Scott L. Baena

Senior Special Counsel
305-350-2403
Area of Focus: Business Finance & Restructuring
"Extraordinarily knowledgeable and competent in his area of the law."
- Chambers USA 2016
GET TO KNOW Scott
A founding partner of Bilzin Sumberg, Scott is generally regarded as a dean of the bankruptcy and restructuring bar. Over the past four decades, Scott has counseled high-visibility clients in some of the largest and most complex bankruptcy proceedings throughout the country. Today, Scott plays a senior role in bankruptcy and restructuring matters handled by the Firm, in addition to overseeing several firm-wide initiatives including our client satisfaction program, and the Firm's business and professional development programs. 

Scott also has a new mission: building the next generation of Bilzin Sumberg’s leaders. Scott is deeply involved in training and mentoring initiatives and he has spearheaded a bootcamp for new associates that immerses them not only in the Firm but also in the wider Miami community with a goal of inculcating new associates with Bilzin Sumberg’s core value of caring, a pillar of which is giving back to the community in which we live and work. 
Q & A
Why do clients come to Bilzin Sumberg?
I do not know another firm, national or otherwise, that spends the time and resources that we do at Bilzin Sumberg to ensure the capabilities of our lawyers. From substantive professional training to ensuring impeccable client interactions from every lawyer, we leave nothing to speculation or chance.
What is a founding value of the Firm which you have helped embed in its culture?
Pride of authorship. Show me a letter sent out by a law firm and I can tell you everything you want to know about that firm’s culture, professionalism, and capabilities. Every Bilzin Sumberg lawyer is aware that what they do is testimony to the law firm as a whole — and clients know it. 
How has the practice of law evolved since you helped found Bilzin Sumberg?
I am excited by the prospects for the legal profession and the practice of law in the future. Clients are insisting that their interests and those of their lawyers be aligned. They are looking for strategic relationships that are founded on principles of partnership. I regard that as healthy. Lawyers and clients must be more mindful of each other, and forge deeper bonds. We recognized the re-emergence of true counselors many years ago. Our lateral hiring and our training speak to our commitment to ensure that our lawyers can fashion business-minded legal solutions. We are gratified that the legal community is steadily coming to the same point of view.
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Scott's PRACTICES
EXPERIENCE
EXPERIENCE
Debtors' counsel to Fontainebleau Las Vegas Holdings, LLC, and two of its affiliates in their chapter 11 cases in the Southern District of Florida. The debtors had over $2 billion of funded debt, had used $500 million of equity, and were prosecuting claims for $800 million in unpaid additional financing. Until it ceased construction, the Fontainebleau debtors were actively developing the "Fontainebleau Las Vegas," a signature "Tier A" casino hotel resort. We handled cash collateral negotiations, created a process for the numerous outstanding mechanic's lien claims, resolved litigation against certain lenders, and prepared and implemented an exit strategy. With Court approval, we conducted a "363" sale of the hotel to the highest bidder. A stalking-horse auction ensued in open court between a publicly-traded casino company and Carl Icahn, with Mr. Icahn ultimately being chosen as the successful bidder. In January 2010, Mr. Icahn closed on the sale of the hotel.
EXPERIENCE
Counsel to three investment funds that lent hundreds of millions of dollars to entities known as the "Banyon entities" which, in turn, used those proceeds to acquire structured settlements from Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler P.A. ("RRA"). These loans were guaranteed by the principals of the Banyon entities, George and Gayla Sue Levin. Unbeknownst to our clients, the settlements were actually part of the billion dollar Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Scott Rothstein, RRA's founder. When the Banyon entities' loans defaulted, the principals' guarantees became due. After failing to pay on the guaranty, we commenced involuntary chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings in the Southern District of Florida against the Banyon principals, asserting over $150 million in claims on behalf of our clients. In December 2010, our clients were sued for approximately $420 million in a "clawback" lawsuit filed by the RRA Trustee. We successfully defended our clients, obtaining a settlement with the RRA Trustee for less than 10% of the amount originally sought. We also successfully obtained a $200 million judgment against Gayla Sue Levin and reached an agreement with George Levin to consent to entry into bankruptcy.
INSIGHTS

Anti-Defamation League to Present Scott L. Baena with 2016 Jurisprudence Award.

CREDENTIALS
  • The George Washington University, J.D., with honors, 1974
    The George Washington University, B.B.A., 1970
  • American Bar Association
    American Bar Foundation
    Fellow
    American Law Institute
    Lifetime Member
    Bankruptcy Bar Association of the Southern District of Florida
    Baptist Health South Florida

    Founder

    Dade County Bar Association
    Board of Directors
    Young Lawyers Section, 1977 - 1979
    Florida Bar Foundation
    Former Director
    The Florida Bar
    Bankruptcy/Uniform Commercial Code ("UCC") Committee, Former Chair
    Business Law Section, Former Chair
    Former Governor, Board of Governors, 4 terms
    Florida Board of Bar Examiners
    2014 - Present
    Florida Fiduciary Forum
    Board Member
    Greater Miami Jewish Federation
    Judicial Reception Co-Chair, 2013 - 2014
    Board of Directors, 2015
    Law.com
    Bankruptcy Contributing Author, 2014
    Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc.
    Board of Directors, 2016
    Loan Officer Legal Alert
    Advisory Board, 1987 - 1990
    Pratt's Journal of Bankruptcy Law
    Editorial Board Member
    President's Committee on Economic Development
    1970
    United Way of Miami-Dade
    Tocqueville Society, Member
    University of Miami School of Law
    Former Adjunct Professor
  • Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
    U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
    U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Middle District of Florida
    U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
    U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
    U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
    U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
    U.S. Supreme Court
  • - Anti-Defamation League, Jurisprudence Award, 2016

    - Chambers USA, Restructuring & Bankruptcy, Band 1, 2003 - 2015; Senior Statesman, 2016 - present

    - The Best Lawyers in America, Bankruptcy & Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency & Reorganization Law, Litigation - Bankruptcy, 1987 - present

    - Florida Trend, Legal Elite Hall of Fame, 2015 - present

    - Daily Business Review, Most Effective Lawyers, Bankruptcy finalist, 2013

    - The International Who's Who of Insolvency & Restructuring Lawyers, 2008 - present

    - Florida Trend, Legal Elite, 2004 - present

    - Florida Super Lawyers, Top 100 Florida Super Lawyers, 2006 - 2016

    - Florida Super Lawyers, Top 100 Miami Florida Super Lawyers, 2010 - present

    - Florida Super Lawyers, 2006 - present

    - South Florida Legal Guide, Top Lawyers, 2003 - present

    - Daily Business Review, Top Dealmakers of the Year, winner of the Distressed/Restructuring category, 2010

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