Roberta K. Burford, JD
Associate Vice President for Strategic Affairs
Roberta Burford (R.B.) received her Juris Doctor degree in 1979 and was then employed by the Arkansas Legislative Council as their first female staff attorney. From 1980 to 1991, in roles ranging from Assistant Attorney General to Chief of Staff to Solicitor General in the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, her area of specialty was civil litigation/employment law issues. During her Attorney General employment, Ms. Burford tried multiple employment cases (including class actions), redistricting cases, constitutional law matters and on numerous occasions, handled those matters on appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis. She also appeared in 3 United States Supreme Court cases on behalf of the State of Arkansas, writing the State’s brief in 1 of those cases involving the First Amendment. During her Attorney General Office employment, she additionally authored over 500 Attorney General Opinions.
Other Arkansas government experience included serving on the Arkansas Code Revision Commission, 2 years at the Public Service Commission in utility law and 2 years as Director of Youth Services from 1993-1995, overseeing Arkansas’ juvenile justice programs, managing a staff of over 300 employees and directing a multi-million dollar budget.
During her Arkansas government tenure from 1983-1991, she also acted as the liaison between the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office and then-Governor Bill Clinton’s office and as a legislative advisor/ liaison for Governor Clinton.
In 1995, after a family relocation to Tampa, Florida, Ms. Burford joined the Office of the General Counsel at USF where she has most recently been the Senior Deputy General Counsel. From 1995 to 2005 her University work primarily entailed defense of employment cases at arbitration and in state/federal court including claims of class wide gender discrimination, sex harassment and discrimination based on religion, age and disability. She has also handled/litigated to conclusion, matters involving contract, tort and constitutional law for USF. For the past 10 years, she has been the lead General Counsel attorney for USF Health comprised of the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Pharmacy and the School of Physical Therapy, dealing with student, resident and faculty matters. In that most current role, she has negotiated, drafted and reviewed major affiliation contracts and leases, in addition to providing daily legal counsel (oral and written) on issues of risk management, sovereign immunity, medical malpractice, health and research-related federal and state agency regulatory issues, general research compliance, patient privacy and employment issues. In addition, she has presented over 100 training sessions at USF on subjects ranging from the Florida public records and open meetings laws to the federal False Claims Act.