Bob Van Kirk serves as Co-Chair of Williams & Connolly’s Complex Commercial Litigation and its Securities Litigation and Enforcement practice groups. He also serves as a member of Williams & Connolly’s Executive Committee. He has argued successfully at every level of the federal judicial system, including the United States Supreme Court, and has appeared in federal and state appellate and trial courts across the country representing both corporate and individual clients in complex commercial litigation, internal and government investigations, and congressional inquiries.
Mr. Van Kirk has served as first chair in trials, appeals, arbitrations, and evidentiary hearings, developing a wide-range of substantive experience in securities, consumer and other class actions, breach of contract, antitrust, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and RICO cases. He has served as lead counsel in matters litigated in the United States and around the world, including Europe, Asia, North America, South America, the Middle East and various off-shore jurisdictions.
Recognized in Benchmark Litigation as one of the top 100 trial lawyers in America for each of the last seven years, and named in Chambers USA, The Legal 500, Benchmark Litigation and Super Lawyers in the areas of General Commercial Litigation, Appellate, and Securities Litigation, Mr. Van Kirk has been described in these publications as “a tenacious fighter who really knows his stuff” in the courtroom and “a stellar trial lawyer” who brings a “creative and proactive approach” along with a “tireless work ethic” to his cases. One client remarked, “When there is war, get Bob.” In 2017, he was shortlisted by Benchmark for the national Commercial Litigator of the Year and in 2018, Chambers USA ranked him as one of the leading lawyers in Washington, D.C. in the category of General Commercial Litigation. In 2019-2021, he was identified as a “Leading Lawyer” nationally in securities litigation by The Legal 500. In 2019-2021, Bob was ranked in Band 1 for Securities Litigation by Chambers USA.
Born in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina, Minnesota, Mr. Van Kirk was raised in the Twin Cities area, with the exception of a three-year stint in Singapore. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with highest honors in 1987, and received his J.D., with high honors, from Duke University School of Law, finishing second in his class. He also was elected Order of the Coif, won the law school’s moot court competition, was Note Editor of the Duke Law Journal, and was selected by his classmates to serve as the commencement speaker. Mr. Van Kirk spent a year as law clerk to The Honorable Paul H. Roney of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit before becoming a trial attorney in the Department of Justice honors program, where he worked in the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division for four years. He received a number of Departmental achievement awards during his tenure.
Mr. Van Kirk then served in the Office of Counsel to the President and in 1996 he returned to the Department of Justice and was named Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Policy Development. He joined Williams & Connolly in 1997. Mr. Van Kirk has served on the firm’s Hiring, Partnership and Associate Evaluation Committees, among others.