Expanded Bio
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Roberta A. Kaplan


Tel: 212-373-3086
Fax: 212-492-0086  

New York
1285 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019-6064

A partner in the Litigation Department, Roberta (Robbie) Kaplan has been described as a “litigation superstar,” a “powerhouse corporate litigator” and a “pressure junkie” who “thrives on looking at the big picture” whether “in the gay-marriage legal fight or high-profile corporate scandals.” Commenting on a recent oral argument by Robbie at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, one legal expert noted that “Ms. Kaplan deserves special recognition for her argument at the hearing. An accomplished attorney long before she came to represent Edith Windsor, Ms. Kaplan offered concise, smart and well-reasoned responses to the judge’s questions.”

Robbie has been selected as one of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers” in the United States as well as a 2013 “Litigator of the Year” by The American Lawyer, the 2013 “Lawyer of the Year” by Above The Law and the 2014 “Most Innovative Lawyer of The Year” by The Financial Times. In choosing Robbie for this honor, The Financial Times noted that “The 10 most innovative individuals in the North American legal sector are once again an impressive group, as they have been in the four-year history of the US Innovative Lawyers report. But the judges had little trouble picking just one of them to win the award for most innovative individual – itself an innovation for the report this year. Robbie Kaplan has been involved in some of the most important legal developments of recent years.”


Robbie has extensive experience representing a diverse group of clients such as MacAndrews & Forbes, CI Capital Partners, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Fitch Ratings, The Minnesota Vikings, Airbnb, and Hailo in complex, high-profile matters. She has been active, for example, in matters involving stock analyst's recommendations, market timing in mutual funds, reinsurance transactions, and structured finance transactions. During the period from 2007 through the most recent financial crisis, Robbie represented Fitch Ratings in dozens of regulatory investigations and civil litigations in both state and federal court relating to Fitch's credit ratings of RMBS, CDO, and municipal bond transactions. As a result, Robbie has developed an expertise dealing with the complex interplay between regulatory investigations, and the onslaught of civil lawsuits that often follow.

Robbie currently serves as lead counsel for JP Morgan Chase in a multi-billion dollar lender liability proceeding arising out of the bankruptcy of Thornburg Mortgage, where she also acts as "coordinating counsel" for the syndicate of five major lending institutions. Recently, she succeeded in obtaining dismissal of 22 of the original 31 claims in that case.

Robbie has also represented a number of companies in the "sharing economy." Robbie 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 taxi e-hail pilot program. On behalf of her client Airbnb, she succeeded in quashing a subpoena from the New York Attorney General seeking vast amounts of Airbnb's user data. She recently represented the Minnesota Vikings in connection with its settlement with former NFL punter, Chris Kluwe, and served as lead trial counsel in the firm's successful representation of the State of California following the bankruptcy of Pacific Gas & Electric Company resulting from the California energy crisis.

Robbie successfully argued before the United States Supreme Court on behalf of her client Edith Windsor in United States v. Windsor, the landmark Supreme Court case. In Windsor, the nation's highest court ruled 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. The consequences of the Windsor decision have been both rapid and profound. Literally dozens of courts throughout the United States have explicitly relied on Windsor to extend equal rights to gay people under the law. Professor Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School has observed that he cannot "think of any Supreme Court decision in history that has ever created so rapid and broad a lower-court groundswell in a single direction as Windsor." Since Windsor, Robbie successfully brought a federal case seeking marriage equality in the State of Mississippi. Having won a preliminary injunction in the Southern District of Mississippi, Robbie recently argued that case before the Fifth Circuit. 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 published articles on a variety of legal topics, including "Investigating the Case" in Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts, and "Interplay Between Commercial Litigation and Criminal Proceedings" in Commercial Litigation in the Federal Circuit Courts. She recently published an article entitled, "Regulation and the Sharing Economy" in the New York Law Journal. She has also published "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 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, including the American Constitution Society, LOGO/MTV, the Family Equality Council, the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee, Stanford Law School, Columbia Law School, and the New York County Lawyers' Association. Last year, she received an honorary doctorate from Johns Hopkins University, and this year, she will receive one from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Robbie currently serves as the co-chair of the Board of Directors of the Gay Men's Health Crisis and as a board member of the New York County Lawyers' Association. She serves as a subcommittee chair on Chief Judge Lippman's 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.

Internal Investigations
International Arbitration
Securities Litigation
White Collar Crime & Regulatory Defense


J.D., Columbia Law School, 1991

A.B., Harvard University, 1988

magna cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa

Hon. Judith S. Kaye, New York Court of Appeals

Hon. Mark L. Wolf, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts

Bar Admissions

New York

Related Resources

Jul 09, 2015News

Paul, Weiss Helps CSE Achieve Full Marriage Equality in Mississippi

Mar 11, 2015Publications

Robbie Kaplan and Michael Nadler Co-Author Article on Airbnb in University of Chicago Law Review

Mar 12, 2015Events

Roberta Kaplan to Speak About DOMA at the Jewish Theological Seminary

Feb 13, 2015Publications

Robbie Kaplan and Jacob Hupart Co-Author Article in Albany Law Review

Jan 23, 2015Publications

New York Commercial Division Adopts Rule on Deposition Limits

Jan 05, 2015News

The New Yorker and USA Today Discuss Paul, Weiss Work on Marriage Equality in Mississippi Since Windsor

Nov 26, 2014News

Mississippi Judge Strikes Down State Laws Banning Same-Sex Marriages

Oct 22, 2014News

Paul, Weiss Obtains Dismissal of Derivative Lawsuits Against Morgan Stanley and Van Kampen

Oct 16, 2014Publications

New York Commercial Division Adopts New Interrogatory and Privilege Log Rules, a Special Masters Pilot Program, and a Rule Requiring Staggered Court Appearances

Oct 09, 2014Publications

Mandatory Mediation and Settlement-Related Disclosure Adopted for New York Commercial Division to Encourage Early Settlement

Jul 18, 2014Publications

Regulation and the Sharing Economy

Jul 09, 2014Publications

Accelerated Adjudication and New Assignment Procedures Adopted for New York Commercial Division

May 13, 2014News

Paul, Weiss Achieves Victory for Airbnb

Mar 27, 2014Events

MAKERS Releases Documentary on One Year Anniversary of United States v. Windsor

Mar 19, 2014Publications

Roberta Kaplan Publishes Article Concerning Home Rule Clause of New York Constitution

Mar 05, 2014Publications

The Review of Securities & Commodities Regulation

Oct 15, 2013Events

Roberta Kaplan Featured as a Guest Speaker at Women on Wall Street Conference

Jul 24, 2013Videos

An Evening with Roberta Kaplan and Edith Windsor

Jun 26, 2013News

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Defense of Marriage Act

Jun 07, 2013News

Hailo Secures Major Victory Enabling E-Hail Application in New York City

Mar 27, 2013News

As Counsel to Edith Windsor, Paul, Weiss Contends that DOMA is Unconstitutional Before the United States Supreme Court

Dec 07, 2012News

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in U.S. v. Windsor
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