GrayRobinson looks to help local tech firms

From The Gainesville Sun - By Anthony Clark

Economic development officials say one of the challenges of luring talent to Gainesville is to find opportunities for trailing spouses. If there is not work in the spouse’s field, the couple might look elsewhere and a local employer or school misses an opportunity.

In the case of Tom and Sheila McThenia, he brought a law firm with expertise in intellectual property and patents so she could go to medical school at the University of Florida.

“This is my turn to trail. She’s followed me to a couple places,” said Tom McThenia Jr., who has practiced law in Raleigh, N.C., Atlanta, Charlottesville, Va., and Orlando.

He spoke by phone while on his way to his son’s baseball game at Oak Hall School.

They moved their family to Gainesville in August 2012 and he opened a small office for GrayRobinson, P.A., in Ayers Technology Plaza in Innovation Square in March 2013. Last month, GrayRobinson moved into a larger office in Ayers with McThenia and Richard “Robie” Robinson as resident attorneys, and room for a few more attorneys as the local practice grows.

GrayRobinson has 280 attorneys and 11 offices in Florida.

McThenia said the firm is looking to grow in business-related services, whether in litigation, trusts or real estate, with an emphasis on intellectual property for tech.

As a registered patent attorney, he has worked with large multinational institutions, universities, startup and tech companies.

“It seems like it’s the right time to come help grow the tech community,” he said.

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Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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