UF Law welcomes new faculty and staff
Compiled by Jenna Box and Shannon Kaestle
As the academic year takes off, the University of Florida Levin College of Law welcomes new faculty and staff to its campus. Karen Burke, Grayson McCouch, Darren Hutchinson, Todd Venie and Matthew Stubbington bring expertise and diverse backgrounds to assist law students in areas from research to finances to the classroom.
Karen Burke and Grayson McCouch
New UF Law Professors Karen Burke, Richard B. Stephens Eminent Scholar, and Grayson McCouch, Gerald A. Sohn Research Scholar, are an example of this. As scholarly and life partners, Burke and McCouch have published many articles together while cultivating impressive careers in academia.
“This collaboration goes back a long time,” Burke said. “It’s honestly been a fun thing to do – he’s a stickler for clarity of expression.”
Burke and McCouch accepted full-time tenured faculty positions at UF Law this fall after serving as visiting professors from the University of San Diego School of Law.
Burke graduated from Smith College with a bachelor’s degree and later from Harvard University with a master of arts and a Ph.D. She met McCouch while at Harvard, where he earned his bachelor of arts. They moved to California together to attend Stanford Law School, where they earned their J.D.’s. After California, the pair moved back to Boston to work in a firm together. During this time they also attended Boston University, where they earned masters of law in tax law.
Burke teaches partnership taxation, corporate taxation and federal tax research. McCouch teaches estates and trusts, taxation of gratuitous transfers and estate planning.
In a summer interview, the pair said they were looking forward to moving to Gainesville permanently.
“I really like the atmosphere,” McCouch said. “I think it’s a very dynamic and intellectually stimulating place.”
“I see a lot of injustice in the law,” Hutchinson said. “I want to teach students to think of law in a way that promotes social justice and social change; I didn’t see much of that in law school.”
Hutchison, an east Gainesville native, has joined the college as the Stephen C. O’Connell Professor of Law. He received his degree in economics and political science from the University of Pennsylvania and graduated from Yale Law School with a juris doctor in 1993.
Hutchinson said he knew he wanted to be a professor upon graduating law school, but he spent four years in practice – two years as a law clerk for the U.S. District Court and two years as a litigation associate for Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, both in New York City.
Prior to accepting a permanent position to teach at UF Law, Hutchinson served as a visiting professor at Washington College of Law, American University, University of Pennsylvania College of Law and eventually at UF Law for the 2012-13 academic year.
Hutchinson said he looks forward to training lawyers who will go on to practice in Florida. He said it will be interesting to know that many of the future lawyers in the state will have gone through his class.
When not working, Hutchinson said he enjoys collecting fine wine, reading, cooking, taking nature walks and spending time with his two dogs – both are Labradors.
“They’re like my children,” Hutchinson said.
He started out teaching Latin-American and ballroom dance in Venice, Fla., which he referred to as “Dancing with the Stars type stuff.” He left the dance profession and enrolled at UF in 1998 when he decided he wanted to stay in the country permanently. He went on to earn both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sport management at UF.
He initially worked in the UF financial aid office and then in Santa Fe College’s financial aid office before he decided to come back to the university this year.
Stubbington said he looks forward to helping law students with their educational finances. “You’re always trying to help students navigate the financial aid process,” he said. “That is all there is to financial aid – helping students finance their education.”
When he is not working, Stubbington said he likes to spend time with his wife, Charleen, and his two sons, Nathan, 5, and Austin, 2. He also does color commentary on radio for UF’s home soccer games.
Todd Venie has a history with libraries.
Recently, he has joined UF Law’s Legal Information Center as the new head of research and instruction. In this position, he will manage all of the LIC’s reference, instructional and faculty services.
Venie spent his last five years in Washington, D.C., serving as a reference librarian at the Georgetown University Law Library. In 2008, he earned his master’s degree in library science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he worked as the graduate assistant in the law library. Venie also has a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, where he majored in history and political science, as well as a juris doctor from The Ohio State University.
Before he became a librarian, Todd worked as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Fairfield County, Ohio, where he prosecuted adult felony cases and advised the county offices about civil matters.