GrayRobinson taps Scott Cole to lead higher ed practice

Former University of Central Florida vice president and general counsel W. Scott Cole has joined GrayRobinson as shareholder and chair of the law firm’s higher education practice.

“Having the honor of working with UCF since its inception, GrayRobinson is proud to welcome one of its very own, Scott Cole, to our firm,” GrayRobinson President and CEO Dean Cannon said. “For nearly 20 years, Scott served UCF well as its general counsel, and we are excited he has chosen GrayRobinson as he embarks on the next chapter of his legal career. Scott is highly regarded within the education community, and his skill set and experience at the university level will be invaluable to our clients.”

For nearly 20 years, Cole has focused his legal career on 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.

Throughout his career, Cole has developed a wealth of experience in policy development, personnel investigations, and student conduct issues ranging from sexual harassment to expulsion. In a news release, GrayRobinson said Cole’s experience makes him well-equipped to advise on emerging issues facing presidents and governing boards of educational institutions, including diversity and inclusion, financial challenges, and collective bargaining.

Career highlights for Cole include growing the general counsel’s office at UCF from one attorney to a professional staff of 12 former private-practice attorneys; establishing the National Entrepreneur Center, a resource for small businesses in Central Florida; mobilizing the university’s discounted purchase of Sanford Burnham Medical Discovery Research Institute from Orange County, financed by the county for over 30 years at zero-percent interest; and spearheading 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.

“I’m proud to join GrayRobinson as a partner and chair of the higher education practice,” said Cole.  “While it was certainly an honor to be a part of a young and growing university for a large portion of my legal career, I am looking forward to being a part of the GrayRobinson team where I have the opportunity to broaden my reach and serve many different universities.”

Prior to his tenure at UCF, Cole was associate general counsel at the University of Florida (UF), 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.

 Cole earned his law degree and his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Florida.

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