Faculty Retirements

AT THIS SPRING’S retirement luncheon, UF Law faculty celebrated the contributions and accomplishments of retiring colleagues. Together, the honorees gave 175 years of outstanding teaching, scholarship and service to the law school and legal communities.

Retiring faculty, like graduating seniors who become alumni, continue to be valued members of the UF Law community and are invited and encouraged to remain active in law school activities. The leadership of emeriti faculty and alumni is instrumental in the law school’s mission to enhance its national and international profile.


Professor Cohn joined the faculty in 1977 and quickly established his reputation as a national and international scholar in corporate, securities and franchise law. He is the author of a principal treatise in securities law, Securities Counseling for Small and Emerging Companies, and the leading treatise on Florida’s business law statutes and case law. He also wrote numerous articles and book chapters and continues to be a prolific scholar. His latest article, The Dragon and the Eagle: Reforming China’s Securities IPO Laws in the U.S. Model, Pros and Cons (with Professor Miao Yinzhi) is forthcoming in the Washington University Global Studies Law Review.

Cohn, a Samuel T. Dell Research Scholar Emeritus, also was an outstanding and highly respected teacher and mentor. Dean Laura A. Rosenbury noted that alumni are quick to single out Cohn as an influence on their careers.

“I’ve heard from so many alumni who praise Stu for introducing them to the subject of their current practice — corporate and securities law — and for his ongoing work with The Florida Bar Business Law Section to bring coherence to state legislation,” Rosenbury said.

Nina Lacevic (JD 08) is one of those alumni. She said Cohn was among the influences that led to her work as general counsel for a national retail financial firm.

“I remember our very first day in his class. He said something I have never forgotten. He said that companies and businesses do not really exist. What really matters is the people and the relationships they create,” Lacevic said. “The people are the business. Those relationships are what business is all about. I think of that statement so often because it goes to the heart of the matter — people ultimately do business with and select their lawyers based on relationships and trust.”

Cohn went above and beyond the call for service, working on numerous state-level bar committees crafting business legislation. Within the law school, he willingly served on faculty committees and also served as associate dean for international programs from 2002-2014.

“He was a colleague we all knew we could count on,” said Sharon Rush, the associate dean for faculty development.

“I have been privileged to work with an outstanding and dedicated group of teachers, scholars and support staff during my 39 years here,” Cohn said. “We have a great law school and the future is bright.”

As an emeritus professor, Cohn shows no signs of slowing down. Not only is he continuing to research and write, he was also recently appointed a distinguished visiting professor at Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing, where he is collaborating with Chinese academics on recommendations regarding the reform of China’s securities market.

Cohn holds law degrees from Oxford University and Yale University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.


George R. “Bob” Dekle Sr. (JD 73) joined the faculty in 2006 following a long career as a Florida prosecutor. At UF Law, he taught the Criminal Prosecution Clinic, Florida Criminal Procedure and Prosecutorial Ethics.

During his career, Dekle published seven books, including Prosecution Principles: A Clinical Handbook and The Case against Christ: A Critique of the Prosecution of Jesus, and in 2016 coauthored The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case: A Critical Analysis of the Trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann with James M. Dedman III. He has continued writing since his retirement, most recently publishing Prairie Defender: The Murder Trials of Abraham Lincoln.

“Bob was extraordinary in that his talents in the law ranged wide and deep,” said UF Law Associate Dean Amy Mashburn, “Not only was he a skilled prosecutor who became a skilled teacher, but he also was a prolific legal writer.”

Dekle has been a favorite source of state and national media reporting on criminal courts. Students and reporters have taken advantage of Dekle’s extensive knowledge of procedure and litigation techniques, which includes prosecution and defense from criminal traffic to capital murder. Dekle is also known for one very big case, the same case that was the subject of his 2011 book, The Last Murder: The Investigation, Prosecution, and Execution of Ted Bundy. Before joining UF Law, Dekle received a lifetime achievement award from the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association for his work in continuing legal education for prosecutors.

Michael Friel joined the UF Law faculty in 1987 and served as the director of the Graduate Tax Program from 1988 to 2016.

As director, Friel led UF Law’s signature program, which has consistently ranked No. 1 among public universities and No. 3 overall in the most recent U.S. News and World Report ranking. He stepped down as director in 2016, but has continued to teach tax classes.

“Mike was the heart and soul of the Graduate Tax Program for over two decades,” Rosenbury said, “recruiting students, connecting them with employers and handling so many other student needs.”

Friel did not confine himself to administrative duties during his 30 years as a UF Law professor. He is a co-author of the textbook Taxation of Individual Income, now in its 11th edition. He also co-authored Understanding Federal Income Taxation, which is in its fourth edition; the treatise Modern Estate Planning; and the forthcoming textbook Taxation of Partnerships and Partners. Friel has written on numerous federal tax topics and lectured at tax institutes in the U.S. and abroad. He has taught a wide range of tax courses to J.D. and LL.M. students.

One of Friel’s frequent collaborators and co-authors, J. Martin Burke, professor emeritus at the University of Montana School of Law, praised Friel’s scholarship in the July 2016 issue of the Florida Law Review.

“A deep and clear thinker, Professor Friel never ceases to impress me with his insights regarding challenging tax issues and the means of explaining and illustrating the application of complex tax concepts,” Burke wrote.

Friel once explained that as he took the helm of the tax program he kept telling himself: “Don’t screw it up.” It’s an observation that points to Friel’s characteristic modesty as he managed the nation’s premier public university tax program.

“Professor Friel is the consummate professional distinguished by his generosity of spirit, commitment to service, compassion, energy, high ethical standards, brilliance and humility,” Burke wrote.

Friel earned his LL.M. from New York University School of Law, his J.D. from Harvard Law School and his B.A. from Harvard College.

Martin J. McMahon Jr., the James J. Freeland Eminent Scholar in Taxation and Professor of Law, retired from active teaching at the end of the 2016-2017 academic year. McMahon is a national tax policy expert who has served as a mainstay of the UF Law tax program since 1997. He spent his last year on the faculty serving as director of the Graduate Tax Program.

McMahon served as editor-in-chief of the Florida Tax Review for six years. He has published over 50 law review articles, a treatise — Federal Income Taxation of Individuals with co-authors Boris Bittker and Lawrence Zelenak — and multiple editions of four textbooks — Federal Income Taxation, Federal Income Taxation of Business Organizations, Federal Income Taxation of Partnerships and S Corporations, and Federal Income Taxation of Corporations, co-authored with the late Paul McDaniel, Daniel Simmons, and various other co-authors. McMahon also made more than 200 continuing legal education presentations nationwide and in numerous other countries.

McMahon taught at the University of Kentucky from 1979 to 1997 and was a visiting professor at the University of Virginia for the 1982-1983 academic year. He was professor-in-residence in the Office of Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service in 1986 and 1987.

Dean Laura A. Rosenbury praised McMahon’s influence during the spring faculty retirement celebration.

“Much of Marty’s work consists of the technical analysis that has made our graduate program one of the very best in the world,” Dean Rosenbury said. “But that technical analysis has frequently been accompanied by bold policy proposals befitting of someone who studied socialist and communist economic systems during college.”

Professor McMahon received an LL.M. in taxation from Boston University Law School, a J.D. from Boston College Law School, and a B.A. in economics from Rutgers University.

Since joining the faculty in 1975, Professor Nagan, a Samuel T. Dell Research Scholar Emeritus, has devoted his research and scholarship to issues related to global peace-building. Nagan, who served as chair of Amnesty International USA, has pioneered solutions to conflicts across international lines, championing inclusive standards and principles rooted in international human rights law. He became a leading scholar on the legal aspects of the apartheid regime in South Africa, and his article on apartheid sanctions is still the leading article in the field.

Nagan has also produced leading scholarship on national security and the war on terror. He is chair of the board of trustees of the World Academy of Arts and Science, established the East-African Journal for Peace and Human Rights, is editor-in-chief of Erudito WAAS and served as president of the XII International economic colloquium on sustainable development.

“I draw the greatest satisfaction from the enormously talented students we have had here, and I think our students have been equally matched by some utterly brilliant faculty,” Nagan said.

UF Law Professor Amy Mashburn (JD 87) is now associate dean for academic affairs, but she was once one of Nagan’s students. She said his teaching profoundly affected her outlook on law and her legal career.

“Winston showed his students that law informed by insights from the social sciences and viewed through a policy-oriented lens revealed its potential to advance shared values and shape society’s future,” Mashburn said.

His long list of affiliations attests to Nagan’s vast and diverse interests. Dean Laura A. Rosenbury noted that he has continued to travel, speak and write actively since assuming emeritus status.

“I am in awe of the ways you have continued to publish and travel the world since you retired last summer,” Dean Rosenbury said during the spring faculty retirement celebration.

Nagan holds a Doctor of the Science of Law from Yale Law School, a M.A. from Oxford and an LL.M. and a Master of Comparative Law from Duke University School of Law. He received B.A. degrees from the University of South Africa and Oxford University.


Before coming to UF Law from the University of Missouri in 2007, Leonard L. Riskin, the Chesterfield Smith Professor of Law, was already recognized as one of the top legal theorists on alternative dispute resolution, especially with respect to mediation.
Riskin’s research also touches on mindfulness meditation and its value to the practice of the law.
“When Len Riskin joined our faculty in 2007 he raised our scholarly profile and he expanded the depth and quality of the courses we offered,” said Dean Laura A. Rosenbury.
Riskin holds an LL.M. from Yale Law School, a J.D. from New York University School of Law and a B.S. from University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Senior Legal Skills Professor Patricia Thomson (JD 83) joined the faculty in 1989 and served as a lynchpin of the college’s legal writing curriculum ever since.

Her teaching areas include legal research and writing, appellate advocacy, advanced techniques in appellate advocacy and legal writing for comparative law LL.M. students. She served as a presenter for the Legal Writing Institute Biennial Conference in 2008. Her international teaching includes time at the University of Warsaw’s Center for American Studies in Poland.
“She has been a great team player. She was my mentor when I began here in 2005 and provided invaluable help to me,” said UF Law Professor Mary Adkins (JD 91), who is director of the Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy Program. “She was an innovator in her teaching, and she will be missed.”