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Robert S. Bennett is One of the Nation’s Most Influential and Successful Litigators

published April 22, 2013

By Follow Me on
( 216 votes, average: 4.2 out of 5)
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Personal Life

Robert S. Bennett is an American attorney and partner at Hogan Lovells. He is a member of the Investigations, White Collar and Fraud practice group and was formerly a federal prosecutor. Since 1971, Bob has been a leading member of the defense bar.

For the past 40 years, he has built a national reputation as a litigator who has handled well-known cases and represented corporations as well as individuals, which includes officers and directors, in civil, criminal, congressional and SEC enforcement matters. Bob is well known for successfully representing President Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones case, Judith Miller in the CIA leak investigation and in defending two former Secretaries of Defense, Caspar Weinberger (Republican) and Clark Clifford (Democrat). He also represented clients before congressional committees; Bob worked as a Special Counsel to the United States Senate’s Select Committee on Ethics in a number of major investigations. During 1981 and 1982, he served as Special Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Ethics and was a legal expert to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee concerning the nomination of Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig, Jr.

Bob has represented major corporations such as Enron and HealthSouth, which was being criminally investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama. KPMG hired Bob as lead counsel in a tax shelter investigation that was being directed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. He has also represented a major international foreign company for the past several years in a significant Foreign Corrupt Practices Act matter.

The attorney assists audit committees and boards in conducting internal investigations. He also advises audit committees, management and boards of directors on Sarbanes-Oxley issues.

From 2002 to 2004, Bob served as a member of the National Review Board for the Protection of Children & Young People, which was established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Bob has co-chaired many American Bar Association National Institute programs on the defense of businesses and their officers in administrative agency investigations and parallel grand jury. He is currently an adjunct law professor at Georgetown University Law School. Bob has lectured and written on complex civil and criminal issues and crisis management matters.

Bob was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Georgetown University and earned his J.D. from their Law Center. He received his LL.M. from Harvard Law School and has two Honorary Doctor of Law Degrees from University of Montana Law School and Lewis and Clark Law School. After graduating from law school, Bob served as a clerk for Howard F. Corcoran, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He then served as assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

When Bob isn’t working, he enjoys fly-fishing and watching sports. Although he is a proud New Yorker, he dislikes the Yankees and is an avid Washington Nationals fan. Bob is a frequent visitor of Washington DC’s the Bombay Club, Tosca, and The Prime Rib restaurants.

Bob’s Successful Law Career

Bob was asked if he received any awards or participated in any internship that influenced his decision to go into the law? He replied, “No, but during my undergrad years, I did watch federal court trials, which had a great influence on me. I went to different courtrooms and watched cases and it influenced me to become a trial attorney.”

From 1965 to 1967, Bob served as a clerk for Howard F. Corcoran. How was this experience? “It was a fabulous experience. Judge Corcoran had me in court for all of his cases. We would go back to his chambers and discuss what we observed.”

After his clerkship, Bob served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. What did he learn from his experience as an assistant U.S. attorney? “I learned how to be a trial lawyer and I learned what motivates jurors.”

Bob discussed why he became an attorney. “It met with my skills and I have a passion to represent underdogs. I read books written by Clarence Darrow, which influenced me. I was bitten by the bug for trial work and I also believe being an advocate is a very fulfilling life.”

The top-notch trial lawyer also discussed his practice areas. “I am mainly a white collar criminal law attorney.” He also is an adjunct law professor at Georgetown University Law School. What motivated him to teach? Bob said, “I always like teaching when I have time to do it. I like to pay back students for all I have been given.”

So what is the best part of his job? “Guiding a client through the problems they have.”

What does Bob have a knack for? “I have a knack for strategizing for the best outcome in a complicated case and for trial work.”

What area of the law is he most passionate about? “Trial law.”

Is there an area of practice Bob would like to develop further into? “No. Not at this point in my career.”

When asked what his strengths and weaknesses were, he acknowledged, “My strength is being a trial lawyer. I have success with the jury. I am also a strategist who can deliver favorable results for my clients.” As for his weakness, Bob said, “hopefully I have none as a trial lawyer.”

What does Bob think about the legal field today? “It’s becoming less of a profession and more of a big business, which is not good. I also think that the legal costs are staggering and, with few exceptions, only those who have fees paid by corporations have representation.”

If he weren’t a lawyer, what would Bob probably be doing? “I don’t know. I suppose a doctor.”

The attorney was asked where he sees himself in five years’ time. “I hope I am living and practicing. I would also like to spend as much time as I can with my grandchildren.”

What motivates Bob to be an attorney everyday? “I get a great sense of fulfillment and I enjoy it.”

How does the former federal prosecutor want to be remembered? “As a good husband, father, grandfather and as a first rate lawyer.”

High Profile Cases

Bob represented Enron in connection with a criminal investigation being conducted by the United States Department of Justice. Was he pleased with the outcome of the case? “Enron did not get charged and I am pleased with that.”

Bob was President Bill Clinton’s personal attorney in the Paula Jones case. Was he pleased with the outcome of the case? “I was pleased with the results. The judge dismissed the case and I was pleased because it was my goal that the case did not interfere with the 1996 presidential race.”

The trial lawyer represented Caspar Weinberger, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense, during the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s. Bob also handled former U.S. Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford’s case in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) scandal. Prominent statesmen are asking Bob to represent them. What does that say about his reputation and skills as a litigator? Bob claimed, “That’s for other people to answer.”

Important people are relying on Bob, how does that make him feel? Does it give him confidence? “When people hire you, it makes you feel good.”

Bob represented Judith Miller in the CIA leak investigation. What did he learn from this case? “There is no substitution for having a good relationship. I had a good relationship with the prosecutor and I got this done in a way that was favorable to Judith Miller.”

Bob served as a legal consultant to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding the appointment of Alexander M. Haig, Jr. as Secretary of State and served as Special Counsel to the United States Senate Committee on Ethics. Does he plan on serving the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and being a Special Counsel to the United States Senate Committee on Ethics in the future? “If asked. I was a private lawyer at that time.”

For several years, Bob represented a major international foreign corporation in a large Foreign Corrupt Practices Act matter. What made him represent an international foreign corporation? “That’s what I do for a living. It’s interesting work and a profitable living.”

Bob has handled several high-profile cases in the past 40 years. Does any case stand out? “I don’t think so. Several stand out.” What case does he think was a great accomplishment? Bob stated, “I helped exonerate a police officer in Boston who was convicted of perjury. It was a pro bono case and the officer was exonerated ten years later.” The trial lawyer continued to say that he appealed the conviction and prevailed. The case was dismissed and the officer is back on the police force.

The National Review Board for the Protection of Children & Young People, Non Profit Organizations and Mentoring Others

Does Bob handle pro bono work? “I served as a member of the National Review Board for the Protection of Children & Young People along with Leon Panetta and others. I was responsible for investigating and writing a report on child abuse within the Catholic Church.” What did the report conclude? Bob summarized his findings. “In a nutshell, there were serious failures of Bishops not to deal with these abuses in real time. That was the bottom line of these reports.”

Is Bob involved with any non-profit organizations? “I am not directly involved. But I financially support them from time to time. My wife is involved with them and I support [them] in the form of financial contributions.”

Does Bob have a mentor? Is he a mentor? “Not at my age. I don’t have a mentor [anymore], they are gone, but I certainly try to be a mentor to young lawyers who work with me.”

Publishing a Book and Bob’s Goals

Bob is the author of In the Ring: The Trials of a Washington Lawyer, which was released in 2008. What motivated him to write a book? “My daughters asked me to write a memoir for them, but I couldn’t do it for publication. So I wrote this book, and at the suggestion of my daughter, I showed it to an agent and it was published.”

Does the New Yorker have goals? “To live as long as I can and to be healthy and productive.”
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