted. The system requires practice but when executed correctly allows the student to be far more prepared for the hearing.

Finally, it essential to remember that in many instances the trier of fact in these hearings are fellow students with limited legal training. It is important to present your case to them in a way that is respectful and honest, without trying to make technical legal arguments that essentially ask them to ignore the facts.

Our firm has handled school discipline cases at Georgetown, George Washington University, Catholic University of America and American University.

Employment Law

Under various federal and local laws, employment discrimination occurs when an employer takes an adverse action against an employee due to the employee’s:

  • race and color
  • national origin
  • religion
  • sex and gender identity
  • age
  • sexual orientation, or
  • disability

Under laws such as the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the DC Human Rights Act, or the Americans with Disabilities Act, an adverse action can take many forms, including termination, failure to hire, failure to promote, demotion and even disciplinary actions.

Unlike other lawsuits, a victim of discrimination must fulfill a several administrative requirements before even getting to a hearing or lawsuit. Our attorneys are well-versed in these administrative requirements, as well as the litigation process, and are here to assist you in stopping workplace discrimination. We will also seek any compensation that may be owed to you due to such discrimination.

  • Wage Claims

As an employee, you need to have piece of mind that you are getting paid for the work you perform. If an employer fails to properly pay you for work you have done or does not pay at all, there may be a claim. If you are in a service industry that depends on tips, you need to make sure your employer is not diverting wages that are yours. Our attorneys have experience assisting workers with wage claims, including claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and DC Minimum Wage Act.

  • Wrongful termination and whistle-blower claims

Wrongful termination occurs when an employee is terminated for an unlawful reason, usually an excuse that has no relation to one’s job performance. Unlawful reasons can include discrimination (see employment discrimination below), breach of contract, whistle-blower claims, Family Medical Leave Act claims, or a violation of an established public policy. Our attorneys have experience and familiarity with the laws in place to protect those who are wrongfully terminated, such as the Whistleblower Protection Act.

  • Workers Compensation 

If you are injured on the job, you may have the option of filing a workers’ compensation claim. A workers’ compensation claim is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits in exchange for waiving the right to sue the employer for negligence. Our attorneys determine a client’s eligibility and provide the strengths and weaknesses of your claim at no cost to the client.

  • Security Clearance

Whether you are a federal employee or a private contractor, being denied a federal security clearance can cost you your job or adversely alter your career path. The security clearance process can be quite burdensome depending on the agency and the level of clearance you are seeking. Our attorneys recommend an initial consult before you begin the process in order to prepare you for the process ahead of time. If the clearance level you are seeking requires a polygraph examination, we strongly advise preparing for the polygraph with our attorneys, which may save you significant time and money in a very ambiguous appeals process. If your clearance has been denied, our experienced attorneys can navigate the administrative hurdles of the process. We will develop an extensive written and oral appeal that will thoroughly cover the mitigating factors. In addition, our attorneys can develop a plan of action to rehabilitate your candidacy though counseling, training and other avenues.

Wills and Estate Planning

  • Wills

The financial security that is created for your family by having a will prepared can be invaluable. The creation of will is in most instances a simple and straight forward process and, therefore, the process should be affordable. Gowen Rhoades Winograd & Silva, PLLC attorneys will ensure that your family is protected and that your wishes are carried out for a reasonable fee.

  • Trusts

The creation of a trust for your children or other loved-ones is a safe and effective way of ensuring that your money will not be wasted and used for the specific purposes you desire. Whether, for example, you require a trust for college education expenses or the needs of someone with a disability, guidance and experience can help ensure that your financial assistance is properly given down the road.

  • Estates and Probate

If you or someone you know has an estate, Gowen Rhoades Winograd & Silva, PLLC can help manage the property, finances, and interests of that estate. Our firm works with certified financial planners to make sure that your estate is not only protected under the law, but is financially sound and profitable.

If there has been a death of a family member or loved-one, you need to ensure that the desires of the deceased are carried out. Gowen Group attorneys have experience in representing estates and beneficiaries of wills by utilizing the law and the court system for the betterment of their clients.

Civil Litigation

individuals or businesses.

  • Contract disputes
  • Lease disputes
  • Property disputes
  • Employment disputes