Sept. 16, 2020 - During his time as a University of Houston quarterback, preparation and film study were key elements of Cotton Turner's job.
The same attention to detail has benefitted the 2015 alumnus of University of Houston Law Center in his role as an energy attorney with Toeppich and Associates.
"I'm a meticulous guy," Turner said. "This job is all about leaving no stone unturned. It's like painting a picture or putting together pieces of a puzzle."
Turner represents clients in the energy sector in matters relating to oil and gas exploration, production, distribution and marketing. His practice primarily focuses on title examination and due diligence efforts for acquisitions and divestures. Part of his interest in oil and gas law stems from his father's work as a landman and his grandfather's career as an in-house attorney for Exxon.
"I like being in the oil and gas industry, and I've been around it my entire life," Turner said. "There aren't very many dramatic scenes in the courtroom. It's more problem solving and coming across title issues and giving your a client a solution for them. I enjoy having a big stack of papers in front me and sorting through title examinations, drilling opinions and who owns what."
Turner said his legal education from the Law Center has kept him prepared, especially the courses taught by faculty from the Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Center.
"I took just about every oil and gas law class that the Law Center offered. Professor Jacqueline Weaver's Texas oil and gas class was by far the most beneficial. Just the other I day I came across a retained acreage issue. I still have the outline from that class whenever I come across something. I also took an advanced oil and gas contract class that was hugely helpful. I draw upon those two classes to this day."
It wasn't until he suffered a football-related injury during his junior season that Turner seriously considered going to law school.
"We were playing UCLA at the Rose Bowl, and I was the second string quarterback," Turner said. "Case Keenum tore his ACL in the second quarter. I come into the game, and during the third quarter I shattered my clavicle. For the first time in my life, football was taken away.
"While my teammates were practicing, I was sitting in the library one night thinking what I was going to do when football was permanently taken away. When someone asked me what I wanted to do next, I couldn't give them a straight answer."
Turner spoke to his father and grandfather, and they both mentioned that getting a law degree could open many doors. After completing his undergraduate education at the C.T. Bauer
College of Business and gaining acceptance to the Law Center, it made for an easy decision to remain on campus.
"Houston is home, and it seems like every year the Law Center is climbing up all the national rankings," Turner said. "I knew the J.D. would be valuable, and on top of all of that, I've always been very proud to be a Houston Cougar.
"I came to UH around the time Renu Khator got there, and she's been a tour de force in her time at UH. Every time I come back, it's hard to believe. It's incredible how first class everything is, including the facilities. It makes you very proud to be an alum, and you wear it as a badge of honor."