Robert L. Fortson Partner

Rob has extensive experience in education, healthcare, legislative and regulatory law, and labor and employment issues. He regularly advises public sector clients on matters related to administrative and regulatory policy, bid protests and procurement, and legislative lobbying.

Rob leads the education team for McGuireWoods Consulting’s Georgia Office, which represents online universities and charter schools, academic services companies, and curriculum and assessment providers.

Through his education practice, Rob advises schools and education service providers on a variety of corporate and operational issues including board governance, facilities acquisition, financing and leasing, charter applications and renewals, FTE allotment and appropriations issues, employment disputes, IDEA and 504 compliance, student disciplinary issues, and vendor negotiations. He has also represented school board members and concerned citizens in litigation related to board governance and school system accreditation. Rob is also a certified charter school board governance trainer and serves on the Atlanta Public School’s charter school petition interview committee, which reviews all applications for approval by the school district.

Before joining McGuireWoods Consulting, he served as of counsel at Georgia360 Public Affairs and as a litigation 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 two sons.

McGuireWoods Consulting

McGuireWoods Consulting LLC ("MWC") is a wholly owned subsidiary of the McGuireWoods LLP law firm. From time to time, various McGuireWoods lawyers provide non-legal services to MWC clients, but MWC cannot provide legal services or advice. Therefore, any work MWC performs for a client does not give rise to an attorney-client relationship or privilege. Should you require legal services from McGuireWoods, as well as consulting services from MWC, you must engage the law firm separately.

Experience

Successfully defended motion to dismiss in charter school funding dispute. Cobb County School District et al. v. Learning Center Foundation of Central Cobb, Inc., Case No. A18A1098, Ga. Court of Appeals (2018)

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

  • The University of Georgia School of Law, JD, magna cum laude, 2005
  • University of Virginia, BA, 2000

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 

  • Moderator, "CCRPI Hacking: How to Increase a School’s Overall Score Without Sacrificing its Educational Mission," 2019 Georgia Charter School Association Conference, February 13-15, 2019
  • Presenter, "Charter School Procurement 101: Buyers, Suppliers and Vendors, Oh My!," 2019 Georgia Charter School Association Conference, February 13-15, 2019
  • Presenter, "School Handbooks! Everything You Always Wanted to Know but were Afraid to Ask," 2018 Georgia Charter Schools Association Conference, March 6-7, 2018
  • Moderator, "Finding the Right IDEA: Helping Charter Schools Navigate Special Education Challenges," 2017 Georgia Charter Schools Association Conference, March 14-15, 2017
  • Panelist, "Putting the Charter Bargain Into Practice: Effective Contracting for Autonomy and Accountability," 2016 National Association of Charter School Authorizers Conference, November 25, 2016
  • Panelist, "The Nuances of Dealing with Conflicts of Interest," 2016 Georgia Charter Schools Association Conference, February 4-5, 2016
  • Moderator, "What Role Can Charters Play in Solving Georgia’s Graduation Dilemma," 2016 Georgia Charter Schools Association Conference, February 4-5, 2016
  • Moderator, "How to land a Free Charter School Facility," 2015 Georgia Charter Schools Association Conference, January 29-30, 2015
  • Moderator, "Finding the RIGHT School Leader," 2014 Georgia Charter Schools Association Conference, January 30-31, 2014
  • Panelist, "Reality Check: Former Federal Clerks Provide an Inside Vie of Summary Judgment," Atlanta Bar Association CLE, March 7, 2008
  • Moderator, "Changes in the Charter Environment: What It Means for Students, Teachers and Families," Teach For America Alumni Summit, December 9, 2009
  • Georgia

Selected as a "Distinguished Leader", Georgia Legal Awards, Daily Report, 2019

“40 Under 40,” Georgia Trend, 2015

Named a "Rising Star," James Magazine, 2014-2015

  • Author, Georgia Election Summary, McGuireWoods Consulting LLC, November 10, 2016
  • 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
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