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Education & Honors
  • University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1990; Order of the Coif; Virginia Law Review
  • Dartmouth College, cum laude, 1986
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • "AV-Rated" by Martindale-Hubbell®
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  Robert M. Cary
TEL: 202-434-5175
FAX: 202-434-5029
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Williams & Connolly LLP
725 Twelfth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005


Rob Cary has extensive experience representing companies and individuals before juries and judges in courtrooms and in negotiations across the country.  

Mr. Cary is Co-Chair of Williams & Connolly LLP’s Legal Malpractice and Ethics 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.  Mr. Cary does not disclose the identity of these clients or the subject matter of these representations.

In addition to representing law firms, Mr. Cary’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.  Mr. Cary has occasionally represented plaintiffs in civil litigation including a civil rights action.   Mr. Cary 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.  

Mr. Cary 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. After eight months of tumultuous litigation, Senator Stevens was exonerated when it was revealed that the prosecution had hidden evidence from the defense that contradicted the prosecution's principal theory.  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.”

Mr. Cary has written with client permission 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.”

Mr. Cary, 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.”

Mr. Cary has been recognized in the 2010-15 editions of The Best Lawyers in America in white collar criminal defense and in the 2013 edition of The Best Lawyers in America as the Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year for Washington, D.C.; as one of "Washington's Top Lawyers" by Washingtonian magazine (2009, 2011, and 2015); as a commercial litigation local "litigation star" in the 2012-2016 editions of Benchmark Litigation and as a “national star” in the 2015 edition of Benchmark Litigation; in the 2012 edition of Chambers as a “rising star” in commercial litigation; as a leading lawyer in white collar crime and government investigations in the 2013-2015 editions of Chambers, and in the 2015 edition of The Legal 500. In 2011, The National Law Journal named Mr. Cary 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.  Mr. Cary is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and Litigation Counsel of America.  In 2015, The National Law Journal named Mr. Cary a "White Collar Crime Trailblazer."

Born in Evanston, Illinois, Mr. Cary grew up in Hannibal, Missouri before attending Dartmouth, where he was a member of the football team.  Mr. Cary 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.  Mr. Cary 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.

Mr. Cary is a frequent speaker on criminal law, legal ethics and professional liability.  His speaking engagements have included the Sixth Circuit, the Seventh Circuit, and the District of Columbia judicial conferences.  Mr. Cary has taught Federal White Collar Crime and Trial Advocacy at Georgetown University Law Center and Defending a Criminal Case at Vanderbilt Law School this fall.  He has lectured at a number of other law schools, including Duke and Yale.  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.

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

Click here to view list of speaking engagements.

  • Not Guilty: The Unlawful Prosecution of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (2014)
  • William S. Sessions & Robert M. Cary, Op-Ed., Putting Justice Above Victory: How Congress Can Compel a Prosecutor’s Duty, Wash. Times, Oct. 13, 2013
  • Co-author, Federal Criminal Discovery (2011)
  • Robert M. Cary, Exculpatory Evidence: A Call for Reform after the Unlawful Prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens, 36 Litigation 34 (Summer 2010)