R. Lawrence  Ashe Jr.

R. Lawrence Ashe Jr.

Senior Counsel | Atlanta Office
T: (404) 420-4320
F: (404) 522-8409

Practice Group(s)



  • Harvard Law School - (LL.B., cum laude, 1967)
  • Princeton University - (A.B., magna cum laude, 1962)

Admitted to Practice

  • Georgia
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and DC Circuits
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia


About Lawrence

Lawrence is in his 50th year of advising on and litigating employment law and civil rights matters. He is nationally recognized for his class-action and test validation expertise and has been acclaimed by the National Law Journal as the “Dean of the Management Class Action Bar.” He has tried more employment and employment selection class actions to judgment than any other management lawyer in the country, including some of the largest cases tried to date. Lawrence has been counsel of record in over fifty U.S. District Courts around the country and tried cases in over twenty.

His honors and offices include the Anti-Defamation League’s first Judge Elbert Tuttle Distinguished Jurisprudence Award in 1998 and election to its Southeastern Regional Board in 2009, induction as a Fellow into both the American College of Trial Lawyers and the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, Founding Director and Executive Committee member of the American Employment Law Council. He graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University (1962), cum laude from Harvard Law School (1967), and is admitted to practice in Georgia and the District of Columbia, as well as numerous federal trial and appellate courts around the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Lawrence is the Northern District of Georgia’s representative on the Lawyer Conduct and Discipline Committee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (2001 to date), having previously served on the Disciplinary Committee for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Lawrence’s civil rights practice is 15-20% representation of plaintiffs and the balance defendants. Test validity and other employment selection issues are over one-third of his practice. Lawrence was the sole “Star Individual” in Chambers USA’s 2010, 2011, and 2012 Listing of Labor and Employment lawyers in Georgia.  He was named Atlanta “Litigation and Labor and Employment Lawyer of the Year” for 2012 by Atlanta Best Lawyers.  He continues to be listed by vote of Georgia lawyers as one of the top 100 lawyers in Georgia. 

Lawrence has served as Management Co-Chair of the EEO Law Committee of the ABA’s Labor and Employment Law Section. He was a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Georgia for employment and civil rights law for 17 years.

Lawrence is a Master, Bleckley Inn of Court (1990 to date) and serves on its Executive Committee.  He remains an active participant and member in several professional organizations and civic activities, including the Board of the Piedmont Park Conservancy. He is a Council Member of the Harvard Law School Association (1994-1998, 1999 to date) and serves as its Southeastern Regional Representative (1999 to date). Lawrence is a founding Board Member and on the Executive Committee of Atlanta’s National Center for Civil and Human Rights. He served on active duty in the U.S. Navy on a destroyer, 1962-64, and received his honorable discharge as a Lieutenant, USNR. Lawrence co-chaired Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s Transition Committee in 2009-2010.

Since March 2011, Lawrence has served as Honorary Consul for the Republic of Poland to the State of Georgia and has been reappointed to serve until November 2020.

Lawrence was the first Caucasian member of the Gate City Bar Association (1971) and the first Caucasian President of the Atlanta Urban League (1977-80). In 2009 Lawrence was inducted into the Gate City Bar Association Hall of Fame. In 2012 he was awarded the Greater Atlanta Urban League’s Legacy Champion Award.  In 2015, Lawrence was recognized by the State Bar of Georgia and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights with a Civil Rights Milestone Certification for his participation in and contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and the struggle for equality and integration of African-American citizens in Georgia.

Representative Engagements

  • 95% of over fifty years of law practice has been in jury and non-jury civil disputes and litigation, focusing on employment, labor, and civil rights matters. National employment and discrimination law practice; approximately 80% defendant representation and 20% plaintiff. Employment testing issues now average being one-half of Lawrence's practice. Lawrence has also successfully mediated over two dozen cases.
  • Lead trial counsel in some of the largest class action employment and other discrimination cases actually tried to date, as well as numerous individual cases. Have tried to conclusion twelve major discrimination class actions, more than any other management lawyer in America.
  • AMAE v. State of California, et al. (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) – Lead trial counsel in the largest class action employment claim tried to date. Decision affirmed en banc by the Ninth Circuit, which held state teacher certification test subject to Title VII regulation, but, because it tested basic skills, sufficiently related to teaching to withstand disparate impact claims.
  • EEOC v. Rite-Aid (N.D. Ga. 2012) – Lead counsel for defense in grant of summary judgment and holding that a successor employer lawfully refused to continue granting an accommodation made by predecessor in connection with seated cashiers.
  • Elrod v. Sears, Roebuck (11th Cir. 1991) – On appeal, obtained favorable reversal based on principle that employer only needs to have a reasonably-held belief in the basis for making an adverse employment decision.

Professional and Civic Involvement

  • Professional Involvement:
  • State Bar of Georgia
  • District of Columbia Bar
  • Gate City Bar Association
  • Atlanta Bar Association
  • American Employment Law Council, Founder and Executive Committee Member
  • N.D. Ga. Member of the Committee on Lawyer Qualifications and Conduct, 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (2001 – present)
  • Master and Executive Committee, Bleckley Inn of Court, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia (1990 – present)
  • Anti-Defamation League's first Judge Elbert Tuttle Distinguished Jurisprudence Award (1998); ADL Southeastern Regional Board (2009-2011)
  • Special Assistant Attorney General, State of Georgia, for labor law and civil rights (1980-1997)
  • Court Disciplinary Committee, USDC, N.D. Ga. (1992-1996)
  • Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers (1996)
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers (1994)
  • Management Co-Chair, EEO Committee, Labor and Employment Law Section, American Bar Association (1989-1992)
  • Member of Labor and Litigation Sections of ABA; Management Chair, ABA Labor Law Section's Test Use and Validation Subcommittee (1977-1980); Bars if the Supreme Court of the United States; the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and the District of Columbia Circuits; the Supreme Court of Georgia; the Georgia Court of Appeals; the United States District Courts for the Eastern District of Arkansas, the Northern and Middle Districts of Georgia, and the Eastern District of Michigan
  • Civic Involvement:
  • Board and Executive Committee member, Center for Civil and Human Rights (2008 - Present)
  • Council Member of the Harvard Law School Association (1994-98, 1999 - Present), and Southeastern Regional Representative (1999 - Present)
  • Honorary Consul to the State of Georgia for the Republic of Poland (March 2011 - Present)
  • Board member, Piedmont Park Conservancy (2006 - Present)
  • Chair, Ivan Allen Society, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta (2006-2007), Campaign Cabinet (2008), and Leadership Giving Executive Committee (2009 to date)
  • Board and Executive Committee member, ReGender (formerly National Council for Research on Women) (2007-2013)
  • President (1977-1980) and Director (1974-81, 1982-97), Legacy Award (2012), Urban League of Greater Atlanta
  • Co-Chair, Transition Committee, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (2009-2010)
  • Chair, Mayor’s Committee for Atlanta City Attorney Selection (2002 and 2006)
  • National Board, Girls Inc. (formerly Girls Clubs of America (1989-1998)


  • Recognized by Best Lawyers as a leading practitioner in the categories of Civil Rights Law and Labor and Employment Law (2018)
  • Civil Rights Milestone Honoree Award from the State Bar of Georgia and the Center for Civil and Human Rights "as one of the Georgia lawyers who worked for justice and equal treatment for all of Georgia's citizens." (June 3, 2015)
  • One of 10 "Nation's Most Powerful Employment Attorneys - Hall of Fame" (2013)
  • Named Atlanta 2012 "Litigation Labor and Employment Lawyer of the Year" by "Atlanta Best Lawyers"
  • Georgia Trend - one of top ten lawyers in Georgia (2010, 2011, 2012)
  • Sole "Star Individual" in the 2010, 2011, and 2012 Chambers USA listings of Georgia Labor and Employment lawyers
  • Selected as one of "The 100 Most Powerful Employment Attorneys in America" (May 2009, 2011 and 2012) by Lawdragon and Human Resources Executive magazine
  • Gate City Bar Association Hall of Fame Award (2009)
  • Named as a "Georgia Super Lawyer" by Law & Politics and Atlanta Magazine (2004 - 2018)

Publications and Presentations

  • Co-Presenter, "Legal Update," EEI (Edison Electric Institute) 2018 Conference on Testing, New Orleans, Louisiana (June 2018)

  • Webinar Co-Presenter, "Legal Implications of Testing on Job Applicants," Lorman Education Services (March 2018)

  • Co-author, "Scored Tests" chapter of Schlei & Grossman, Employment Discrimination Law (BNA, 1976), the 1983 Second Edition, the 1995 Third Edition, the 2007 Fourth Edition, and all but one supplement
  • Co-Editor, 1989 Five-Year Cumulative Supplement and drafter of original Scored Tests Chapter and all subsequent editions and supplements thereto (ABA), Lindemann, Grossman & Weirich Employment Discrimination Law (BNA 1983 - Present)
  • Co-author with Ginger McRae, "Performance Evaluations go to COurt in the 1980's," <i>Mercer Law Reivew</i>
  • Co-author of the <I>amicus curiae</I> brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by the Executive Committee of Division 14 of the American Psychological Association in <I> Washington v. Davis</I>, 423 U.S. 820 (1976)
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