Rob Cary is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and Co-Chair of the firm’s Lawyer Liability Practice Group. He focuses his civil practice on representing law firms, having represented over a dozen law firms and successfully trying a multi-month legal malpractice trial.  In addition to representing law firms, Rob’s civil litigation experience includes a trial against the Federal Trade Commission and a number of State Attorneys Generals, as well as cases ranging from real estate to securities to contracts to products liability to allegations of civil fraud.  He also serves as an adjunct professor of law 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 Rob has written 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 2013-2017 editions of Chambers, and in the 2015 edition of The Legal 500; as a commercial litigation local "litigation star" in the 2012-2017 editions of Benchmark Litigation; as a “national star” in the 2015 edition of Benchmark Litigation; in the 2012 edition of Chambers as a “rising star” in commercial litigation; in the 2010-18 editions of The Best Lawyers in America in white collar criminal defense; in the 2013 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as the Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year for Washington, D.C., and as one of "Washington's Top Lawyers" by Washingtonian magazine (2009, 2011, and 2015). In 2011, The National Law Journal named Rob and his partner, Brendan Sullivan, to its six-person list of the country’s “Most Influential Lawyers” in the area of white collar criminal defense.  In addition to being a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Rob is also a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.  In 2015, The National Law Journal named Rob one of its "White Collar Crime Trailblazers."

Born in Evanston, Illinois, Rob grew up in Hannibal, Missouri before attending Dartmouth, where he was a member of the football team.  Rob spent a year as a paralegal at the D.C. office of White & Case before entering the University of Virginia School of Law, where he received his J.D. and was on the Articles Review Board of the Virginia Law Review and a member of the 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 taught Defending a Criminal Case at Vanderbilt Law School and Federal White Collar Crime and Trial Advocacy at Georgetown University Law Center.  He has lectured at a number of other law schools, including Duke and Yale.  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 currently serves on the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Standards Task Force charged with updating the ABA’s Discovery Standards.

Rob has served on the boards of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, and was Chair of the Governing Board of the National Cathedral School.  Rob is married and has two daughters.

Representative Experience

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

  • Has represented many institutions and individuals in financial reporting investigations and litigation
  • Has represented many law firms in legal malpractice cases, fraud cases, government investigations, and an age-discrimination case.  Defense victory in the only of these cases to go to trial.
  • Represented businessman in criminal investigation that resulted in investigation being terminated and four prosecutors resigning.
  • Has represented many health care providers in criminal and civil investigations.
  • Represented businessman and his company in trial against FTC, multiple state attorney generals and a prominent plaintiffs’ firm.  Resolved during trial.
  • Represented U.S. Senator Ted Stevens in criminal trial.  Case dismissed based on government concealment of evidence favorable to the defense
  • Has served as investigative counsel for audit committees of public traded companies
  • Has represented college students accused of sexual assault including 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 Durham District Attorney, a private DNA lab, and other defendants. 
  • Represented widow of businessman in litigation with creditors
  • Represented sports franchise in government investigation
  • Has represented entities and individuals in SEC Enforcement Division investigations
  • Has represented business owners in business valuation litigation
  • Represented tractor manufacturer in product liability actions
  • Represented automobile dealership in administrative license revocation trial.  Resolved during trial
  • Represented seller of business in trade secrets and breach of contract litigation
  • Represented alumni association of an Ivy League school in governance litigation
  • Represented corporate entity in complete reversal of $1.8 billion jury verdict (Another firm represented entity at trial)
  • Has represented federal officials in all three branches of federal government
  • Has represented biotechnology companies in licensing dispute and government investigations
  • Represented government contractor in dispute with competitor
  • Has represented entities in New York Attorney General and New York Inspector General investigations



Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers

Fellow, American Bar Foundation and Litigation Counsel of America

AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®

“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, 2012-2017

 “Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations (DC),” Chambers USA, 2012-2017

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

"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


Government Service

Law Clerk, Judge Eugene F. Lynch, United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 1990-1991

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