UWF General Counsel no longer counsel, shifted to assistant to provost

By Jesse Farthing

Lee Gore, who was heading up the University of West Florida Office of the General Counsel, has been terminated from that position, as of Oct. 31, for failing to become a member of the Florida Bar before his contractual deadline for doing so was up.

Last summer, Independent News broke the story that Gore did not have a license to practice law in Florida and was under investigation by the Florida Bar.

Gore was hired in October of 2011, and one condition of his contract was that he was to become a member of the Florida Bar within 12 months – though UWF President Judy Bense granted an extra 12-month extension to that deadline.

According to UWF’s public relations director, Megan Gonzalez, Gore is still with the university and has taken the position of assistant to the provost, within the division of academic affairs, effective Nov. 1. Gore worked for the provost, Dr. Martha Saunders, when Saunders was president of the University of Southern Mississippi.

In June of this year, the Florida Bar opened an investigation of Gore after allegations that he had been practicing law in Florida without a license. The investigation is still open, but Gore continued to serve the Office of the General Counsel up until last week under the title “Special Assistant to the President,” and his duties remained unchanged throughout his time in the office.

Kim Brown, UWF vice president and chief of staff, said at the time that the title change was to avoid confusion in the future, though his duties would remain.

Gonzalez said that Gore’s reassignment was not related to the investigation.

UWF maintains that Gore passed the Florida Bar exam in February, as previously reported, and the Florida Bar is still under the process of application review.

Pat Lott, former UWF General Counsel and current Associate General Counsel, is now serving as the interim General Counsel since Gore’s reassignment.