Donald F. Austin


Donald F. Austin

Contact
Direct: 206-462-6708
Email: dfa@pattersonbuchanan.com
Principal
Admitted to practice in Washington, Idaho and California

Practice Area

Mr. Austin has practiced law since 1986 primarily in the areas of school law and public entity defense. He was General Counsel for California’s Ventura Unified School District for eight years, where he handled nearly all legal issues for that 17,500 student district. In 2004 he was President of the California Council of School Attorneys.

Mr. Austin’s experience includes both investigations and litigation in a wide variety of cases involving allegations of sexual abuse; sexual harassment; race, gender, age, and/or disability discrimination; employee misconduct; and cases involving catastrophic injuries. In addition, he advises schools on special education and section 504 issues and has represented school districts in special education due process hearings. He has tried cases and appeals in state and federal courts.

Mr. Austin has taught School Law as an adjunct professor in graduate schools of education at Washington State University, Seattle Pacific University, California State University at Northridge, and California Lutheran University. Before practicing law, he taught English and coached football, wrestling, soccer, and swimming at Lincoln High School in Portland, Oregon. In the last event he coached, his team won the Oregon State Girls Swimming Championship.


Education
  • Northwest School of Law of Lewis & Clark College, Juris Doctorate, 1986
    • Associate Editor for the law review, Environmental Law
  • Portland State University, B.A. and M.A.T., English 1970, 1977

Publications / Presentations / Speaking Engagements
Mr. Austin is a frequent speaker on school law issues and has presented to the National School Board Association Council of School Attorneys, the California School Board Association, the California Council of School Attorneys, the Washington State School Directors Association, the Washington Council of School Attorneys, the Washington School Personnel Association, and scores of Washington school districts and ESDs. His presentation topics include: preventing sexual abuse of children in the schools, documenting employee misconduct, understanding and meeting special education and section 504 requirements, and conducting investigations.



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