Founder + Lead Attorney
Justin Gilbert obtained his JD at Southern Methodist University in 1993, and his LLM at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland in 1994. He has been practicing law for more than 25 years now, with a concentration on two focused practice areas– school law and employment law. If you need assistance with a case in one of these areas, he is capable and eager to help you find resolution.
Mr. Gilbert is rated Martindale Hubbell prestigious AV Preeminent by his peers. He is featured regularly as a Super Lawyer, and is recognized by Best Lawyers in America in the practice area of Employment Law– Individuals. For several consecutive years, Mr. Gilbert has also been named in the top 100 lawyers in the state of Tennessee.
He works at his private practice alongside his wife Lynda, also an attorney, and they have twin boys and two daughters.
School law is a true passion for Mr. Gilbert. In fact, he has published more cases assisting children with disabilities in Tennessee and the Sixth Circuit than any other attorney. He works diligently to aid clients in the areas of least restrictive environment and inclusion, reducing harmful restraints and isolations, and obtaining classroom support to help special needs children find success.
Mr. Gilbert has also initiated direct federal actions involving abuse cases, lack of funding, and systemic impediments to least restrictive environments. He has also tried numerous due process cases for children with disabilities, followed by federal court enforcement actions in every federal district across the state— in Memphis, Jackson, Knoxville, Nashville, and Chattanooga. He has enforced the rights of children, as well as established important case law before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on issues ranging from school retaliation to school segregation of children with disabilities.
Mr. Gilbert’s work in the area of school litigation has not only netted substantial sums to assist these children, but has, more importantly, prompted legal changes that result in better educational opportunities for all children with disabilities. Some successes include ensuring access for these children to informal assistance from the Tennessee Department of Education, and allowing parents to petition the federal courts for systemic actions requiring broad correctional relief. Through his work on these cases, Mr. Gilbert has collaborated with some of the finest experts in the country, and even the world.
The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) interviewed Mr. Gilbert to assist other parents and lawyers involved in the fight for inclusion:
Employment Law Work
For more than two decades, Mr. Gilbert has championed the rights of workers in virtually every possible area including:
He has also negotiated sensitive employment separations for executive-level female employees who have experienced sexual harassment, retailiation, and “glass ceiling” issues in corporate settings and other professional environments. He’s represented top-level executives (CEOs, CFOs, and VPs) in suits concerning age discrimination, retaliation, and breach of fiduciary duty.
Mr. Gilbert also aids employment practitioners through amicus efforts. In 2014, he argued two cases before the Tennessee Supreme Court involving issues of causation standards for retaliation and reporting requirements for whistleblowers. Also while writing for the Tennessee Employment Lawyers Association (TENNELA), Mr. Gilbert helped change the summary judgment standard for employment cases in Gossett v. Tractor Supply Co., 320 S.W.3d 777 (Tenn. 2010), then convincing the Tennessee Supreme Court to reject the federal pleading standards of Twombly and Iqbal, in Webb v. Nashville Area Habitat, 346 S.W.3d 422 (Tenn. 2011).
He also published “Gossett, White, and Staub – the Dilemma of Multiple Motivations in Employment Law Cases,” (June 2011, Tennessee Bar Journal). This article addresses legal standards of causation for cases involving multiple factors for decision-making. He authored “Prior History, Present Discrimination, and the ADA’s Record of Disability,” Univ. Memphis Law Rev, Spring 2001.