Robert H. Riley

Partner ( Chicago )

Direct 312.471.8777 LinkedIn


Bob Riley is a trial lawyer. He has tried a broad array of complex, high-stakes cases and has argued appeals in state and federal courts across the country. His practice focuses on product liability, mass torts, and environmental cases; class actions; and general commercial litigation.

Bob’s appellate work has given rise to over forty reported decisions concerning trial consolidations, punitive damages, civil conspiracy, class certification, and constitutional interpretation. He litigated mass tort and property damage cases following the events of 9/11 in New York City. As his honors and awards attest, he is considered a true leader in his field.

When he is not in the courtroom, Bob helps clients manage the risks associated with high-stakes litigation. He has spent decades creating and implementing national litigation strategies and helping public companies deal with their disclosure obligations concerning significant litigation problems.


Clients turn to Bob to try complex, high-stakes cases to successful verdicts across the country in jurisdictions widely regarded as inhospitable to defendants. While much of his work has involved defending clients from the complaint to the final disposition, Bob has regularly been called on to take over matters mid-stream. This has included both individual cases and large consolidated trials.

The subject matter of these cases has varied widely, including the following industrial equipment and consumer products:

  • Asbestos materials
  • Radioactive waste
  • Car seats
  • Children's swings
  • Window coverings
  • Automotive equipment
  • Glass containers
  • Packaging equipment
  • Child resistant closures
  • Gas grills
  • Drinking glasses
  • Gas heaters
  • Building design and medical equipment

Clients have also retained Bob to defend a broad array of commercial claims, including contract disputes, fraud allegations, civil conspiracy claims, and alleged antitrust violations.

Bob’s appellate experience is extensive. In the past three years alone, he has won two cases in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and one in the Illinois Supreme Court. These cases addressed core legal issues that were crucial to trial court victories, including a successful Daubert challenge to junk science concerning causation (Krik v. Exxon Mobil Corp., 870 F.3d 669 (7th Cir. 2017)); defeating an attempt improperly to impose tort liability for a client’s licensing of its intellectual property (Pecher v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., 859 F.3d 396 (7th Cir. 2017)); and summary judgment concerning a baseless civil conspiracy claim  (Jones v. Pneumo Abex LLC, 2019 IL 123895 (opinion has not been released for publication)).

In the course of his career, Bob has appeared in federal and state appellate courts from coast to coast, including the highest courts of five states.

Recognizing that a client’s interests often center on risk management and early resolution of claims, Bob has also crafted and implemented nationwide strategies for mass torts and catastrophic injury claims. Those strategies have included creative claims handling agreements that avoid costly litigation expense and produce predictable outcomes that meet the client’s goals.

The bottom line for Bob has always been to produce the results the client seeks, in whatever setting the circumstances dictate.



University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1978, Hinton Moot Court Champion
Denison University, B.A., 1975, with highest honors, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

Professional Memberships

American Bar Association 
Chicago Bar Association 
State Bar of Wisconsin

Honors & Awards

The Best Lawyers in America
Best Lawyers® (Bet-the-Company Litigation, 2022-2023; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions-Defendants, 2008-2024; and Product Liability Litigation-Defendants, 2017-2024)

Chicago Product Liability Litigation-Defendants “Lawyer of the Year”
Best Lawyers®
(2017, 2019, 2021)

Chicago Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions-Defendants “Lawyer of the Year”
Best Lawyers® (2016)

Illinois Leading Lawyer
Law Bulletin Media Leading Lawyers (2003-2010, 2012-2024)

Top 10 Leading Products Liability Defense Lawyers
Law Bulletin Media Leading Lawyers

Top 10 Leading Class Action / Mass Tort Defense Lawyers
Law Bulletin Media Leading Lawyers

Top 100 Leading Business Lawyers
Law Bulletin Media Leading Lawyers

Lawdragon Hall of Fame
Lawdragon Inc. (2023)

Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators in America
Lawdragon Inc.

Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America
Lawdragon Inc.

Top Rated Litigators
Martindale-Hubbell and ALM (2018-2021)

Litigation Star
Euromoney's Benchmark Litigation (2009, 2012-2013)

Who's Who in Chicago Business 2012: Law
Crain's Chicago Business

Peer Reviewed AV® Preeminent™

Martindale­-Hubbell (Since 1997)