D. Scott Baker is an experienced real estate, land use, and business lawyer. He is board certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. Scott joined ZKS in 2006 from the City of Orlando, where he served as a Chief Planner for strategic planning and special projects.
Scott’s transactional practice encompasses commercial and residential real estate purchases and sales; real estate-based and asset-based financing; commercial leasing; condominium and homeowner associations; mobile home parks; land trusts; covenants and easements; and business sales. Scott’s transactional clients include national banks, developers, family real estate companies, court-appointed receivers, and individual investors. On numerous occasions he has served as court-approved counsel for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee liquidating real estate assets in Central Florida. Scott also advises ZKS clients on probate and guardianship matters, and serves as counsel to personal representatives and guardians.
With over a decade of experience as a local government planner, Scott frequently assists ZKS clients with land use and zoning approvals and appeals; due diligence studies; and regulatory compliance. Scott has served as land use counsel for projects ranging in size from Developments of Regional Impact (DRIs) to small-scale land use changes and variances. Scott often defends property owners from code enforcement actions and has obtained significant fine abatements for properties in many Florida jurisdictions. In recent years, Scott’s knowledge and experience have proved especially useful to lenders and property owners facing unique challenges related to loan workouts, bankruptcies, and foreclosures.
Scott frequently counsels ZKS clients on strategies to avoid and resolve real estate and business disputes, including litigation when necessary to protects clients’ interests. He has litigated cases throughout Florida involving such matters as complex commercial mortgage foreclosures; covenant enforcement; easement and right of way disputes; lien priority contests; equitable lien claims; and partitions. Scott has also represented ZKS clients in adversary proceedings related to probate and guardianship cases.
Scott holds AICP certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners, a national institute of experienced urban planning professionals. He is also an adjunct professor of paralegal studies at Valencia College in Orlando.
Scott’s pro bono activities include serving as a Guardian ad Litem for children in the Orange County court system, and representing indigent clients for the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association.