Rob Cary is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and Co-Chair of the firm’s Lawyer Liability Practice Group. Rob’s trial practice is varied. In 2018, for example, Rob’s first-chair trial experience included a jury acquittal in a criminal trial in Oregon and the successful defense of two businesses in a civil trial in Delaware. Rob also has extensive experience representing companies and individuals in government investigations and has conducted investigations for audit committees of publicly traded companies. He has also served as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt Law School and Georgetown University Law Center.
Rob is well known for his representation of the late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, who was indicted on ethics charges less than 100 days before he was to stand for re-election. Senator Stevens was exonerated when it was revealed that the prosecution had hidden evidence from the defense. The American Lawyer described Williams & Connolly’s work on the case as “one of the best criminal defense performances in memory, resulting in a heightened scrutiny of prosecutors that will affect the Justice Department for years to come.”
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. The American Bar Association describes the book as an “invaluable resource for judges, academics, prosecutors, and defense lawyers.”
Rob has also been involved in a number of high-stakes appeals, and represented clients in connection with criminal and civil investigations conducted by various 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 2013-2019 editions of Chambers, and in the 2015 edition of The Legal 500; as a commercial litigation local "litigation star" in the 2012-2020 editions of Benchmark Litigation; as a “national star” in the 2015 edition 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 supervised the firm’s pro bono criminal practice from 2006 to 2008, was chair of the firm's Hiring Committee from 2008 to 2010, and is currently chair of the firm’s 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, and the District of Columbia Judicial Conferences. He serves on the Lawyers Committee of the Innocence Project and the Advisory Committee for the National White Collar Criminal Defense College at Stetson Law, and 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.
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.
- 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 for 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 student athletes 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 Innocent 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
“Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year for Washington, D.C.,” The Best Lawyers in America ®, 2014
“White Collar Crime Trailblazer,” The National Law Journal, 2015
“Most Influential Lawyers” in the area of White Collar Criminal Defense, The National Law Journal, 2011
“Local Litigation Star,” Benchmark Litigation, 2012-2020
“Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations (DC),” Chambers USA, 2012-2019
“Litigation: General Commercial (DC),” Chambers USA, 2012
“Washington’s Top Lawyers,” in the category of Criminal Defense & White Collar, Washingtonian magazine, 2018
"Washington’s Best Lawyers," Washingtonian magazine, 2009, 2011, and 2015
Recognized as one of The Best Lawyers in America ® for White Collar Criminal Defense, 2010-2018