W. Scott Cole Attorney At Law


W. Scott Cole - Attorney at Law

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Chair, Higher Education Practice

T 407-843-8880
F 407-244-5690
D 407-204-3106
Orlando 301 East Pine Street Suite 1400 Orlando, Florida 32801

Scott is chair of GrayRobinson’s Higher Education Practice. He has extensive experience providing legal advice, strategy, and problem resolution in unique and decentralized higher education environments. During his 18-year tenure as general counsel at the University of Central Florida, Scott gained expertise in myriad transactional, regulatory, compliance, litigation, and governance issues, including issues involving athletics, due process and first amendment, complex transactions, construction, tax-exempt finance, health science campuses technology, Title IX alternative revenue sources, research, federal grants, and the many competing interests that intersect in large and diversified academic communities.

Scott has broad experience in the oversight and successful resolution of disputes and investigations from sexual harassment to student misconduct. In addition, he is well-versed in emerging issues confronting presidents and governing boards, including diversity and inclusion, administrative restructuring, and collective bargaining.

In addition to Scott’s tenure at the University of Central Florida, he served for a decade as associate general counsel at the University of Florida, where he oversaw academic and business matters, including complex commercial transactions, contracts, health law, athletics, Florida's public records and open meetings law, legislative drafting, litigation, student issues, discrimination, and employment.

  • Significant Accomplishments

    University of Central Florida

    • Provided leadership, complex legal counsel, and business advice in connection with the establishment of the University’s new College of Medicine, including negotiation of the purchase and gift of private land for the new campus.
    • Spearheaded the first P3 project for a Florida public university, acting as the integral drafter of legislation allowing private financing. Represented the University in a first of its kind $600 million project that included a new football stadium, basketball arena, student housing complex, hundreds of square feet of retail space, and three parking garages. The project was financed without state financial support.
    • Key member of the negotiation team to establish a joint venture teaching hospital with Health Care Corporation of America. UCF negotiated 20% equity in the hospital joint venture and 50% of the board seats, with no cash contribution.
    • Mobilized the university’s discounted purchase of Sanford Burnham research facility from Orange County, financed by the County over 30 years at 0% interest.
    • Established P3 Hotel on campus with no university investment and annual rent payments and participation in net receipts.
    • Represented the board of trustees through numerous impasse hearings with faculty union.
    • Served as business point person for building an implementation plan for the university to restructure affiliated corporation operating $120 million research and manufacturing facility.
    • Represented university in NCAA investigations and hearings, resulting in successful resolution of most issues and reduction of proposed sanctions.
    • Served as primary negotiator and legal advisor for establishment of the National Entrepreneur Center, a resource for small businesses in Central Florida
    • Developed strong relationships locally and nationally to provide specialized legal expertise and impactful state-wide business partners.
    • Spearheaded a $178 million university-based continuing care retirement community, whose affiliation with all university colleges creates unique education, research, and service opportunities for students and faculty and unparalleled life-long learning experiences for residents.

    University of Florida

    • Established multiple medical clinics in Jacksonville through purchase of existing physician practices or creation of new practices.
    • Drafted and provided legal guidance for incentive compensation plan for clinical faculty
    • Created management care affiliate to allow UF to accept risk-based contracts with payors.
    • Established the university's first P3 campus hotel.
  • Education
    • University of Florida, B.S., Accounting (1983)
      • Alpha Kappa Psi, President
    • University of Florida College of Law, J.D. (1986)
      • Moot Court Team, Vice Chair
      • National Moot Court Competition Team
  • Admissions
    • Florida
  • Professional Associations & Memberships
    • National Association of College and University Attorneys
      • Board of Directors, 2010-2013
      • Strategic Planning, Board operations and finance and audit committees
    • American Bar Association, Law School Accreditation Team
    • Small Business Advisory Counsel, Board of Directors
  • Awards & Recognitions
    • Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite”
  • Articles & Publications
  • Media Mentions
  • Presentations & Seminars
    • Frequent speaker on governance and university business topics.
    • “The General Counsel as a Strategic Partner with the Business Officer,” The National Association of College and University Business Officers Annual Conference, 2017
    • “Legal Roadblocks to University Partnerships,” American Association of State Colleges and Universities Task Force of College President, 2017
    • “Dealing with Difficult Situations,” NACUA General Counsel Institute, 2017
    • “Legal Issues Facing Boards,” University System of Florida Trustee, 2015
    • “Student Safety: What Every Engaged Trustee Should Know and Ask,” AGB Conference on Trusteeship, 2014
    • “The Complexity of Campus Culture: Strategies for Change,” NACUA February CLE Workshop, 2014
    • “The Freeh Recommendations: The Role of the General Counsel in Governance Reform, Policy Development, and Best Practices,” NACUA General Counsel Institute, 2013
    • “Compliance with the U.S. Department of Education State Authorization Rule,” NACUA Annual Conference, 2011
    • “Top 10 Legal Issues That Keep Higher Education Lawyers Awake At Night,” Community College Conference Legal Issue
    • “Developing and Implementing Computer Use Policies,” NACUA November CLE Workshop, 2001
    • "Key Legal Issues," Fall Workshop, 1997
    • “Cyberspace and the University,” NACUA Annual Conference, 1997
    • “E-mail, Privacy and Public Records,” Mid-Year Workshop, 1996