James Alexandre Cotton was born November 22, 1939 to James Cotton and Myrtle Lallis in Ft. Riley, Kansas. James completed his A.A. Degree at Mesa College (1961), B.A. at The Colorado College (1963), and, Juris Doctorate at the University of Colorado in 1970. Before going to law School, James served in the United States Armed Forces as a Captain in the Army during the Vietnam War. Upon graduation from Law School he joined the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) Law Department. During his career he had assignments at the World Headquarters in Armonk, New York; Poughkeepsie, New York; Boulder, Colorado; Tucson, Arizona and Houston, Texas.
After Houston, he returned to the World Headquarters in Armonk as Senior Attorney and Securities Law Specialist on the Corporate Legal Staff. In March 1987 he joined the Real Estate and Construction Division of IBM taking on regional responsibility for IBM’s Southeastern and Midwestern Regional Offices. He was promoted to Corporate Staff Counsel in 1990. At his retirement on December 31, 1995 his responsibilities included all commercial leasing for the IBM Company in the continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii.
In 1985 he received the Law Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievements Corporate Counsel from the University of Colorado School of Law. James has been recognized in Who’s Who in American Law (5th Edition 1987/88).
James was the first African American to retire from the IBM Law Department on December 31, 1995.
Since retiring from IBM, James worked in academia as Associate Professor of Law at Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law. He taught business Associations, Corporate Practice Seminar, Securities Regulation, and Unfair Trade Practices. James also served as Interim Associate Dean of Thurgood Marshall School of Law during academic year 2002-2003. James Retired from TSU School of Law in 2011. James’ affiliations include: the American Bar Association; National Bar Association; and, Houston Bar Association.
James was a Veteran, an athlete, avid reader, scholar and world traveler. James was a family man and at his sunset, had been married 39 1/2 years to Marjorie Evangeline Keene Cotton, Esq., whom he loved and leaves behind along with 2 daughters: Lallis A.C. Jackson, MBA and Allison M. Cotton, PhD; 1 son: William James Keene Cotton, 2 step daughters: Delie and Tonia; 1 Son-In-Law: James Allen Jackson; and, 4 grandchildren: Tyler (24), Brendan (22), Joshua (14) and, Nicholas (10).
James loved his family with all his heart, and he will be honored, loved and missed eternally. James
leaves behind a whole host of cousins, family members, colleagues and friends who will remember him fondly.