Robert L. Fortson

Senior Vice President , State Government Relations

Atlanta, GA

+1 404 443 5812

BIO
Robert serves as a senior vice president in McGuireWoods Consulting's state government relations group and also practices law with McGuireWoods LLP. He has experience in education, healthcare, legislative and regulatory law, and labor and employment matters. His practice focuses on advising local and state authorized charter schools on issues such as board governance, charter applications and renewals, employment issues, and contract negotiations with management companies and other vendors. He also represents school board members and concerned citizens in matters related to board governance and school system accreditation.

Before joining McGuireWoods Consulting, he served as of counsel at Georgia360 Public Affairs and as a litigation and trial attorney with Turner Bachman & Garrett. He has also served in various roles in and related to federal, state and local government, including stints in the legal counsel's office at the U.S. Department of Education and the Georgia Municipal Association, and a two-year clerkship for U.S. District Court Judge Thomas W. Thrash. Rob received his J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Georgia School of Law and was inducted into the Order of the Coif.

A former teacher and coach in the Baltimore City School System and Teach For America alumnus, Rob stays involved with Teach For America and several other educational organizations. He and his wife, Meeghan, are both Atlanta natives and reside in East Atlanta with their son.
EXPERIENCE

Representation of intervening charter school seeking authorization to operation in school district governed by 1960’s desegregation order. United States v. Peach County School District et al., 69-CV-2991, M.D.Ga (2015)

Obtained injunction for charter school against municipality refusing to issue certificate of occupancy.  Utopian Academy for the Arts v. City of Riverdale and Wood; 2014CV3393, Clayton County Superior Court (2014)

Representation of Warren County, GA citizens in petition before administrative law judge, trial court and Georgia Supreme Court seeking removal of local board of education members for jeopardizing school system accreditation. Roberts et al. v. Governor Deal et al., 290 Ga. 705 (2012).

Representation of state commission-approved charter school in landmark litigation testing constitutionality of Georgia's 2008 charter school law. Gwinnett County School District et al. v. Cox et al., 289 Ga. 265 (2011).

Representation of Atlanta Board of Education members in declaratory judgment action to determine proper leadership under board’s governing charter. Burks et al. v. Atlanta Independent School System et al., 2010 CV 192686, Fulton County Superior Court (Nov. 23, 2010).

Counsel to several charter schools in renegotiation or termination of operating and lease agreements with education management companies.

Representation of charter schools in petition to the State Board of Education for approval as state chartered special school.

Representation of charter school in student IDEA claim before administrative law judge.

Presiding hearing officer in teacher termination appeal before local board of education. 

AFFILIATIONS

Member, Georgia Bar Association

Member, Georgia Chamber of Commerce

Member, Georgia Public Policy Foundation

Member, Advisory Council, KIPP Strive Academy

Member, Alumni Board of Directors, Metro Atlanta, Teach For America

Vice Chair, Next Generation Men

Member, Board of Overseers, The Ben Franklin Academy

Steering Committee Member, Young Professionals for Education Equity

Founding Member and Finance Chair, Village Church of East Atlanta 

ADMISSIONS

Georgia

PUBLICATIONS
Co-author, Tinker's Material World: How the Supreme Court's First Amendment Student Speech Precedent Fails To Confront Indiscriminate Acts of Violence in Schools, GA. ED. L, & POL'Y FORUM, Vol. 1, 2005
SERVICE AREAS

Coalition Development

Executive and Legislative Affairs

Local Government Relations

Strategic Communications and Grassroots