Our Story

Edward L. Dowd, Sr. (1918 – 2004)

The law firm now known as Dowd & Dowd, P.C., was started in 1957 by Edward L. Dowd, Sr., (1918 – 2004).  Edward L. Dowd, Sr. earned his Doctor of Law Degree in 1942 from St. Louis University and Washington University before entering the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a Special Agent.  Edward L. Dowd, Sr. also served as the Circuit Attorney of St. Louis and President of the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners.

Edward L. Dowd’s father was the late Major Edward P. Dowd. Major Dowd was a member of the St. Louis Police Department for 48 years when he retired as the Night Chief of Police. Mr. Dowd was the grandson of Sergeant Edward Dowd, an Irish immigrant, who was a Mounted Policeman for the City of St. Louis for 42 years.

While in the FBI, Mr. Dowd worked on several spy cases including the “Countess Grace Buchanon DeNeen” case where he followed a German spy ending in her arrest and conviction in Detroit in 1944. He also worked on numerous bank robbery cases and kidnapping cases in California and Utah. He received numerous commendations from J. Edgar Hoover for outstanding investigative work.

While in San Francisco in 1945 surveilling Communist spies who were trying to steal atomic bomb secrets, Mr. Dowd met Carol Thorlaksson, the daughter of Rev. Steingrimur and Carolina Thorlaksson. The Rev. Thorlaksson was a Lutheran Missionary to Japan. He and his family had been evacuated from Japan to the United States in 1941 prior to the bombing of Pear Harbor. Mr. Dowd received a new assignment requiring him to leave San Francisco. Before leaving he and Mrs. Dowd were married in 1945.

Mr. Dowd resigned from the FBI in April of 1946 to serve as a Trial Assistant in the Circuit Attorney’s office where he prosecuted many of the major criminal cases in St. Louis including the “Hot Rod Moore” case, the “Roy Hadley” murder case, the “Shorts Burglar” case, and the “Tower Grove” murder case where Mr. Dowd obtained a conviction resulting in the imposition of the death penalty for the murder of a young woman. He also interviewed and investigated the defendants in  the “Bobby Greenlease” kidnapping and murder case.

In 1950 he was elevated to First Assistant Circuit Attorney. In 1952 he ran for Circuit Attorney against the Democratic machine and with only one regular Democratic club endorsement, he was elected Circuit Attorney of St. Louis by the overwhelming vote of 240,000 votes. His plurality of 90,000 votes sets a record for a citywide office for the largest electoral plurality in the history of the City. That record still stands.

Mr. Dowd was considered a pioneer in civil rights. While serving as Circuit Attorney, Mr. Dowd appointed Theodore McMillian as his First Assistant. McMillian later became a Circuit Judge in the City, an Appellate Judge for the State of Missouri and who now sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Mr. Dowd also appointed Clyde Cahill as an Assistant Circuit Attorney who became a Circuit Judge and a United States District Judge; Curtis Crawford who became a Member of the United States Parole Commission; and George E. Draper, II who became a successful trial lawyer and Judge in Washington, D.C. Mr. Dowd was succeeded in the Circuit Attorney’s office by Senator Thomas Eagleton. Mr. Dowd and Senator Eagleton became and remained life-long friends.

“Ed Dowd was a vigorous straight shooter as circuit attorney,” said former Sen. Thomas f. Eagleton, a friend and Mr. Dowd’s successor as circuit attorney. “One always knew Ed Dowd was thinking because he never equivocated. He never flimflammed. You could absolutely rely on Ed Dowd.”

Mr. Dowd lectured in law at the St. Louis University School of Law from 1956 to 1963 in Criminal law with particular emphasis on the police procedures necessary for protecting the rights of the accused. He was the author of articles on “Search and Seizure” and the Police Handbook which describes correct Police procedures for how Police are to observe the rights of suspects and the elements of felony crimes.

In 1964, Mr. Dowd was appointed as the President of the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners by the Governor of Missouri. He commanded a force of 2500 officers and received the “Man of the Year Award” in 1968 from the St. Louis Argus, in recognition of his record in promoting diversity in the police department. During his tenure as Police Commissioner, Mr. Dowd increased the number of African American police officers by 300%. Mr. Dowd was also praised for protecting St. Louis from the riots that occurred in almost all major cities nationwide during the volatile summers of 1967 and 1968 including Los Angeles, Detroit and Chicago.

In March of 1968, Mr. Dowd decided to run for Lieutenant Governor of Missouri in the August Primary election, this time against the Democratic machine in Kansas City. He lost by a razor thin margin. His campaign was coordinated by a young man named Richard A. Gephardt. “I remember very well that he was a very great candidate,” Congressman Gephardt said. “In the end, it didn’t work, but he could be a Democrat who could draw votes from a great spectrum of people, Republicans and independents, largely because of his great background in law enforcement. He was always like a father to me, and mentored and helped me.”

Immediately following the Lieutenant Governor’s race, Mr. Dowd decided he would be a candidate for Governor of Missouri in 1972. He entered that race against the sitting Lieutenant Governor William Morris and the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph P. Teasdale, among others. He won that primary election by 120,000 votes and became the Democratic nominee for Governor. He lost the general election to Senator Christopher S. Bond. Following the 1972 election Mr. Dowd returned to the full time private practice of law at Dowd & Dowd.

Mr. Dowd was the Past Chairman of the Former FBI Agents Association of St. Louis, Past President of the Missouri Prosecuting Attorneys Association, Former State Director of the National Association of County and Prosecuting Attorneys and the Past Chairman of the Lawyers’ Committee for Revising the Criminal Code and Expediting Criminal Trials.

Mr. Dowd received numerous awards for public service including the Chamber of Commerce Award for “Outstanding Young Man of the Year”, the Reader’s Digest Distinguished Service Award, the National Police Officer’s Hall of Fame Award, the North American Association of Alcoholism Award for Establishing the First Police Operated Detoxification Center in the country, the McBride High School Hall of Fame Award and in 1997 Governor Mel Carnahan honored Mr. Dowd by naming him as a member of the Academy of Missouri Squires.

In 1985 the Lawyers’ Association of St. Louis awarded Mr. Dowd its annual “Award of Honor” in recognition of his accomplishments as a lawyer and his record of honorable service to the public and to the legal profession.

Robert G. Dowd, Sr. (1920-1990)

In 1948, after serving in World War II with the United States Marines Corps, Robert G. Dowd, Sr. earned his Doctor of Law Degree from St. Louis University School of Law.  In 1957, Robert G. Dowd, Sr. joined his brother Ed in the practice of law, after a 4 year solo practice.  Judge Dowd handled a wide variety of cases for the newly formed firm of Dowd & Dowd, Attorneys at Law. He previously served as Asst. City Counselor for the City of St. Louis; elected and served as Magistrate Judge, City of St. Louis; appointed by the Mayor of the City of St. Louis as Municipal Judge and served as such for 5 years. In 1965, Judge Dowd left Dowd & Dowd upon his appointment as Judge of the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis by Governor Warren E. Hearnes.

In 1969, Governor Hearnes elevated Judge Dowd to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, where he served from 1969 to 1990.  During his tenure on the Court of Appeals, he was twice elected as its Chief Judge.  In addition, he served a number of times as specially appointed judge on the Missouri Supreme Court. Judge Dowd was appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court as the first chair of the newly created Commission on Retirement, Removal and Discipline of Judges. He served as Chair of the Judicial Finance Commission and numerous other professional committees. He also served as Chair of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Scholar-Athlete Committee as well as numerous other community-oriented committees including Board of Directors, YMCA; Chair, Board of Directors, Catholic Youth Council; Board of Directors, Multiple Sclerosis Society; Board of Directors, Dismas House; Board of Trustees, Quincy University; Advisory Board, Daughters of St. Paul.  In 1972 he received the Award of Honor by the Lawyer’s Association of St. Louis; in 1985 he received the Outstanding Appellate Award by the Missouri Association of Trial Lawyers. Among numerous other honors and awards, he received the Alumni Merit Award of St. Louis University School of Law; The Missouri Bar Spurgeon-Smithson Award; First Recipient of the St. Louis Bar Foundation Award; Honorary Doctor of Laws-Quincy University; Daughters of St. Paul Man of the Year Award; Catholic Youth Council Gold Boot Award; Inductee, St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame; and Namesake and Founder, Judge Dowd Soccer League.

At the time of his retirement from the bench in 1990, Judge Dowd had served 32 years as a judge and served on every level of the judiciary.  Upon his death, St. Louis University School of Law formed the Judge Robert G. Dowd, Sr. Appellate Advocacy Award, given annually to the winners of the St. Louis University School of Law Moot Court Competition.

When Judge Dowd retired, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch declared in a feature story that “Judge Dowd was the Stan Musial of the Bench”.

Other past members of Dowd & Dowd include:

  • Edward L. Dowd, Jr., a former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri and currently a federal litigation lawyer in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • The Honorable David L. Dowd, former Assistant County Counselor, Administrative Law Judge, and Chief Administrative Law Judge, who is now serving as a Circuit Court Judge for the City of St. Louis since his appointment in 2000. Judge Dowd has also served as Presiding Judge of the Twenty Second Judicial Circuit and has carried on his Father’s tradition of service as Commissioner of the Judge Dowd Soccer League since 1996.  judgedowdsoccer.com
  • The Honorable James R. Dowd, a former Circuit Court Judge for the City of St. Louis, a former judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri, and currently an appellate litigation attorney in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • The Honorable Robert G. Dowd, Jr., a former Circuit Court Judge for the City of St. Louis who is now serving on the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri since his appointment in 1994.
  • James M. Dowd, son of Robert G. Dowd, Sr. was recently appointed to the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri.

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