A partner in the Litigation Department, Roberta (Robbie) Kaplan has been described as a “powerhouse corporate litigator” and “pressure junkie” who “thrives on looking at the big picture” whether “in the gay-marriage legal fight or high-profile corporate scandals.” Although she has been described as a “new hero to the gay rights movement,” Robbie has credited her friends and family “for helping her get through the ‘out-of-body experience’ and historic, high-stress litigation work for which she is noted.” Robbie has been selected as one of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers” and one of the top “40 Under 40” lawyers in the United States, as well as a 2013 “Litigator of the Year” by The American Lawyer and 2013 "Lawyer of the Year" by Above The Law.
Robbie has extensive experience representing clients such as
Fitch Ratings, Airbnb, and
JPMorgan Chase in complex, high-profile matters.
In recent years, she has been active in matters involving
mortgage-backed securities, structured finance transactions, and
credit rating opinions. As a result, Robbie has developed an
expertise dealing with the complex interplay between regulatory
investigations, criminal prosecutions, and the onslaught of civil
lawsuits that typically follow.
Robbie successfully argued before the United States Supreme
Court on behalf of Edith Windsor in United
States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court case that may be
the most significant civil rights decision of our time. In
Windsor, the nation's highest court issued a landmark
ruling that a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
violated the U.S. Constitution by barring legally married same-sex
couples from enjoying the wide-ranging benefits of marriage
conferred under federal law. In its majority opinion in
Windsor, the Supreme Court held that the status of being a
married gay person is "a far-reaching legal acknowledgment of the
intimate relationship between two people, a relationship deemed …
worthy of dignity in the community equal with all other marriages."
The consequences of the Windsor decision have been both
rapid and profound. At least 18 Lower courts throughout the United
States, including in New Jersey, Ohio, New Mexico, Kentucky,
Oklahoma and Utah, have since held, relying explicitly on
Windsor, that gay couples in those jurisdictions should be
accorded equal rights. Robbie's historic representation of Edie
Windsor was chronicled by Ariel Levy in her piece in the September
30, 2013 issue of The New Yorker entitled "A Perfect
Wife." Robbie was also recently profiled in a documentary produced
by the PBS "MAKERS"
Robbie recently won a victory for Hailo when a
New York state court vacated a temporary restraining order that
halted implementation of the New York City Taxi and Limousine
Commission's innovative taxi e-hail pilot program. She currently
represents Airbnb in its efforts to stop The New York Attorney
General from engaging in a "fishing expedition" through Airbnb's
user data. She previously served as lead trial counsel representing
California following the bankruptcy of Pacific Gas & Electric
Company resulting from the California energy crisis in 2001.
Robbie has published on a variety of legal topics, including the
chapter, "Investigating the Case" in Commercial Litigation in
New York State Courts, as well as the chapter, "Interplay
Between Commercial Litigation and Criminal Proceedings" in
Commercial Litigation in the Federal Circuit Courts. She
also recently published an article entitled "Proof vs. Prejudice"
in 37 N.Y.U. Review of Law & Social Change
(2013) as well as "New York City Taxis and The New York City
Legislature: What Is Left of The State Constitution's Home Rule
Clause After The Court of Appeals Decision in The HAIL Act Case?"
in 77 Albany Law Review (2013/2014). While serving as a
senior law clerk to then Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, Robbie
assisted Judge Kaye in connection with a number of articles,
including State Courts at the Dawn of a New Century: Common Law
Courts Reading Statutes and Constitutions, 70 NYU L Rev 1 35
(April 1995). Robbie also clerked for Judge Mark L. Wolf of the
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Robbie's achievements have been honored by many public interest
and civic organizations, including the American Constitution
Society, the Family Equality Council, Stanford Law School, Columbia
Law School, the Human Rights Campaign, and the New York County
Lawyers' Association. She is to receive an honorary doctorate from
Johns Hopkins University this spring.
Robbie currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Gay
Men's Health Crisis and the New York County Lawyers' Association.
She served on New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman's Task Force on
Commercial Litigation in the 21st Century and continues to serve as
a subcommittee chair on The Commercial Division Advisory Council.
She also is an adjunct professor of law at Columbia Law School,
where she co-teaches a course on Advanced Civil Procedure.