Thomas Cothran was born in Danville and raised in Central Kentucky. He attended the University of Kentucky for his Bachelor of Arts, and graduated magna cum laude. Thomas Cothran attended the University of Kentucky College of Law, graduating in the top 15% of the class. A former member of the Kentucky Law Journal's editorial board, he has worked for the Legislative Research Commission, the staff arm to the Kentucky General Assembly. Thomas Cothran worked for the Fayette County Family Court's First Division as a staff attorney. A recipient of the Kentucky Defense Counsel, Thomas Cothran has appeared in the media, including on the television show Character Matters.