Rob is a seasoned, effective problem solver committed to devising innovative strategies for resolving the most complex and challenging commercial disputes quickly and successfully. Rob is a thoughtful counselor when managing the most intractable difficulties in the commercial and personal worlds.
For Rob, litigation is problem-solving for the client, the application of good judgment to the resolution of the special challenges posed by each particular dispute or controversy affecting the client’s interest. Avoiding cookie-cutter solutions or approaches that “round up the usual suspects,” Rob’s approach is to treat each matter as a unique problem that deserves its own carefully targeted analysis and requires its own plan of action. This requires “litigating backwards,” focusing first on what a final resolution of the problem might look like, then working backwards to develop the tactics ahead of litigation or in court that will be most effective in reaching that result. Essential to the process is careful attention to the client’s needs and resources, along with flexibility and nimble decision-making that can adjust to changing circumstances without losing sight of the ultimate objective.
Clients large and small benefit from Rob’s more than 40 years of experience in and approach to the vast array of matters he has handled in courts, arbitrations, mediations, and administrative forums. One of the principal outside trial lawyers representing the LVMH luxury goods conglomerate, Rob has led litigation and trial teams in high-profile trademark cases, argued numerous matters in the Courts of Appeals, and resolved everything from contract disputes, antitrust cases and consumer class actions to bankruptcy disputes, real estate cases, information technology and privacy issues, employment matters, and celebrity disputes. He previously worked as special counsel for an international labor union trying to rid itself of organized crime and has served as Special Assistant Attorney General as the principal outside trial counsel for the Illinois Gaming Board. He has experience in art law, criminal appeals, securities litigation, antitrust matters, and asylum cases as well.
An adjunct professor of philosophy for over two decades, Rob teaches both introductory and advanced courses on ancient and modern philosophy, most recently at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and St. Bonaventure University in western New York. Because philosophy is often grounded in the study of possibilities, his teaching is integral to finding novel ways for dealing effectively with troublesome disputes and allows him to leverage his classroom experience to be compelling in court and before juries. Having taught in Poland, the Czech Republic, Turkey, China, India, and Vietnam, Rob understands the problems of communicating unfamiliar ideas to his audiences and learning from the different assumptions and experiences of his listeners. Rob continues to refine his communication skills by serving as a commentator on the Supreme Court and various political and foreign policy issues on local TV.
For 30 years, Rob has been an Associate Editor of Litigation, the journal of the Section of Litigation of the American Bar Association and has authored a quarterly column called Advance Sheet for that publication for the last 23 years. He is now the most published author in the history of the journal and publishes extensively on trends in the law, litigation, and the legal profession. Rob has also published numerous articles on topics in education, politics, and foreign policy in Southtown News, a local newspaper, and written on Shakespeare.
Rob is devoted to the arts, serving on the boards of two opera companies and a theater company and hosting his own weekly radio show on classical music. His love of baseball has led him to do color commentary on broadcasts of the games of the Windy City Thunderbolts, a Class A baseball team.
- State of Illinois
- State of New York
- U.S. District Court - Northern District of Illinois (including Trial Bar)
- U.S. District Court - Northern District of New York
- U.S. District Court - Southern District of New York
- U.S. District Court - Eastern District of New York
- U.S. Court of Appeals - 2nd Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals - 7th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals - 9th Circuit
- U.S. Supreme Court
- University of Chicago Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1979
- University of Toronto, M.A., 1975, M.Phil, 1976
- Harvard College, A.B., cum laude, 1972
- Prevented Louis Vuitton Malletier SA from being forced to litigate trademark issues with manufacturer of novelty toy purse called “Pooey Puitton” in the United States with victorious motion to dismiss. MGA Entertianment Inc. v. Louis Vuitton Malletier, S.A.
- Represented Louis Vuitton and Loro Piana in a victory in a putative class-action antitrust lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of New York, in which the plaintiffs alleged an anticompetitive agreement to control the wages and job prospects of luxury retail employees. Secured motion to dismiss the case in its entirety. Susan Giordano, et al. v. Saks Incorporated, et al.
- Represented Christian Dior in a proposed class-action lawsuit claiming violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) in the Northern District of Illinois. Secured motion to dismiss the complaint on the basis that Dior’s conduct falls within BIPA’s statutory “healthcare” exemption. Warmack-Stillwell v. Christian Dior Inc.
- Represented Off-White in obtaining dismissal of federal trademark dilution claim on grounds that the asserted marks were not famous marks for purposes of the Lanham Act. Obtained dismissal of NY state law claim on grounds that the complaint failed to allege sufficient harm to the public. Walker Wear LLC v. Off-White LLC.
- Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Award for “The Morality of Dissent,” Burton Awards (2019)
- Local Litigation Star, Benchmark Litigation (2020-2023)
- Illinois Super Lawyers (2014-2023)
- Leading Lawyers Network (2004-2023)
- Member, Merit Selection Panel for U.S. Magistrates, N.D. Ill. (1996-1997)