Robert L. Duston
Rob Duston is a business lawyer and litigator who helps a wide range of businesses, schools and other entities in three areas of the law:
- compliance with the public access requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), Fair Housing Act ("FHA"), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and similar laws;
- employment and labor issues likely to significantly impact operations or lead to negative media attention; and
- legal issues affecting higher education and schools in these and other compliance matters, including Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights ("OCR") investigations.
Rob's ADA/FHA/504 work is informed by his personal experience with children and adults with disabilities and practical experience managing a major church building project. Over his 25 years of handling these legal matters, Rob has dealt with innumerable types of accommodations and accessibility questions and complaints. This experience, combined with his regular interactions with leading architects whom federal regulators rely on for advice on accessible design, contributes to his understanding of how accessible design and construction, accommodations and civil rights issues intersect and create compliance challenges, especially in the retail, real estate, and primary and post-secondary education industries.
Rob's experience counseling management includes a wide range of employment and traditional labor law matters. His litigation and negotiation skills are valued in matters that expose employers to high-stakes litigation and high-profile publicity. Having served earlier in his career as acting managing partner of a boutique law firm and overseeing a merger there, Rob understands the challenges that general counsel face with discharge issues and allegations of harassment and discrimination. This practical background contributes to his ability to reduce complex issues into compelling stories for training, negotiations, briefs and trial.
Rob draws on his early career experience as a law clerk in the University of Virginia Office of Legal Counsel and acting as outside general counsel to smaller colleges to advise educational institutions not only on ADA and labor and employment issues, but also civil rights matters such as Title VI and Title IX. He also handles a wide range of student affairs, academic conduct, due process and First Amendment matters.
Outside of his practice, Rob's ability to seek input from multiple interests and address complex problems is demonstrated by his work as chair of the Board for Helping Children Worldwide ("HCW"), a non-profit with operations in Bo, Sierra Leone. In this capacity, Rob partners with other lawyers, diplomats and doctors, on and off the Board, to help HCW offer residential, child support and foster care programs for victims of forced child labor and operate a hospital and community health programs in the African nation.
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