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Why I Give: David Copeland (’82) of Denver

November 2016


It is not often that successful Texas Tech alums consider their fondest law-school memory to be skipping class. But for David Copeland, skipping one class in particular ranks at the top of his Tech Law memories.

“The nice spring day, yes, there was one in 1979, that Janet Scivally and I decided to cut Professor Woods’ Civil Procedure class to go the park,” Copeland recalled. “And we walked right into him as we exited the front door.”

Copeland also recalls he and Janet were the only two students called on in Professor Woods’ next class, but that only seems to add to the fondness of the memory.

Copeland and Scivally eventually got married, which Copeland considers to be one of his greatest successes tied to law school.

“I owe everything I have achieved professionally to my experiences and law degree from Texas Tech Law,” Copeland said. “As well as personally, since I met Janet there and we later married and have three kids.”

Copeland, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary at SM Energy, has plenty of great stories from his time in law school, which range from playing intermural sports to creating lasting friendships with people he still works with today.

Despite the fun he had in law school, Copeland remembers the expenses associated with being a law student, which is why he gives back to Texas Tech Law whenever he can.

“I did not have any money while a student and know how even a little helps,” Copeland said. “Texas Tech Law needs significant alumni support to compete in a difficult time, especially with growing competition for students and professors, and students need help to pay for school expenses.”

Copeland has found numerous ways to give back to Texas Tech Law, including an endowed energy-law scholarship and an endowed professorship in memory of his beloved wife Janet. Copeland also makes it a point to encourage others to give back. In one instance he rallied the friends and family of the late Bill Browder to create an honorarium in his name that benefitted Texas Tech Law.

Copeland is quick to credit Texas Tech Law for many of his successes, but Texas Tech Law is now able to thank Copeland for helping ensure its success in the future.

“My family has been blessed by the opportunities afforded me through my career, all made possible solely by my law degree,” Copeland said. “We are obligated to give back where we can, and it feels good to do so.”

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