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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
  • "AV-Rated" by Martindale-Hubbell®
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  • District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, and New York
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • United States Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Fourth, and Tenth Circuits
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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 settlement negotiations across the country.  Mr. Cary has defended clients against a broad array of alleged violations of both civil and criminal law.

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 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.  In addition to handling a dozen legal malpractice cases, his civil litigation experience has included a class action securities trial, 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, and has represented a number of crime victims.  He supervised Williams & Connolly’s pro bono criminal defense program for indigent citizens for three years.  Mr. Cary, together with his colleagues Craig Singer and Simon Latcovich, 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 also 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 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 and 2011); as a commercial litigation local "litigation star" in the 2012 edition 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; and as a leading lawyer in white collar crime and government investigations in the 2013 and 2014 editions of Chambers.  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.

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 was chair of the firm's Hiring Committee from 2008 to 2010.

Mr. Cary is a frequent speaker on criminal law, legal ethics and professional liability, and believes strongly in the need to reform the rules of procedure to provide a level playing field for all citizens facing criminal charges.  His speaking engagements have included the Seventh Circuit and District of Columbia judicial conferences.  Mr. Cary teaches trial advocacy at Georgetown University Law Center, and 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.  Mr. Cary has served on the boards of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project.  He currently chairs 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)