A partner in the Litigation Department, Roberta (Robbie) Kaplan has been described in a profile in Lawdragon
as a “pressure junkie” who “thrives on looking at the big picture” whether “in the gay-marriage legal fight or high-profile corporate scandals.” Robbie was chosen by The National Law Journal
as one of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers,” and one of the top “40 Under 40” lawyers in the United States. She has also been selected as a New York “Super Lawyer,” and as one of the 500 leading litigators in the United States.
Robbie has extensive experience representing clients such
as Fitch Ratings 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. She also served as lead trial counsel
representing California following the bankruptcy of Pacific Gas
& Electric Company resulting from the California energy crisis
Robbie currently represents Edith Windsor, a widow forced to pay
$363,000 in federal estate tax, in a case challenging the
constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA"), the
statute that defines marriage for federal purposes as only between
a man and a woman. As a result of Ms. Windsor's case, the President
and the U.S. Department of Justice decided that DOMA was
unconstitutional and that they would no longer defend its
constitutionality in court. Judge Barbara S. Jones of the Southern
District of New York agreed, finding that section 3 of DOMA was
unconstitutional. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second
Circuit affirmed that decision in an opinion by Chief Judge Jacobs
holding for the first time at the Circuit level that laws like DOMA
that discriminate against gay men and lesbians should be subject to
heightened scrutiny. The United States Supreme Court granted
certiorari, and Robbie argued the case before the United States
Supreme Court on March 27, 2013.
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).
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
Robbie's legal work has been honored by a number of
organizations, including the New York City Council, the Family
Equality Council, and the National Organization for Women. In 2011,
she was honored as the distinguished alumna of the year by the
Columbia Law School Women's Association. She has also received the
New York County Lawyers' Association's William Nelson Cromwell
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 on
The Commercial Division Advisory Council.