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  • The University of Chicago Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1971
  • University of Wisconsin, B.A., graduation honors, 1968
  • "AV-Rated" by Martindale-Hubbell®
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  Robert B. Barnett
TEL: 202-434-5034
FAX: 202-434-5029
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Williams & Connolly LLP
725 Twelfth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005


Robert B. Barnett has a diverse practice representing national and international corporations and individuals on a wide variety of matters.

Mr. Barnett represents major corporations in litigation matters, corporate work, contracts, crisis management, transactions, government relations, and media relations. During his thirty years of practice, he has represented clients before almost every executive department and administrative agency in Washington. His clients have included McDonald's Corporation, General Electric, Comcast, JM Family Enterprises, Toyota, Deutsche Bank, Discovery Communications, MacAndrews & Forbes, Revlon, the NBA, Southeast Toyota, and Toll Brothers, among others.

Mr. Barnett is one of the premier authors' representatives in the world. His clients have included Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Laura Bush, Bob Woodward, Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, Jill Biden, Lynne Cheney, Alan Greenspan, James Patterson, Katharine Graham, Ben Bernanke, Paul Ryan, Tim Russert, Barbra Streisand, Khaled Hosseini, James Carville, Mary Matalin, Mary Higgins Clark, Cokie Roberts, several former U.S. Secretaries of State, numerous U.S. Senators, Tony Blair of the United Kingdom, Queen Noor of Jordan, The Prince of Wales, Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, and many others, including journalists, novelists, business leaders, sports stars, politicians, and others.

He is also one of the leading representatives of television news correspondents and producers. His clients include Brian Williams, Lesley Stahl, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Steve Doocy, Christiane Amanpour, Brit Hume, Andrea Mitchell, Rita Braver, Brian Kilmeade, Gwen Ifill, David Gergen, Chris Jansing, Neil Cavuto, Cynthia McFadden, anchors in many major television markets, and producers on virtually every major broadcast on network and cable television.

Mr. Barnett also represents former government officials in conjunction with their transitions to the private sector. His clients have included Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, John Boehner, Madeleine Albright, Alan Greenspan, Ray Kelly, Karl Rove, Ben Bernanke, Dan Quayle, James Baker, Larry Summers, Donna Shalala, and many former Senators and Congressmen.

He also represents many corporate and trade association executives and corporations in conjunction with executive compensation agreements. He has represented senior officers of AT&T, The Carlyle Group, Fannie Mae, Bank of America, McDonald's Corporation, the Recording Industry Association of America, Warner Brothers, the Air Transport Association, the Motion Picture Association of America, and Deutsche Bank. He also represents many university presidents, deans, and professors.

Mr. Barnett was ranked Number One on Washingtonian magazine's list of "Washington's Best Lawyers" and as one of "The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America" by The National Law Journal. He was also named one of the one hundred most powerful people in the entertainment industry by Entertainment Weekly Magazine.

Mr. Barnett has worked on nine national presidential campaigns, focusing on debate preparation. In addition to playing a major role on the debate preparation teams in 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012, he played the role of George Bush in practice debates with Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, with Michael Dukakis in 1988, and practice debated Bill Clinton more than twenty times during the 1992 campaign. In 2000, he played the role of Dick Cheney in practices with Joe Lieberman. In 2004, he played the role of Dick Cheney in practices with John Edwards. In 2000 and 2006, he assisted Hillary Rodham Clinton with her Senate debate preparations and helped prepare her for 23 presidential primary debates in 2008. He assisted Barack Obama with debate negotiation and preparation in 2008 and 2012.

Mr. Barnett is a member of the firm's Executive Committee. He joined Williams & Connolly LLP in 1975 and has been a partner since 1978. He was a presidentially-appointed member of the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts from 1994 to 2004 and currently serves as Senior Counsel.