Career Spotlight Imogene Cathey (JD 99), Assistant General Counsel, University of Florida
When she arrived in Gainesville as a first-year law student at the University of Florida, Imogene Cathey knew only that she wanted to be a lawyer. What type of lawyer she wanted to be, Cathey didn’t know.
“I didn’t come from a family of lawyers, I didn’t know what it meant to be a litigator, I didn’t know what it meant to be a transactional attorney, I didn’t know anything about the law, really,” she said. “So, I came here with a very open mind, not with any pre-set objectives, other than obtaining a law degree.”
A law degree in itself, she thought, would open up a lot of opportunities. And when those opportunities came, Cathey seized upon them. Among her activities while in law school, Cathey was active in the Black Law Students Association, an involvement that eventually helped lead her to landing her first job.
Early in her second semester, she attended an Alumni Reunion Weekend, held in conjunction with a meeting of the Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association, where she met an attorney at a reception at the Harn Museum. That attorney turned out to be the hiring partner at the Trenam-Kemker law firm in Tampa. Cathey followed up that meeting with a letter and resume and later that semester interviewed with the firm, eventually landing a summer position.
After earning her law degree, Cathey was hired as an associate at the firm, and later worked at the national firm of Shook, Hardy & Bacon.
While in private practice, Cathey represented employers throughout the country in various matters, including claims of unlawful discrimination, issues involving the Family and Medical Leave Act, and contract claims. Today, she is an assistant general counsel for UF specializing primarily in labor and employment matters.