Robert H. Riley

Partner ( Chicago )

Direct 312.471.8777 Fax 312.471.8701 LinkedIn


Bob Riley’s favorite question is, “What’s next?” This law firm is our answer to that question:  Building a law firm that embodies not just professional excellence, but also an unrelenting commitment to delivering value, as our clients define value.

Bob is a courtroom presence. He has tried a broad array of complex, high-stakes cases and has argued appeals in state and federal courts across the country. He has focused his practice on product liability and mass torts, class actions and general commercial litigation. Having chaired a major law firm for almost a decade, he also understands what it takes to exceed client expectations on an institutional level.

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.


Bob has played the lead role in the successful defense of personal injury and property damage claims against manufacturers of asbestos-containing products, including large consolidations and nationwide class actions. He has defended individual and class action product liability suits involving a wide range of industrial equipment and consumer products, including:
  • Car seats
  • Children's swings
  • Window coverings
  • Automotive equipment
  • Glass containers
  • Packaging equipment
  • Child resistant closures
  • Gas grills
  • Drinking glasses
  • Gas heaters
Bob's appellate experience is extensive. He has argued before:
  • The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third and Seventh Circuits
  • The Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeals of Illinois
  • The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
  • The Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeals of Ohio
  • The Supreme Court of Oregon
  • The New York Court of Appeals and Appellate Division
  • The Maryland Court of Appeals
  • The Florida Court of Appeals
  • The Minnesota Court of Appeals
  • The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
In 2017 alone, Bob has argued and won two cases in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.



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 Seventh Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)

Professional Memberships

American Bar Association 
Chicago Bar Association 
State Bar of Wisconsin

Honors & Awards

2019 Chicago Product Liability Litigation-Defendants “Lawyer of the Year”
Best Lawyers®

2017 Chicago Product Liability Litigation-Defendants “Lawyer of the Year”
Best Lawyers®

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

The Best Lawyers in America
Best Lawyers® (Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions-Defendants, 2008-2019;
and Product Liability Litigation-Defendants, 2017-2019)

Illinois Leading Lawyer
Law Bulletin Media Leading Lawyers (2006-2010, 2012-2019)

Top 10 Products Liability Defense
Law Bulletin Media Leading Lawyers (2019)

Top 10 Class Action / Mass Tort Defense
Law Bulletin Media Leading Lawyers (2019)

Top 100 Business Lawyers in Illinois
Law Bulletin Media Leading Lawyers (2019)

2018 Top Rated Litigators
Martindale-Hubbell and ALM

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)

Publications & Presentations

“Bob Riley, A Born Trial Lawyer With Focus, Foresight for Prolific Career," (editorial profile) Leading Lawyers Magazine—Business Edition (August 2018)

Bob has chaired numerous national conferences and made dozens of presentations concerning trial techniques and substantive questions regarding trial practice, mass torts and product liability law.

Community Service

Pro Bono Activities

       Bob's pro bono work has included the trial and appeal of civil rights cases.

Civic and Charitable Memberships

        University of Chicago Law School Visiting Committee (2010-2017)