About Scott Cairns

Scott Cairns

Admitted in Florida and in Virginia
3300 Bank of America Tower
50 North Laura Street
Jacksonville FL 32202-3661


Scott is a certified mediator qualified for state circuit court and federal court mediations. Scott mainly handles employment related mediations, but also is retained for commercial litigation matters.  Excellent conference rooms are available for mediations at McGuireWoods, Scott’s former firm.

McGuireWoods, LLP

Scott was a partner with the international law firm of McGuireWoods LLP until his retirement on December 31, 2019. Before retirement and devoting his practice entirely to mediation, Scott was a trial lawyer who, for more than 38 years, represented clients in a broad range of cases, often involving sensitive and high-profile issues. His litigation experience has involved a wide variety of matters including civil rights, employment, tort, and commercial litigation in trial and appellate courts across the United States. He has been recognized by his peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers of America and was named to Florida Super Lawyers.

Scott represented clients in discrimination and harassment cases under federal and state laws. He represented public institutions litigating civil rights and constitutional issues under 42 USC § 1983 and Title IX 20 USC § 1981.  He handled class actions under Rule 23 and opt-in claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act. He has litigated a variety of commercial litigation matters including theft of trade secrets and breach of noncompetition agreements. Scott represented clients in high-exposure toxic tort product liability and personal injury matters.

Scott also has experience litigating First Amendment issues, including both religion and speech cases, as well as Fourteenth Amendment due process claims.

He counseled clients concerning issues associated with their mergers, acquisitions and layoffs, the drafting of employment agreements, noncompetition agreements and related employment policies, as well as investigation of sexual harassment claims, preparation of affirmative action plans and OFCCP audits.

Scott worked in McGuireWoods’ London office, representing clients in cross-border matters and assisting in the development of the firm’s international practices. Scott has been part of the firm’s management, having served as managing partner of the Jacksonville office and as a member of the firm’s Board of Partners. He is a certified circuit court mediator for the Florida Supreme Court and a certified mediator for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.


  • Representation of Fortune 250 client in sexual harassment claim in federal court in Florida.
  • Advised client on restrictive covenants in the US and the UK and coordinated advice from other international jurisdictions such as Hong Kong and Russia.
  • Representation of Fortune 250 client in racial harassment and personal injury claims in federal court in North Carolina.
  • Representation of Fortune 250 client in race sex and age discrimination claims in federal court in Florida.
  • Representation of forest products company in theft of trade secrets noncompete case resulting in consent decree and very favorable settlement.
  • Representation of forest product’s company in nationwide class action involving migrant workers. The federal district court granted our motion for summary judgment which was upheld by the court of appeals.
  • Lead trial counsel in over twenty jury trials.
  • Lead appellate counsel in over twenty appeals in state and federal court.


  • Florida
  • Virginia
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia


  • Employment Litigation
  • Noncompetes, Trade Secrets & Employee Fraud
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Class Action
  • Product Liability & Tort Litigation


  • University of Virginia School of Law, JD
    • Member, Editorial Board, Virginia Law Review, 1981
  • University of Virginia, BA, 1973


  • Selected for inclusion as a “Leading Lawyer,” Transport Rail And Road, Florida, Legal 500 2017-2018
  • Named “Lawyer of the Year,” Litigation – Labor and Employment Jacksonville, The Best Lawyers in America 2017, 2019
  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Litigation – Labor and Employment Railroad Law, Woodward & White, Inc., 2006-2020
  • Named to “Florida Super Lawyers ” Employment & Labor, Business Litigation, International, Employee Benefits/ERISA Super Lawyers Thomson Reuters, 2006-2019
  • Named a “Best Lawyer” Jacksonville Magazine: 2013-2017
  • Named “Ultimate Attorney – Pro Bono“ Jacksonville Business Journal, 2017
  • Named a “Leader in the Field” Employment (Foreign Expert) Chambers Global /2013-2014
  • Named a “Leader in the Field” Litigation (Experts Based Abroad) Chambers Global 2013
  • AV Rated Martindale-Hubbell


  • Co-author, “Pursuing Diversity While Avoiding the Reverse-Discrimination Trap,” Association of Corporate Counsel Newsletter, June 2017
  • Author, US and UK Case Law Update, McGuireWoods Legal Insights; November 6, 2012
  • Co-author, A World of Difference, HR Director, October 2012
  • Co-author, “Restrictive covenants in the U.S. or UK,” Thomson Reuters; August 23, 2012
  • Author, Work Product Protection for Compilations of Nonparty Documents: A Proposed Analysis, L Rev. 1. 1980


  • Board of Directors, The Sulzbacher Center
  • Board of Directors, Community Hospice and Palliative Care
  • Board of Directors, World Affairs Council of Jacksonville
  • Secretary / Treasurer, Chester Bedell Inn of Court