Lewis Turner, a real estate and litigation lawyer at Hogan Lovells’ Colorado Springs office, was born in Montana and earned degrees in business management and economics from Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash. He applied for law school in 2010 and was accepted to the University of Colorado Law School. Turner initially wanted to become a judge advocate and was even accepted as an officer candidate for the Marines in Quantico, Va. A leg injury during boot camp, however, redirected his life’s course and took him from Boulder to Colorado Springs, where he now lives with his wife, Rachel, and their 8-month-old son, Ryan.
How did you get to Colorado Springs?
During college I had friends from Colorado Springs and Boulder. In the winter we’d drive down for ski trips and that sparked my interest in Colorado.
And you got your undergraduate degree in Spokane?
Yes, I went to Whitworth [University], a small private school. After I graduated I had the unique experience of managing a small luxury resort in downtown Spokane. It was a wonderful experience and one I couldn’t pass up. I wanted to see what I could learn from that. I did that for a couple years, but in college I’d always had an interest in going to law school. During my time in the business world, I had some encounters with attorneys and I grew to appreciate the unique role they had in business and how they help businesses and clients problem-solve.
Talk about the law you practice.
Right now I’m in litigation and real estate. As a litigator we represent a wide variety of clients in civil matters. We’ve got what I think are some of the very best attorneys in the state. Hogan Lovells is one of the largest firms in the world. We have about 40 offices worldwide and 2,500 attorneys. Litigation is very broad, but the big-firm resources we have allow us to cover the gamut of issues. Chances are we have a resident expert for whatever issue a client in Colorado Springs may have. But at the same time, because we’re one office internationally, we’re able to work on issues outside of Colorado Springs as well. I think that’s a big benefit for our clients in Colorado because we can take those bigger, more sophisticated deals we work on and translate them back to Colorado Springs.
How do law and business go together?
At the end of the day, as lawyers we provide a professional service. While our clients may have business interests, as lawyers we have to advise them about potential outcomes, but we make recommendations too. Our responsibility as attorneys is to get to know the business and the clients behind the business. By doing that you can fully understand where your client is coming from. That’s one of the core competencies. The other is that we have to be the experts on all things legal. You have to gain the knowledge to know when there’s an issue, but you also have to be anticipating what could happen.
Real estate and litigation seem like two distinct branches of law.
The firm breaks us into specialties like that. Technically I’m in the litigation department, which is what we do a lot of here. We also have one of the greatest real estate attorneys in the state, David Isbell, who’s been practicing here a long time.
Over the past year I’ve tended to be more interested in the real estate matters, so I’m transitioning more to real estate. I’ve noticed in real estate there’s a benefit to my litigation background because I can see where things may go wrong. I can identify issues before they turn into something larger.
Does Colorado have unique legal issues in real estate?
I think the issues are pretty common no matter where you are, whether you’re dealing with a billion-dollar transaction for a massive sports arena or a ranch in Colorado, the same issues arise.
And you were recently involved in one of those billion-dollar deals?
Yes, my firm represented Onexim Sports and Entertainment [which recently acquired the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and their arena, the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, N.Y.]. My scope to start was pretty small and discreet. I was asked to work on some leasing issues. But it turned out my role quickly expanded and I became part of the core deal team, which kept an eye on the deal as a whole.
What are your greatest professional challenges?
You have to be constantly thinking about your clients’ interests. You have to be constantly aware of every action your client could be taking, whether in a deal or an ongoing litigation or arbitration case.
You’re new here. What are your opinions of Colorado Springs?
I think Colorado Springs’ greatest days are ahead of it. I think it has the intangibles. We’re in a beautiful setting and I think the people we have here means we’re poised to do great things.
One reason I chose Colorado Springs as a young lawyer starting my career — I had two things in mind: One was, where can I go to be successful. But the second was, where do I go to raise a family. Colorado Springs was unique because it fit both of them. I think Colorado Springs is going to continue to grow and thrive and I think we’re on the right track.