Leadership & Staff

Henry N. Butler
Henry G. Manne Professor of Law and Economics
Chairman, Law & Economics Center

E-mail: hnbutler@gmu.edu
Phone: 703.993.8644

Henry N. Butler is the Henry G. Manne Professor of Law and Economics and Chairman of the Law & Economics Center at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School.  For over 30 years, Professor Butler has developed and led educational programs that teach the basics of economics, finance, accounting, statistics, and the scientific method to federal and state judges, as well as other legal professionals and scholars. He served as Dean of the law school from 2015 through 2020 and achieved unparalleled success including raising record-breaking gifts, establishing a host of new centers, institutes, and clinics, boosting the law school’s national and international reputation, and naming the school after the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

From 2007 to 2010, Professor Butler served as the first Executive Director of the Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth at Northwestern University School of Law. He has held prior appointments at the Brookings Institution, Chapman University, the University of Kansas, the University of Chicago, and Texas A&M University. From 1986 to 1993, he was a law professor at George Mason and, during that period, also served as an Associate Dean and Director of the Law & Economics Center.

He received an MA and PhD in economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a JD from the University of Miami School of Law. He received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Richmond.

Donald J. Kochan
Professor of Law
Executive Director, Law & Economics Center
E-mail: dkochan2@gmu.edu
Phone: 703.993.8321

Donald J. Kochan is Professor of Law and Executive Director of the Law & Economics Center (LEC). Before joining the Antonin Scalia Law School faculty, he was the Parker S. Kennedy Professor in Law at Chapman University’s Dale E. Fowler School of Law from 2004 to 2020. From 2003 to 2004, Professor Kochan was an Olin Fellow at the University of Virginia School of Law. During 2002-2003, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at George Mason’s Scalia Law School.

Professor Kochan received his JD from Cornell Law School, where he was a John M. Olin Scholar in Law and Economics and managing editor of the Cornell International Law Journal. During law school, he also served as editor and executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy symposium issues in 1997 and 1998. He received his BA from Western Michigan University, magna cum laude, with majors in both political science and philosophy, where he studied as the John W. Gill Medallion Scholar and was honored as the Presidential Scholar (awarded to the top graduate in the political science department).

Rebecca A. Thacker
Associate Director, Law & Economics Center
E-mail: rthacker@gmu.edu
Phone: 703.993.8965

Dr. Rebecca A. Thacker is the Associate Director of the Law & Economics Center. Dr. Thacker comes to the LEC with years of work experience in the private sector, the academic world, and the Federal Government. Prior to joining the staff of the LEC, she worked as an Assistant Vice President of HR management in a financial institution and spent many years as a professor of human resource management at Ohio University. She also served as Associate Editor of the premier human resource management theoretical journal, Human Resource Management Review. In recent years, Dr. Thacker served as Senior Advisor to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in Washington, D.C., where she was in charge of research and evaluation activities. Throughout her career, she worked as a consultant in the private and public sectors, working on human resource management and organization development projects.

Dr. Thacker received an MBA and PhD in human resource management from Texas A&M University. She received her undergraduate degree, cum laude, from West Virginia University. A published author, Dr. Thacker’s articles have appeared in both scholarly and practitioner journals.

Manuel Aguilera-Prieto
Program Assistant, Law & Economics Center
E-mail: maguile@gmu.edu
Phone: 703.993.8388

Manuel Aguilera-Prieto joined the LEC as a Program Assistant in January of 2023. He graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in political science. Prior to joining the LEC, Manuel worked as a student researcher compiling data on Congress’ response to international crises, as well as investigating political violence and organized crime in Mexico. His research interests lie in international relations, global political economy, and world history.

James C. Cooper
Professor of Law and Director, Program on Economics & Privacy
E-mail: jcoope20@gmu.edu
Phone: 703.993.9582

James C. Cooper brings over a decade of public and private sector experience to his research and teaching. Prior to joining the faculty at Scalia Law, he served as Deputy and Acting Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Office of Policy Planning, Advisor to Federal Trade Commissioner William Kovacic, and as an associate in the antitrust group of Crowell & Moring, LLP. Cooper returned to the FTC in 2018-19 to serve as a Deputy Director in the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

His research focuses on the law and economics of privacy, data security, and consumer protection, as well as on wide variety of topics surrounding competition policy, and it regularly appears in top academic journals, such as the Journal of Law & Economics, International Review of Law & Economics, Journal of Regulatory Economics, Antitrust Law Journal, and the Virginia Journal of Law & Technology. Professor Cooper has a BA from the University of South Carolina, received his PhD in economics from Emory University, and his law degree, magna cum laude, from the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, where he was a Levy Fellow and a member of the George Mason Law Review.

Ashley Evaro George
Associate Director, Judicial Education Program
E-mail: aevaro@gmu.edu
Phone: 703.993.9964

Ashley Evaro George is Associate Director of the Judicial Education Program at the LEC. She is responsible for managing all course offerings for state and federal judges.  Prior to joining the LEC, Ashley served as a federal outreach associate for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Ashley earned her BA in political science and was a member of the Torrey Honors College at Biola University in Southern California. She also received her MPP from the Schar School of Policy and Government and is pursuing her JD at George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School.

Matthew Richardson
Director, External Relations and Strategic Initiatives
E-mail: mricha5@gmu.edu
Phone: 703.993.8397

Matthew Richardson is Director, External Relations and Strategic Initiatives at the LEC, where he recruits support for all of the LEC’s programming, promotes our work to new audiences, and identifies organizations for strategic partnerships. In addition, Matthew heads the LEC’s Attorneys General Education Program (AGEP), providing programs focused on the economic and public policy issues specific to state Attorneys General, state Solicitors General and their senior staff attorneys. Matthew is also an English barrister and practicing attorney with 15 years of experience, known for being the first to serve an injunction via Twitter. He studied at Oxford before beginning his legal practice that encompasses a range of issues, including cyber law. Matthew also received a Doctorate in the Law and Policy of Cybercrime from Northeastern University and an LLM from Antonin Scalia Law School. He is admitted to the DC Bar.

Dominic Scavuzzo
Program Assistant, Law & Economics Center
E-mail: dscavuzz@gmu.edu
Phone: 703.993.9960

Dominic Scavuzzo is a program assistant for the Judicial Education Program (JEP). Before coming to the LEC, Dominic worked in the political non-profit community in Washington, DC as a policy research analyst. He takes an interest in researching politics and the law. Dominic graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in political science.

Jolene Sears
Director of External Relationships, Law & Economics Center
E-mail: csears3@gmu.edu

Jolene Sears is the Director of External Relationships of the Law & Economics Center. Jolene comes to the LEC with over 18 years of experience in higher education and the corporate world, including serving as Board Operations Coordinator for the Texas A&M System Board of Regents, and directing operations and outreach for the Texas A&M School of Innovation. She was Director of Strategic Operations at A&M Innovation Partners, providing support and managing projects to assist faculty researchers in commercializing their IP. Most recently, she worked at National Instruments in Austin, Texas, working with the global Analytics Commercial Group in the office of the Chief Technology Officer and supporting efforts of NI’s Long Term Innovation program. Jolene graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism.

Ian Spears
Judicial Education Program Coordinator
E-mail: ispears2@gmu.edu
Phone: 703.993.8008

Ian Spears joined the LEC in February of 2021 and currently serves as the Judicial Education Program Coordinator. Ian graduated from the Torrey Honors College at Biola University in May of 2020 with a BA in political science. Prior to joining the LEC, Ian has worked in different areas such as religious freedom, terrorism studies, and prison reform. His research interests lie in the areas of political philosophy, civic education, and the law.

Heather Vignali
Associate Director, Events
E-mail: hparris@gmu.edu
Phone: 703.993.9961

Heather Vignali joined the LEC in June 2021, where she manages hotel sourcing and logistical elements for all LEC programming. Previously, she was a project manager with a contractor for the US Army’s Strong Bonds Program. There, she managed a team of event planners and the logistics for 1,500 events annually across the globe. She began her career in hotel operations and events, including two years as a hotel’s General Manager before focusing on event management. Heather graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business management from James Madison University.