Rob Cary is a first-chair trial lawyer with a diverse practice.  His three most recent trials were a civil bench trial in Chancery Court in Delaware, a criminal jury trial in federal court in Oregon, and a civil fraud jury trial in federal court in the District of Columbia.  The most recent edition of Chambers & Partners describes Rob as an “absolutely brilliant” lawyer, who “encompasses all of Williams & Connolly’s best attributes.  He’s aggressive, he brings the fight, and he is really, really smart.”

In addition to trying cases, Rob has extensive experience settling class actions, representing companies and individuals in government investigations, and conducting investigations for audit committees of publicly traded companies.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and Co-Chair of Williams & Connolly’s Law Firm Defense Practice Group.

With client permission and encouragement, Rob wrote a book about the Stevens case.  Bob Woodward of The Washington Post describes the book Not Guilty: The Unlawful Prosecution of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens as a “public service…a shocking, deeply sobering tale that every American worried about the concentration of power in the federal government should read and study.”  Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project, describes it as a “riveting account from one of our country’s great lawyers.”  Retired federal judge Nancy Gertner describes it as “an extraordinarily important book, a must read not only for lawyers, but federal judges.”

Rob, together with his colleagues Craig Singer and Simon Latcovich, has also authored Federal Criminal Discovery, the first book devoted entirely to the topic of discovery in federal criminal cases.  A second edition was published in 2021.  The American Bar Association describes the book as an “invaluable resource for judges, academics, prosecutors, and defense lawyers.”

Rob has represented clients in a number of high-stakes appeals.  He has also represented clients in many criminal and civil investigations conducted by government agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and federal and state prosecutors.

Rob has been recognized as a leading lawyer in white collar crime and government investigations in the 2013-2021 editions of Chambers, and in the 2015 edition of The Legal 500; as a commercial litigation local "litigation star" in the 2012-2022 editions of Benchmark Litigation; as a “national star” in the 2015 and 2021 editions of Benchmark Litigation; as a “rising star” in commercial litigation in the 2012 edition of Chambers; as a leading lawyer in white collar criminal defense in the 2010-18 editions of The Best Lawyers in America; and as the Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year for Washington, D.C. in the 2013 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.  In 2011, The National Law Journal named Rob and Brendan Sullivan to its six-person list of the country’s “Most Influential Lawyers” in the area of white collar criminal defense.  In 2015, The National Law Journal named Rob one of its "White Collar Crime Trailblazers."  In addition to being a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Rob is also a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. 

Born in Evanston, Illinois, Rob grew up in Hannibal, Missouri before attending Dartmouth College, where he played football.  Rob spent a year as a paralegal at the D.C. office of an international law firm before entering the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was selected for the Virginia Law Review and Order of the Coif.  Rob was a law clerk to Judge Eugene Lynch of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California before joining Williams & Connolly in 1990.  He has supervised the firm’s pro bono criminal practice and has chaired the firm's Hiring Committee and Partner-Associate Committee.

Rob has co-taught “Defending a Criminal Case” at Vanderbilt Law School with The Honorable Amul Thapar and has taught “Federal White Collar Crime” and “Trial Advocacy” at Georgetown University Law Center.  He has lectured at a number of other law schools.  Rob is a frequent speaker on criminal law, legal ethics, and professional liability.  His speaking engagements have included appearances at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Sixth Circuit, the Seventh Circuit, the Tenth Circuit, and the District of Columbia Judicial Conferences.  Rob was appointed by the Virginia Supreme Court to its faculty to teach professionalism to new lawyers.  He also served on the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Standards Task Force charged with updating the ABA’s Discovery Standards.

Representative Experience

Though all cases vary and none is predictive, Rob’s experience includes:

  • Has defended many law firms in legal malpractice cases, fraud cases, government investigations, and an age-discrimination case.  Defense victory in the only case to go to trial.
  • Represented prevailing companies in a civil fraud jury trial.
  • Defended acquitted FBI agent in criminal jury trial.
  • Defended businesses in business valuation trial in Delaware Chancery Court trial.  Favorable decision for defendant businesses.
  • Has represented many institutions and individuals in financial reporting investigations and litigation.
  • Has represented businesses and individuals in multiple class actions that were resolved before trial.
  • Represented businessman in criminal investigation that resulted in the investigation being terminated and four prosecutors resigning.
  • Defended U.S. Senator Ted Stevens in criminal trial.  Case dismissed based on government concealment of evidence favorable to the defense.
  • Has represented college students accused of sexual assault including acquittal in jury trial in the only case tried and assisting in the criminal defense of the captain of the Duke Lacrosse team in what is now known as the Duke Lacrosse case.  Subsequently represented two of the falsely accused players against former District Attorney, a private DNA lab, and other defendants.
  • Has represented many health care providers in criminal and civil government investigations.
  • Represented businessman and his company in trial brought by the FTC, multiple state attorney generals, and a prominent plaintiffs’ firm.  Resolved during trial.
  • Has served as investigative counsel for audit committees of public traded companies.
  • Defended widow of businessman in litigation with creditors.  Resolved before trial.
  • Represented sports franchise in government investigation.
  • Has represented entities and individuals in SEC Enforcement Division investigations.
  • Defended automobile dealership in administrative license revocation trial.  Resolved during trial.
  • Defended seller of business in trade secrets and breach of contract litigation.  Resolved before trial.
  • Defended Fortune 100 Company in trade secrets case against another Fortune 100 Company.  Resolved before trial.
  • Represented business in complete reversal of $1.8 billion jury verdict.  (Another firm represented entity at trial).
  • Has represented entities in New York Attorney General and New York Inspector General investigations.
  • Defended manufacturer in product liability actions.  All cases resolved before trial.
  • Has represented Innocence Project clients in a multi-week evidentiary hearing, a successful jury trial, and an appeal to the Supreme Court.
  • Has represented federal officials in all three branches of federal government.




Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers

Fellow, American Bar Foundation and Litigation Counsel of America

“Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations (D.C.),” Chambers USA, 2012-2021

“National Litigation Star,” Benchmark Litigation, 2015, 2021-2022

“Local Litigation Star,” Benchmark Litigation, 2012-2022

Recognized as one of The Best Lawyers in America ® for White Collar Criminal Defense, 2010-2021

“Washington’s Top Lawyers,” in the category of Criminal Defense & White Collar, Washingtonian magazine, 2018, 2020

“White Collar Crime Trailblazer,” The National Law Journal, 2015

"Washington’s Best Lawyers," Washingtonian magazine, 2009, 2011, and 2015

“Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year for Washington, D.C.,” The Best Lawyers in America ®, 2014

“Litigation: General Commercial (DC),” Chambers USA, 2012

“Most Influential Lawyers” in the area of White Collar Criminal Defense, The National Law Journal, 2011


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