Meet the Faculty: Kenneth Nunn
View on the Profession
“I think the legal profession is a noble one, but there is a tension within it between its capacity for good and its capacity for evil. I think that is why many people have a contradictory view of lawyers — they despise them, but they seek them out when they have a problem. I also think that this tension is why so many lawyers do not enjoy the practice of law.
“In my view, these problems are reduced if one approaches the profession as an art and not a science. When law is viewed as an art form, you understand that it is the relationships between people that are really primary and that law is simply a means to make those relationships meaningful. The practice of law, then, is not about applying rules or billing hours, nor is it about most of the abstract concepts we learn in law school. It is about justice and it is about fairness. Success as a lawyer requires learning how to know justice when you see it and how to craft solutions to problems that are fair to all.”
J.D., University of California at Berkley. A.B., Stanford University. Joined UF College of Law faculty in 1990, and has served as advisor to the Black Law Student Association and Trial Team and as associate dean for Law Center Affairs. Named Teacher of the Year in 1996 and Professor of the Year in 1998.
Nunn previously was a deputy public defender in San Francisco, CA.; staff attorney with the Southern Africa Project, Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in Washington, D.C.; and staff attorney with the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C.
He has published articles on civil rights, criminal law and procedure, and race relations. His book chapters include: “Rosewood,” in When Sorry Isn’t Enough: The Controversy Over Apologies and Reparations for Human Injustices (Roy L. Brooks, ed., 1999); “Joinder and Severance,” in Trial Manual, Vol. II, Chap. 19, (Criminal Practice Institute, 1989) (with Thomas Mason); “Juvenile Court,” in Trial Manual, Vol. I, Chap. 13, (Criminal Practice Institute, 1988) (with Paige Kennedy). He also has appeared as a legal commentator on television and radio programs, and his comments on various legal topics have been solicited by newspapers such as the New York Times, Philadelphia Daily News and Chicago Tribune.
Nunn has been a member of the Board of Directors, Florida Institutional Legal Services, Inc.; Gainesville Area ACLU Legal Panel; Association of American Law Schools, Committee on Recruitment and Retention of Minority Law Teachers; Cooperating Attorney, NAACP Legal Defense Fund; American Bar Association; ABA Criminal Justice Section, Race and Racism in the Criminal Justice System Committee (chair) and Rules of Criminal Procedure and Evidence Committee; National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; Executive Committee, National Association for Public Interest Law; and Bar of the District of Columbia; State Bar of California. He has received the Equal Opportunities in Education Award, Equal Opportunities Law Section of The Florida Bar; Francisco Rodriguez Award for contribution toward advancing civil rights in Florida, George Edgecomb Bar Association; and Clyde Ferguson Award for outstanding contributions toward promoting the interests of people of color in legal education and the legal profession, American Association of Law Schools, Section on Minority Groups.
What You May Not Know
Most people don’t know that this is my second sojourn in the state of Florida. I lived here for five years in the early 1960s when my father was stationed at Homestead A.F.B. So, in total, I have spent almost 20 years in Florida. In fact, I have lived here longer than I have lived anywhere else.”