Rudy Austin, retired and revered Partner, Gentry Locke

J. Rudy Austin

Retired Partner

Rudy Austin, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, has retired from his position of senior litigation partner after 50 years of experience in the practice areas of insurance defense, insurance coverage, workers’ compensation, construction, and legal ethics.  During his long career at Gentry Locke, Rudy has been consistently noted among the Best Lawyers in America for Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants.  He also has been one of a select group of lawyers recognized by Chambers USA for Virginia Litigation: General Commercial, was noted as a Litigation Star in General Commercial and Insurance Litigation by Benchmark Litigation, and he was consistently noted as a Virginia Super Lawyer in Civil Litigation and Defense, and is one of Virginia Business magazine’s “Legal Elite.”  Rudy is highly esteemed as a virtual encyclopedia of legal knowledge, and has devoted thousands of hours to mentoring young lawyers at Gentry Locke. The example he set is still the bedrock of our firm culture.

  • Jury trials
  • Years at Gentry Locke
  • Years married
  • Adorable grandchildren
  • You’ve had quite an illustrious career as a lawyer. Did you ever consider a different profession?

    I considered the ministry at one point. We have several Methodist ministers in our family. However, I decided that I wanted to pursue law as a sophomore in high school. My civics teacher sparked my interest.

  • What are your interests outside of work?

    I am fortunate to have several. I was a history major at the University of Virginia and still have a strong interest in military, Civil War and WWII history. I have an extensive collection of die-cast model cars, planes and trucks. My wife, Betty, and I love to poke around the byways to go antiquing. And I am a golfer. At the top of my bucket list is to shoot my age in golf!

  • What is an important life lesson you pass along?

    Thomas Jefferson frequently spoke about trying to “do the right thing.” This is a lesson that I have worked to apply unequivocally in law and in life.


  • University of Virginia School of Law, LL.B.
  • University of Virginia, B.A. cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa


  • Represented numerous general contractors on construction claims litigation
  • Represented numerous self-insured interstate motor carriers and motor carrier fleet insurers in third-party trucking cases
  • Represented interstate motor carriers and cargo insurance carriers on Carmack Amendment and other first-party contract of carriage cases
  • Represented major national retailer on employment-related litigation throughout Virginia
  • Represented major Japanese farm and lawn equipment manufacturer in bodily injury litigation throughout Virginia
  • Represented both owners of waste management facilities and contractors involved in work on such facilities, including waste water treatment plants and landfills
  • Represented highway, bridge, and airport contractors in disputes with owners, including claims against political subdivisions as well as against the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Represented both patent holders and alleged patent infringers in trials of patent infringement issues
  • Represented alleged infringer in trademark infringement litigation
  • Represented heir in will contest litigation
  • Represented electric transmission line contractor in complex negotiations for multi-million dollar electrical transmission line contract in the Northeastern United States


  • Virginia Law Foundation Fellows Committee (2011-2012)
  • American College of Trial Lawyers: Fellow; Chair, Virginia State Committee (2008-2009)
  • Life Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Life Member, The Virginia Bar Association
  • Fellow, Virginia Bar Foundation
  • Emeritus Master of the Bench and former Program Chairman, Ted Dalton American Inn of Court (2006-2007)
  • Past President, Roanoke Bar Association
  • Past Member, Virginia State Bar Professionalism Faculty
  • Past President, Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys
  • Former Chairman, Sixth District Ethics Committee
  • Former Chairman, Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board
  • Member, Board of Directors and Member, Policies Committee of the United Way of Roanoke Valley
  • Member, Mental Health Services of the Roanoke Valley Board (1979-1984); Chairman (1982, 1983)
  • Member, Board of the Roanoke Valley Council of Community Services (1982-1988); President (1987-1988)


  • Annual Award for Excellence in Civil Litigation, Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys, (2007)
  • Recognized by Chambers USA for Virginia Litigation: General Commercial (2013-Present)
  • Listed in Benchmark Litigation as a Local Litigation Star for General Commercial and Insurance (2012-2018)
  • Listed as a Top Rated Attorney for Construction Law (2012) and Litigation, Construction, and Insurance law (2013) by American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell
  • Named to Super Lawyers Business Edition US in the area of Construction Litigation (2012) and Civil Litigation Defense (2013-2014), and Virginia Super Lawyers in the area of Construction Litigation (2007-2012) and Civil Litigation Defense (2013-2018)
  • Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® (1993-Present) in the area of Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants (2005-2018), and in the “Best Lawyers in America Business Edition” for Plaintiff’s Defense (2016). Part of a distinguished group of attorneys who have been listed for twenty years or longer.
  • Named a “Legal Eagle” for Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants by Virginia Living magazine (2012)
  • Designated one of the Legal Elite by Virginia Business magazine for the area of Real Estate/Construction (2004), Civil Litigation (2007, 2014), and Construction (2008-2013, 2015-2018)
  • Designated as a Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation (1995)