Office of the General Counsel Staff
Pat Lott, General Counsel
Patricia Lott is a graduate of FSU law school. Following graduation, she worked as an Assistant County Attorney and then as the County Attorney for Escambia County, then became a partner with Livermore, Klein and Lott, focusing her practice in municipal finance law. She continued to practice municipal finance law in the Pensacola office of Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C., representing Northwest Florida cities, counties and school districts for many years. Since 2000, she has served variously as contract counsel, Associate General Counsel and General Counsel for the University of West Florida. She presently serves as General Counsel for the University. Pat is a member of the Escambia Santa Rosa Bar Association, the National Association of Bond Lawyers, the National Association of Colleges and University Attorneys, the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, and the Northwest Florida Association of Women Lawyers. She is a fellow of the American College of Bond Lawyers and presently serves as Chair of the Education Law Committee of the Florida Bar.
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Anita Schonberger, Deputy General Counsel
Anita received an undergraduate degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell University in 1980. In 1984 she graduated from the Washington College of Law at American University. After law school she worked at legal aid for 6 years representing abused and neglected children and the elderly. In 1995 Anita began working for Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in its internal Equal Opportunity Office. She joined FAU's legal staff in 1996 and continued there until March, 2004 when she joined UWF as an Associate General Counsel. She served as UWF's General Counsel in an interim and regular capacity from September 2005 through January 1, 2008. She is now Deputy General Counsel at UWF. Anita is admitted to practice in Maryland, New York and Florida and is admitted to practice before the Federal District Court of Maryland and the Southern District Court of Florida.
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James Felder, Associate General Counsel
James Felder serves the University of West Florida as Associate General Counsel. His primary areas of practice include contract drafting and review, state employee liability/risk management, FERPA, public records and open meeting laws, student housing, international studies and general higher education law. He is a graduate of the University of West Florida and The Florida State College of Law. He lives in Pensacola with his wife Heather and is the father of twin daughters, Keegan and Natalie.
Lisa Bernau, Assistant General Counsel
Lisa Norris Bernau is a graduate of the University of West Florida and the Florida State University College of Law. From 1997 until 2005, she served as Legal Administrator and In-House Counsel for the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller in Escambia County, Florida. From 2005 until early 2013, she served as Chief Deputy Clerk and In-House Counsel for the Clerk and Comptroller. Lisa currently serves as the Assistant General Counsel for the University of West Florida. She is a member of the Florida Bar, the Escambia/Santa Rosa Bar Association, the National Association of College and University Attorneys, the Northwest Florida Association of Women Lawyers, and IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area.
Lynn Brauer, Staff Attorney
Lynn Brauer is a graduate of Stetson University, University at Albany, and Stetson University College of Law. Her undergraduate degrees are in Slavic Languages and Literature, and she traveled to Russia at the end of the Cold War. After law school, Lynn served as assistant city attorney for several cities in Pinellas County, Florida, and worked in private practice in the areas of real estate, business, contracts, litigation, and family law. She currently serves as the Staff Attorney for the University of West Florida. She is a member of the Florida Bar and a member of the South Walton Rotary Club.
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Amanda Besaw, Office Manager
Amanda received her undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Worcester State University in 2011. She relocated to Pensacola, FL in 2013, and has been working in the General Counsel's Office since August 2013. With her prior legal background, she was initally hired as a Legal Assistant, and was made Office Administrator in 2014. She is now pursuing her Master's in Business Administration at the University of West Florida part time.
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Blake Thompson, Legal Assistant
Blake received an undergraduate degree in Legal Studies from the University of West Florida in 2013. That same year, he served as an intern with the General Counsel's Office while completing his studies. He also received a Certificate in Computer Programming from Pensacola State College in 2015. Later, after working as a case manager in the First Judicial Circuit for two years, Blake re-joined the General Counsel's Office in 2016 as a Legal Assistant.
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