Attorneys, Professionals and Staff

Attorneys, professionals and administrative/paraprofessional personnel can be viewed alphabetically, by section or by specialty. An attorney's or professional's biography can be viewed by clicking on the name of the attorney or professional.

 

Attorneys/Professionals | Staff | Sort by Section | Specialty Areas | Biographies

 

 

Attorney and Professional Biographies

 

Zeena Angadicheril
Attorney - General Law Section

 

Zeena Angadicheril is an attorney in the General Law Section of The University of Texas System Office of General Counsel and primarily serves in the open records area. Ms. Angadicheril provides counsel on the implications and requirements of the Public Information Act and assists in providing open records training to officers and employees of the UT System and its institutions.

 

Ms. Angadicheril was an associate in the Government Enforcement/Regulation Industries Litigation section of Winstead PC in Austin, Texas prior to joining the staff of the Office of General Counsel.

 

Ms. Angadicheril graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BA in the Business Honors Program, Marketing and Finance, and received her JD from The University of Texas School of Law.

 

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Ashley Bear
Portfolio Manager - Real Estate Office

 

Ashley Bear is the Portfolio Manager within the Real Estate Office and is responsible for the implementation and administration of policies, procedures, and programs to assure that leases and mortgages are managed in compliance with their terms, applicable laws, and sound business practices.

 

Prior to joining the Real Estate Office, Ms. Bear worked as a Property Manager for Transwestern, a privately-held full service commercial real estate company. As a Property Manager, she was responsible for the operations and management of approximately 1 million square feet of office, industrial and medical office projects in Austin, where she built strong relationships and serviced both national and local clients.

 

Ms. Bear graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree from Texas State University. She is an active member of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) where she is pursuing coursework to obtain her Accredited Commercial Manager (ACoM) and Certified Property Manager (CPM®) designations.

 

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Mark Bentley
Senior Attorney - Business Law Section / Real Estate Office

 

Mark Bentley graduated from Texas Tech University with a BA in Psychology, and has a JD from The University of Texas School of Law. He is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.


Mr. Bentley has practiced law in private practice as well as in-house with major corporations. In addition to the Texas State Bar, he is admitted to the bars of the United States District Courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas, and to the bar of the United States Supreme Court.

 

He is a member of the Austin Bar Association, and of its real estate and oil and gas law sections.

 

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Timothy Boughal
Attorney - Health Law Section

 

Tim Boughal is a health care attorney in the Office of General Counsel where he handles a variety of claims and litigation matters in the health care arena.

 

Mr. Boughal received his BA degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and his JD from South Texas College of Law. Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel Tim served as an Assistant Attorney General of Texas in the Tort Litigation Division.

 

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Helen Bright
Managing Attorney (Section Manager) - General Law Section

 

Helen Bright is the General Law Section Manager of the U. T. System Office of General Counsel. She has been employed with the Office of General Counsel since December 1988 and specializes in employment, tort, and civil rights law. Helen worked as an Assistant Attorney General in the General Litigation Division and the Tort Litigation Division prior to working for the Office of General Counsel. She received her undergraduate degree and her law degree from Baylor University.

 

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Kevin Brown
Attorney - Claims and Financial Litigation Section

 

Kevin C. Brown joined the Claims and Financial Litigation Section of the Office of General Counsel as an attorney in November of 2001, where he specializes in the collection of estate accounts. He graduated from Westminster College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. In May of 2001, he graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a JD/MBA

 

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Neera Chatterjee
Attorney (Public Information Coordinator) - General Law Section

 

Neera Chatterjee is an attorney in the General Law Section of The University of Texas System Office of General Counsel. She serves as the Public Information Coordinator and provides open records training to officers and employees of the UT System and its institutions.

 

Before joining the staff of the Office of General Counsel, Ms. Chatterjee was an associate in the business litigation section of Haynes & Boone LLP in Austin, Texas for two years. Prior to joining Haynes & Boone LLP, she served as a law clerk to The Honorable Robert Pitman, United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division and to The Honorable Leslie C. Smith, United States District Court for the District of New Mexico.

 

Ms. Chatterjee graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in Political Science, and received her JD from Vanderbilt University Law School.

 

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Steve Collins
Special Counsel

 

Steve Collins is Special Counsel to the Office of General Counsel and also serves as Associate Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations for The University of Texas System.  In addition to bridging the two offices on legal matters related to legislation and interactions with other governmental entities, he performs special projects on assignment from the General Counsel.  He previously served the System as Interim General Counsel and has also served as Interim Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations.

 

He is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin (BA in Government with Honors, 1973) and The University of Texas School of Law (JD 1976).   His legal specialties include Texas constitutional law, administrative law, and parliamentary law.
 
Prior to coming to the System, he was Chief Legislative Counsel and Executive Director of the Texas Legislative Council, a 400+ employee legislative service agency providing nonpartisan legal, research, and information technology services for both houses of the Texas legislature.  Simultaneous with his council service, he also served as parliamentarian for the Texas House of Representatives and as General Counsel to the Texas House of Representatives.

 

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Traci Cotton
Senior Attorney (Section Manager) - Claims and Financial Litigation Section

 

Traci L. Cotton is the Section Manager of the Claims & Financial Litigation Section of the Office of General Counsel. She pursues a variety of claims on behalf of the System and its institutions, practicing mainly in the areas of creditors' rights, commercial law and bankruptcy.

 

In 1986, Ms. Cotton graduated with high honors from The University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in accounting/business honors program. She received her JD with honors from The University of Texas School of Law in 1989. Following graduation and prior to joining System in 1993, she practiced in Austin with the law firm of Deitch & Hamilton, P.C.

 

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James Cox
Attorney - Business Law Section

 

Jim Cox is an attorney in the Business Law Section of the Office of General Counsel, where he specializes in intellectual property matters, including copyrights, trademarks, patents and technology licensing.

 

Mr. Cox is a graduate of the University of Michigan College of Engineering (BSME 1987) and a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School (JD 1990). He has been a licensed attorney since 1990 and has been registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office since 1991. Mr. Cox is licensed to practice in the State Courts in Michigan and Texas, in the U.S. District Courts for the Western District of Texas, Eastern District of Michigan and the Western District of Michigan and in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

 

Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel, Mr. Cox practiced in various intellectual property law firms, was an attorney in the General Motors IP section, worked in the administration at the University of Michigan Law School, was an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Ave Maria School of Law and also served as an Armor Officer in the United States Army, deploying to Bosnia-Herzegovia as a Platoon Leader in the 1st Armored Division during Operation Joint Endeavor. He is a licensed pilot, a PADI certified Rescue Diver and an amateur thespian (from lead to extra) in several community theater productions. Jim is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the American Legion and the Intellectual Property Law Section of the Michigan State Bar and Texas State Bar.

 

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Ha Dao
Senior Attorney - Real Estate Office

 

Ha Kim Dao is an attorney in the Real Estate Office of the Office of General Counsel where she specializes in real estate law.

 

Ms. Dao received her BA from The University of Texas in 1996, with a double major in Plan II Honors Program and Philosophy. She received her JD from The University of Texas School of Law in 1999.

 

Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel, Ms. Dao practiced real estate and finance law with law firms in Houston, Texas.

 

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Tamra J. English
Attorney - General Law Section

 

Tamra English is an attorney in the General Law Section of the Office of General Counsel where she specializes in employment, tort, and civil rights law. She also serves as a liaison to the Attorney General’s Office in litigation affecting The University of Texas System or UT institutions.

 

Ms. English received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Baylor University and a Juris Doctor from Baylor Law School. Ms. English is licensed to practice law in the States of Texas and California, and is admitted to the United States District Courts for the Western, Eastern, and Southern District of Texas and the United States District Courts for the Northern, Central, Southern, and Eastern Districts of California.

 

Ms. English began her career as an Assistant District Attorney in Brazoria County then practiced employment and tort law in California. Before joining the Office of General Counsel, Ms. English was employed as a Senior Associate with the Austin law firm of Ewbank and Harris specializing in employment law, tort law, and general civil litigation.

 

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Allene Evans
Attorney - Health Law Section

 

Allene Evans is a health law attorney in the Office of General Counsel.

 

Ms. Evans has more than 30 years of litigation experience in both private practice and government service with an emphasis on complex litigation, discovery management, problem solving, dispute resolution, bridge building and advocacy. She has specialized in litigating major products liability and catastrophic injury and death cases as a sole practitioner and as a partner of Perry & Haas, L.L.P. Previously, Ms. Evans was appointed by Governor Ann Richards to the Texas State Board of Insurance. She also served as Chief of the Antitrust Division of Texas Attorney General’s Office, and as an Assistant Attorney General representing Texas financial regulatory and enforcement agencies and as a felony prosecutor. Earlier in her career, Ms. Evans worked at a Minneapolis law firm specializing in health law matters and as an associate counsel at Northwestern National Life Insurance Company.

 

Ms. Evans received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Adams State College, Alamosa, Colorado and her JD cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School. She is admitted to practice before the state courts of Texas, Colorado and Minnesota and the United States Supreme Court, Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and Ninth Circuits and United States District Courts of the Western, Southern, Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas. Ms. Evans has served as the Chair of the Antitrust & Business Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Chair of the Texas-Mexico Bar Association and is a long-time board member and current board chair of Texas Appleseed.

 

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Evan Fitzmaurice
Attorney - Business Law Section

 

Evan E. Fitzmaurice joined the Business Law Section of the Office of General Counsel as an attorney in November 2013, where he focuses on certain transactions involving the Office of Technology Commercialization and the UT Horizon Fund, as well as general business law matters.

 

Mr. Fitzmaurice received a B.A., with honors, from The University of Texas at Austin in 1993 and a J.D. from The University of Texas at Austin School of Law in 1999.

 

Before joining the University of Texas System, Fitzmaurice practiced corporate and securities law in private practice with a law firm in Austin, Texas.  Prior to that time, Fitzmaurice served as the Director of the Texas Film Commission, an agency formed in 1971 in the Office of the Governor charged with marketing the State of Texas as a film, television and video game production location, where he ran the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, a statutory grant program.  Prior to that appointment, Fitzmaurice practiced corporate and securities law in Los Angeles, California and Dallas, Texas.

 

Mr. Fitzmaurice was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1999 and the State Bar of California in 2006, and is a past member of the Beverly Hills and Dallas Bar Associations.

 

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Melissa Villarreal Garcia
Attorney - General Law Section

 

Melissa Villarreal Garcia is an attorney in the General Law Section of The University of Texas System Office of General Counsel, where she specializes in employment, tort, and civil rights law.

 

Ms. Garcia graduated from Texas A & M University with a BS in Political Science (1993) and from South Texas College of Law with a JD degree (2001). After law school, Ms. Garcia was an associate at Jenkens & Gilchrist, P.C. in Houston, Texas. She later moved to Austin and practiced administrative law, civil litigation, and employment law at Strasburger & Price, LLP. Immediately before joining the Office of the General Counsel, she worked as an attorney in the General Law Division of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, where she focused her practice on employment law and ethics.

 

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Mark Gentle
Attorney - Business Law Section

Mark Gentle is an attorney in the Business Law Section of the Office of General Counsel where he specializes in contracting and procurement. Mr. Gentle graduated from the University of Tennessee with a BA in Political Science and from Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis with a J.D. degree. He has served as:

  • Manager of Contracting and Project Management Information Systems, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Infrastructure Division
  • Legal Counsel, Texas Building and Procurement Commission
  • Administrative Law Judge, Public Utility Commission of Texas
  • Special Counsel, Texas State Board of Insurance
  • Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, Texas Attorney General’s Office

Mr. Gentle was in the private practice of law from 1994 to 2000 in Austin as a consulting attorney in the areas of contract law, health care and insurance regulation. Mr. Gentle began his career with the law firm of Knight, Custer & Duncan in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mr. Gentle was admitted to the State Bar of New Mexico in 1981 (inactive) and admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1982.

 

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Esther Hajdar
Attorney - General Law Section

Esther Hajdar is an attorney in the General Law Section of the Office of the General Counsel for The University of Texas System, where she specializes in constitutional and civil rights issues, employment and student matters, policy, affirmative action and ethics. She also serves as a liaison to the Attorney General's Office in litigation affecting The University of Texas System or its components.

 

Ms. Hajdar graduated with Honors from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Economics and from The University of Texas School of Law with a J.D. degree.

 

During her career, Ms. Hajdar has worked at the Office of the Attorney General in the General Litigation Division as an Assistant Attorney General and as a Civil Rights Section Leader. She also served as the Deputy Appellate Coordinator for the Appellate Division. Ms. Hajdar also worked at the Texas Department of Agriculture as the Deputy General Counsel for Enforcement and the Texas Workforce Commission as the Deputy Director of Legal Services.

 

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Dana Hollingsworth
Senior Attorney - Business Law Section

 

Dana L. Hollingsworth is an attorney in the Business Law Section of the Office of General Counsel, where she specializes in contracting and procurement matters.

 

Ms. Hollingsworth received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, summa cum laude, from Baylor University in 1986, with a double major in accounting and computer information systems. In 1990, she received a JD, with honors, from The University of Texas at Austin School of Law.

 

Ms. Hollingsworth was admitted to the State Bar of Texas and licensed as a Certified Public Accountant, in 1990. She was admitted to the United States District Court, Western District of Texas in 1992.

 

Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel, Ms. Hollingsworth was in private practice with a law firm in Austin, Texas, and specialized in business law.

 

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Barbara Holthaus
Senior Attorney. System Administration Privacy Officer and Systemwide Privacy Coordinator - General Law Section

 

Barbara Holthaus has been an attorney with the General Law Section since 2002. She serves as the Systemwide Privacy Coordinator, the Privacy Officer for System Administration and legal advisor to the UT System’s employee group insurance program. She also provides counsel on privacy and security law issues as they apply to higher education. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky Honors Program with a BA in Political Science and in 1985 received her JD from the University of Kentucky College of Law. She is credentialed as a Certified Information Privacy Professional with an additional credential in Governmental Privacy issues (CIPP/G) from the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

 

Ms. Holthaus began her law practice as a criminal defense trial and appellate attorney working the Office of the Jefferson County Public Defender in Louisville, Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy. She was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1993 and served as General Counsel for the Texas Board of Examiners of Psychologists from 1994 until 1998. From 1998 until June 2002, she worked for the Texas Department of Insurance, where she served first as a staff attorney in the Regulated Lines Counsel Division and then as Director of Project Development for the Life, Health & Licensing Program.

 

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Hannah Huckaby
Attorney - Claims and Financial Litigation Section

 

Hannah D. Huckaby is an attorney in the Claims & Financial Litigation Section of the Office of General Counsel where she specializes in the collection and litigation of student loans and other debts on behalf of the System's institutions as well as advising institutions on student financial aid and debt collection issues.

 

Ms. Huckaby earned a BA in history with highest honors from the University of Oklahoma and a JD with honors from the University of Texas School of Law. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Following graduation from law school in 1993 and prior to joining the Office of General Counsel in 1994, she worked as a Congressional intern and White House volunteer.

 

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Don Jansen
Senior Attorney - Business Law Section

 

Donald O. Jansen serves as Senior Tax Counsel in the Business Law Section of the Office of General Counsel.

 

He is a retired senior partner of Fulbright & Jaworski, L.L.P. Mr. Jansen is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel. He is a past Chairman of the Committee of Significant Current Literature and a past Vice-Chair of the Insurance Committee, Probate and Trust Division, Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the American Bar Association. He is a past Probate Editor of the Newsletter of the Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. Mr. Jansen is a member of the Advisory Committee, Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, University of Miami School of Law.

 

Mr. Jansen has a JD, Loyola University New Orleans (cum laude) and a LLM, Georgetown University, He is a specialist in estate planning and probate law certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has been designated by his peers as Texas Super Lawyer in estate planning 2003-2005.

 

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Charles Johnstone
Senior Attorney - Health Law Section

 

Chuck Johnstone is a health care attorney in the Office of General Counsel.

 

Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel, Mr. Johnstone was the Chief Legal Officer and Associate Vice President of Legal Affairs at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. In addition, he also worked at the Texas Comptroller’s Office where he was a manager in the Tax Division and also served as an Executive Assistant.

 

Mr. Johnstone is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin (BBA in Accounting, 1971) and The University of Texas School of Law (JD 1974, LLM 1976).

 

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Jason King
Senior Attorney and Deputy Ethics Advisor

 

Jason King is an attorney for The University of Texas System Office of General Counsel. He serves as Deputy Ethics Advisor to the System and provides ethics training to officers and employees of the UT System and its institutions. He also analyzes and tracks legislation affecting higher education issues.

 

Before joining the Office of General Counsel, Mr. King served as an Associate with the law firm of Akers & Boulware-Wells LLP, which represents a number of small to medium sized cities throughout Texas. Mr. King has also previously served as an Assistant General Counsel of the Texas Ethics Commission.

 

Mr. King graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, and from Baylor University with a Doctorate of Jurisprudence.

 

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Kent Kostka
Attorney - Claims and Financial Litigation Section

 

Kent M. Kostka is an attorney in the Claims and Financial Litigation Section of the Office of General Counsel, where he pursues a variety of claims on behalf of the System and its institutions, practicing mainly in the areas of medical accounts and hospital liens, and advising institutions on related issues.

 

He has a BA in History from The University of Texas at Austin, a Master's degree in Public Administration from Southwest Texas State University, and a JD from the University of Denver College of Law, where he was Senior Articles Editor of the Law Review and Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper. Kent is also licensed to practice in the Western District of Texas.

 

Publications include "Negotiating the Hospital Lien Minefield" in the Texas Bar Journal (2005), "Unanimously Weaving a Tangled Web: Walters, Robinson, Title VII, and the Need for Holistic Statutory Interpretation" in the Harvard Journal on Legislation (1999) and "Higher Education, Hopwood, and Homogeneity: Preserving Affirmative Action and Diversity in a Scrutinizing Society" in the Denver University Law Review (1996).

 

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Melodie Krane
Senior Attorney (Section Manager)- Health Law Section

 

Melodie Krane is the Section Manager of the Health Law Section of the Office of General Counsel where she specializes in medical malpractice litigation.

 

Ms. Krane received her BS degree from Northwestern State University (Louisiana) and her MS degree in social work research and administration from The University of Texas at Austin. She graduated from the University of Houston Law Center. Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel, she served as an assistant attorney general of Texas.

 

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Priscilla Lozano
Senior Attorney - General Law Section

 

Priscilla A. Lozano joined the staff of The University of Texas System Office of General Counsel in 1989. As a member of the General Law Section, she is responsible for providing legal advice to The University of Texas System Administration and to UT institution administrators regarding faculty and staff employment issues, student discipline, state and federal higher education statutes and regulations, university policy, university catalogs and public information requests.

 

Ms. Lozano's previous higher education related employment includes her service as General Counsel at Pan American University and as Assistant Attorney General for the Texas Attorney General's Office.

Ms. Lozano graduated from Yale University with a BA in Psychology in May 1982 and from the University of Texas School of Law with a JD in May 1985.

 

Associations: National Association of College and University Attorneys, Texas Association of State and University Attorneys, Hispanic Bar Association of Austin, Leadership Texas - 1995, Women's Roundtable - 2000-2001.

 

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BethLynn Maxwell
Senior Attorney - Business Law Section

 

BethLynn Maxwell is an attorney in the Business Law Section of the Office of General Counsel, where she specializes in patent law.

Dr. Maxwell graduated with honors from Tulane University with a BS in biology, received her Master's and Doctoral degrees from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and her JD degree from South Texas College of Law. She is licensed to practice patent law before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Before going to law school, she was a molecular biologist at Baylor College of Medicine. Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel, she practiced patent law specializing in biotechnology patent prosecution at Fish & Richardson, an intellectual property law firm.

She has been an active member of the Texas Technology Transfer Association (T3A) since its inception. She is currently on the Board of Directors of T3A and recently served as its President. She frequently makes presentations on patent law and managing intellectual property portfolios.

 

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Florence Mayne
Executive Director of Real Estate and Managing Attorney - Real Estate Office

 

Florence Mayne has been Executive Director of the Real Estate Office since October 2004. Ms. Mayne handles numerous and varied real estate transactions, including ground leases, purchases, sales, and easements.

 

Upon receiving her law degree, Ms. Mayne went into private practice before joining the UT System in January 1994, serving first as a real estate attorney and then as manager of the business law section of the Office of General Counsel beginning in 1999. She served as the assistant to the executive vice chancellor for business affairs from March 2001 to September 2003, and then as assistant vice chancellor for operations and support services from September 2003 to October 2004. She also served as the compliance officer for System Administration from September 2001 to October 2004.

 

Ms. Mayne received her JD, with high honors, from The University of Texas School of Law in 1986. She also received degrees of Bachelor of Music with Highest Honors and Master of Fine Arts from The University of Texas at Austin.

 

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Marty Novak
Senior Attorney - Real Estate Office

 

Marty Novak is an attorney in the Real Estate Office of the Office of General Counsel for The University of Texas System. He is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is co-author of the Texas Foreclosure Manual and a contributing author to the Texas Collections Manual, both published by the State Bar of Texas. He is a frequent speaker at CLE programs offered by the State Bar of Texas, the University of Houston Law Center, and the University of Texas School of Law. In addition to his legal writings, Mr. Novak is also a published author on the topic of the early Christian church during the period of the Roman Empire. Before joining the General Counsel's Office, Mr. Novak was in the private practice of law for twenty five years, as a partner at the firms of Kleberg and Head, P.C., Hilgers and Watkins, P.C. and Brown McCarroll, LLP. Mr. Novak has received a BA with honors in History and Anthropology from Rice University, an MA in Roman history from the University of Chicago, and a JD with honors from the University of Houston.

 

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Jack O'Donnell
Attorney - General Law Section

 

Jack O'Donnell is an attorney in the General Law Section of the Office of General Counsel, where he specializes in employment, tort and civil rights law.

 

Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel, Mr. O'Donnell was an Assistant Attorney General in the General Litigation Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office. Mr. O’Donnell’s experience also includes private practice with law firms in Austin, Texas, specializing in business litigation, and 16 years as a federal prosecutor.

 

Mr. O'Donnell graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Accounting and earned his JD from The University of Texas School of Law.

 

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Scott Patterson
Attorney - Business Law Section

 

Scott Patterson is an Attorney in the Business Law Section of the Office of General Counsel, where he specializes in contracting and procurement matters.

 

Mr. Patterson received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Houston - Clear Lake in 1988. In 1994, Mr. Patterson received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Houston - Clear Lake. In 1997, Mr. Patterson received a JD degree from the University of Houston Law Center.

 

Mr. Patterson was admitted into the State Bar of Texas in 1997. In 2000, Mr. Patterson was admitted to the United States District Court, Southern District of Texas.

 

Prior to joining the Office of the General Counsel, Mr. Patterson was employed as a Systems Analyst and Information Resource Manager for NASA/Johnson Space Center and as an attorney for the City of Houston Legal Department specializing in business and contract law.

 

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Jim Phillips
Managing Attorney (Section Manager) - Business Law Section

 

Jim Phillips is the Section Manager of the Business Law Section of the Office of General Counsel, where he specializes in environmental law and related health and safety issues and manages the contracts & procurement and intellectual property practice groups as well as a number of specialty practices.

 

Mr. Phillips graduated cum laude with a BA in History from Williams College and a JD with honors from The University of Texas School of Law. He has served as:

  • Deputy Comptroller, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
  • General Counsel at the Texas General Land Office
  • Division Chief at the Texas Attorney General’s Office
  • Chief Hearing Examiner and head of the Office of Legal Services, Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission.

He is Board Certified in Administrative Law. Mr. Phillips has served as Chair of the Western States Land Commissioners Legal Committee, has served on the Planning Committees for the State Bar Advanced Administrative Law Conference and Advanced Environmental Law Conference and is a former municipal judge of Rollingwood, Texas.

 

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Geoffrey Richards
Senior Real Estate Officer - Real Estate Office

 

Geoffrey Richards joined the real estate office in June 2011, and is primarily responsible for evaluating and processing real estate gifts and bequests of real estate. He is also responsible for the management and disposition of a portion of gift real estate and handles transactions such as leases, sales, purchases, and easements.

 

Prior to joining UT System, Mr. Richards held the position of Vice President for a private commercial real estate investment and development company based in Austin, Texas. He handled dispositions, project management and property management efforts for the firm. Mr. Richards graduated from Elon College with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration.

 

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Derek Silva
Senior Real Estate Officer - Real Estate Office

 

Derek Silva joined the Real Estate Office in February 2008. Mr. Silva has significant experience in lease analysis and negotiations. His primary responsibility is for lease transactions.

 

Prior to joining the Real Estate Office, Mr. Silva worked as a commercial broker with NAI Austin and then with Transwestern in Austin. As a broker, he focused on tenant representation, corporate services and investment sales, and advising clients in the acquisition and disposition of office and industrial properties.

 

Mr. Silva is also a former chemist and received a BS in Biology from Stephen F. Austin State University.

 

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Edwin Smith
Senior Attorney - Business Law Section

 

Edwin Smith specializes in construction law and related contracting and litigation matters. He has a BS in Architectural Studies from The University of Texas at Austin and a JD from the University of Baylor School of Law where he was associate editor of the Baylor Law Review. He is a registered architect in the State of Texas and is licensed to practice law in Texas and California (inactive).

 

Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel, Mr. Smith was a partner in the Austin law firm of Roller & Allensworth, L.L.P. He has also served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Texas Attorney General's Office and was managing partner of an Austin architectural firm.

 

Mr. Smith currently manages construction law issues for UT System and all of its institutions. He prepares and maintains form agreements for use on all construction projects and issues Construction Contracting Guidelines that must be followed by all UT contracting personnel. Additional information can be found at the UT System Construction Law website.

 

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Paul Steinkraus
Senior Attorney - Business Law Section

 

Paul Steinkraus holds the position of Senior Attorney and Business Strategy Advisor in the Business Law Section of the Office of General Counsel, where he assists both the UT System Supply Chain Alliance and the UT System Office of Shared Services. Both organizations are pursuing significant cost-saving initiatives. The Alliance leverages the combined buying power of UT institutions to secure the best possible purchase terms, under large, multi-year contracts, for goods and services commonly needed by UT institutions. The Office of Shared Services is pursuing cost efficiencies through possible consolidation of technology and business services across the institutions.

 

Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel, Mr. Steinkraus had a very distinguished legal career at Ford Motor Company. He began as an attorney working on real estate and purchasing matters and then served as senior attorney at Ford of Europe, counsel at Ford Motor Credit Company, counsel for Ford’s international operations and ended his service as vice president-general counsel for Ford Asia Pacific & Africa, stationed in Bangkok, Thailand.

 

Mr. Steinkraus graduated from The University of Michigan Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Engineering and received his JD Magna Cum Laude from Wayne State University Law School.

 

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Omar Syed
Senior Attorney - General Law Section

 

Omar Syed joined the Office of General Counsel in October, 2007, and specializes in employment, tort and civil rights law.

 

Mr. Syed received his BA with honors in Public Policy Studies from The University of Chicago, and received his JD from the University of Minnesota Law School. After law school, he practiced administrative law and civil litigation as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Minnesota. Mr. Syed then served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Minneapolis, practicing federal criminal prosecution. Immediately before joining the Office of General Counsel, he practiced oil and gas law with a private law firm in Austin, Texas.

 

Mr. Syed is admitted to practice in Texas and Minnesota, before the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota and Western District of Texas, and before the Fifth and Eighth Circuit Courts of Appeals.

 

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Kirk Tames
Assistant Director of Real Estate - Real Estate Office

 

Kirk Tames joined the Real Estate Office and the UT System in February 2005 and was promoted to assistant director in September 2007. He handles a variety of transactions, including purchases, sales, leases and easements.

 

Mr. Tames' prior experience has been entirely in the private sector.  After becoming a licensed architect, he served as a senior real estate consultant with Kenneth Leventhal & Company, and then served as a development analyst for Insignia Financial Group and First Industrial Realty Trust.  Subsequently, Mr. Tames served as a regional development officer for First Industrial Realty Trust, in which capacity he developed industrial warehouse and office/tech buildings.

 

Mr. Tames received a MBA from The University of Texas at Austin in 1992 and a Bachelor of Architecture and a Bachelor of Arts from Rice University in Houston, Texas.

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Ana Vieira
Attorney - General Law Section

 

Ana Vieira joined the General Law Office in September 2013. Prior to joining, she served over four years as an Assistant Attorney General for the Open Records Division at the Office of the Attorney General.

 

Ms. Vieira received her JD from the University of Houston Law Center in 2008 and her BS in Psychology from Texas State University in 2004.

 

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Ed Walts
Senior Real Estate Officer - Real Estate Office

 

Ed Walts joined the Real Estate Office in September 2006. Mr. Walts handles a variety of transactions, including purchases, sales, leases and easements.

 

Mr. Walts previously was executive vice president for Harwood International in Dallas, Texas, for five years where he provided asset and property management services and risk management services. An attorney by training, he was with the Dallas office of Strasburger & Price, LLP, from 1974 to 2001.

 

Mr. Walts received a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Texas at Austin and a JD from The University of Texas School of Law.

 

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Kyle ZumBerge
Attorney - Business Law Section

 

Mr. ZumBerge graduated with a BSBA from The University of Texas at Dallas in 1995 and with a JD from the University of Houston’s Bates School of Law in 2000.

 

After graduating from law school, but prior to joining UT System, Mr. ZumBerge worked in the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts’ Office of General Counsel, as an Assistant General Counsel in Administrative Hearings.  Subsequently, he represented the Texas Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board by serving as Counsel of the Texas Tomorrow Funds.

 

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  • Office of General Counsel
  • 201 West 7th Street
  • Austin, TX 78701
  • Phone: 512.499.4462
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