Above and beyond all of Scott’s lifetime experiences and accomplishments, he is most proud of his success as a full-time single father to his teenage son. Scott’s son Athan is a straight “A” student and hockey player at Steinbrenner High School and for the Clearwater Ice Storm. Athan exemplifies the meaning of a successful scholar athlete and Scott could not be more excited about all Athan’s accomplishments, the young man he is becoming, and the future he has before him. The experience of being a full-time single father for over 10 years has proved to be the most challenging and rewarding experience of Scott’s life, has molded him as a man, and has offered him unique insight into the dynamic of children and families that have to adjust due to divorce. Please consider this your invitation to read further about Scott’s history, lifetime and professional experience, and qualifications for the position of Circuit Court Judge for Group 31 in Hillsborough County.
Scott Bonavita was born in Glens Falls, NY and moved to the Tampa Bay Area at the age of 9 a considers himself a Tampa native. He attended Egypt Lake Elementary School, Young Middle School, Buchannan Junior High, and Gaither High School. While in elementary school, Scott spent much of his time out of school at the West Tampa Boys Club playing sports. During his junior high and high school years he was a prominent soccer goalkeeper in the Tampa Bay area where he was regularly selected for the Florida Youth Soccer Association Select Team, the United States Southeast Regional Select Team, and the USA Olympic Player Pool. Additionally, Scott was a 3-year letterman in soccer, 2-year captain of the soccer team, a member of the Student Senate, and Homecoming King runner up while at Gaither. In his senior season, the soccer team awarded him the recognition as Most Dedicated Player.
Scott had many scholarship opportunities from around the country to play soccer, but chose to stay locally and attend the University of Tampa. In Scott’s freshman season at UT he posted six and a half shutouts…never being scored on, and the team was a NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Championship Semifinalist. After his freshman season, Scott left UT to pursue a professional soccer career with the Tampa Bay Rowdies. In Scott’s first season with the Tampa Bay Rowdies he was the backup goalkeeper to the legendary Winston DuBose appearing in one game and posting a shutout…never being scored on in a Rowdies uniform. Scott began his second season with the Rowdies slated to be the starting goalkeeper. Unfortunately, during a preseason training session Scott suffered a devastating shoulder injury requiring major surgery and ending his season and his professional playing career.
After professional soccer, Scott returned to college obtaining his BA Degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida, his MS Degree in Sports Administration from St. Thomas University in Miami, and his JD Degree from St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami. While at St. Thomas, Scott was an Adjunct Professor for the undergraduate program, teaching Hospitality and Tourism Law as well as the Legal & Regulatory Aspects of Management, President of the Entertainment and Sports Law Society, a Member of the St. Thomas Moot Court Board, and a Richard and Jeannette F. Hausler Scholarship Recipient.
After law school, Scott began his legal career at the State Attorney’s Office as an Assistant State Attorney serving in Monroe, Polk, and Hillsborough Counties during his tenure. After leaving the State Attorney’s Office in Hillsborough County, Scott went into private practice providing legal representation for a variety of clients in matters involving commercial litigation, banking and finance, criminal defense, condominium law, real estate transactions and litigation, contract disputes, business law, employment law, regulatory compliance, first party property insurance litigation, debt collection and restructuring, general insurance law, estate planning, as well as personal injury claims. In addition, Scott has been a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Court Mediator since 2014 and successfully mediated dozens of cases to successful resolution.
Scott has owned and operated his own successful solo law practice since 2012 and has over 18 years of courtroom honed legal experience trying numerous cases in various different practice areas in front of judges and juries in Hillsborough County and around the State of Florida. During that time, Scott has handled several matters Pro Bono and has served as a referral attorney for the Hillsborough County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service, many times providing the community free legal advice. Scott is a member of the Florida Bar and Hillsborough County Bar Association, and admitted to practice in all State Courts in Florida, the Middle District of Florida, the Southern District of Florida, the Northern District of Florida, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Scott prides himself on his ethical integrity, professionalism, honesty, and hard work.
Over his years in the Tampa Bay Area, Scott has supported and volunteered for many charities and non-profits locally, nationally, and globally, including Feeding Tampa Bay, Metropolitan Ministries, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Foundation, The National Kidney Foundation, Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Children’s Cancer Center, Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation, The Florida Aquarium, The Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Big Cat Rescue, Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County, Zoo at Lowry Park, MOSI, Humane Society of Tampa Bay, 4 Ocean, and Ric O’ Berry’s Dolphin Project to name a few. Scott has a deep passion for supporting organizations that help children, people in need, animals, and that support a healthy environment.
Scott has also managed to continue his athletic pursuits throughout his legal career and is a former Certified Personal Trainer with the International Sports Sciences Association and Certified CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. Along with numerous local CrossFit competitions and sprint triathlons, Scott has also competed in and finished the Gasparilla Half Marathon, St. Anthony’s Olympic Distance Triathlon, the Ironman 70.3 Augusta, GA, and the Ironman Boulder, CO.
Facing setbacks and challenges head on, Scott has exemplified and demonstrated the traits of a highly qualified judicial candidate throughout his professional and personal life. Scott has the work ethic, broad legal experience, knowledge, temperament, ethical integrity, physical and mental fortitude, courage, professionalism, communication skills, and character to be the next Circuit Court Judge for Group 31 in Hillsborough County, and he humbly asks for your support in this endeavor.