Coming home

Southeast grad brings law degree back to Goshen County

TORRINGTON – The law is all about people for newly-minted attorney Colby Sturgeon.

“I always thought, if I was a lawyer, I would want to come back (to Goshen County) and help the people here,” Sturgeon said last week, sitting in his virtually-empty office at the Jones and Eddington law firm in Torrington.

“I’ve always been interested in Goshen County,” he said. “It’s always been home to me and I’ve really liked the people here.”

Sturgeon, a 2010 graduate of Southeast High School in Yoder, learned Sept. 4 he’d passed his examinations and been admitted to the Wyoming Bar Association. He’ll be sworn in locally in the Goshen County Court last week, then attend the gala swearing in ceremony, scheduled for Sept. 28 at the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Growing up on a ranch between Yoder and Torrington, Sturgeon embraced the rural lifestyle of Goshen County. In addition to football, basketball and track, he was active in high school rodeo competitions, continuing that passion into his first two years of college at Eastern Wyoming College on the rodeo team there.

Though he graduated from EWC and, later, the University of Wyoming with degrees in agribusiness, it was while he was at the community college he got his first introduction to the study of the law. From that point, he said, he was hooked.

“My original plan, I was thinking about doing feedlot work,” Sturgeon said. “I thought that would be pretty interesting, possibly ending up in ranching.

“Then I went up there (to EWC) and took some classes – particularly some law classes – that I really liked,” he said. “That’s when I originally decided I wanted to be a lawyer and I turned my focus that way.”

It wasn’t that he’d lost his interest in agriculture or ranching, he said. It’s just that his passions had changed.

“A lot of it was, I found (the law) really interesting,” Sturgeon said. “I just was not quite as interested in some of the (agribusiness classes).

“I mean, I liked them, they made sense to me,” he said. “But it was never, ‘Oh, this is really cool, I like this.’ But I felt that way with the law classes.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree in agribusiness from UW, Sturgeon took a year off, working for Goshen County Construction. But law school was still in his mind. So, he applied and was accepted to the program at UW in Laramie to make his dream come true.

During breaks in the program, Sturgeon sought summer internships, first with Goshen County Attorney Kenneth Brown in Torrington and, later, with personal-injury attorney Gerry Spence in Jackson. He basically “got his feet wet” under Brown, learning about the judicial system from the inside. With Spence, though, he plunged into the deep end as part of the team on a high-profile personal injury case, he said.

For the future, Sturgeon said he has no plans to practice law anywhere but here in Goshen County. For now, he’ll be working with Jim Eddington, eventually striking out on his own while still sharing office space at the Jones and Eddington firm, he said.

Sturgeon isn’t interested in focusing solely on one specific area of the law, though, he said. For him, that’s not what being a lawyer is about.

“What interests me most is the people,” he said. “It’s the fact you come to see me with a problem, it’s important to you, it’s interesting to you, and how can we make that work.

“That’s what interest me in the law,” Sturgeon said. “Whether you were injured in a car accident or you’re trying to start your own business, you have this need and that’s what I like the best.”

Sturgeon’s still maintained his love of rodeo. During the summer of 2017, for example, he competed in more than 70 Wyoming Rodeo Association events as a calf roper and team roper. And he can be found most weeks at the regular Thursday roping events at the Goshen County Pavilion in Torrington.

And Sturgeon thinks he may have found a segment of the population he could sink his spurs into representing.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people and not a lot of rodeo people know a lot of lawyers,” Sturgeon said. “I’m kind of excited about that, hopefully being able to provide a service to them when they’ve never really known anybody in the industry.”

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