ROBERT PATTERSON WATKINS, III
ADDRESS: 7944 Orchid St NW
Washington DC 20012
(202) 607-7817 (mobile)
(202) 829-5780 (home)
EDUCATION: Harvard College, A.B., 1959
Columbia University Law School, LLB, 1965
Ford Foundation Fellowship to
Cambridge University (England), Diploma in Criminology, 1970
MILITARY STATUS: Veteran, U.S. Army, Active Duty, Oct. 1960 – July 1962
Reserve Duty, July 1962 – Oct. 1966
Honorable Discharge, Oct. 1966
Williams & Connolly LLP, Washington, DC
October 1972 – November 2016; Partner 1977- 2016
For over 30 years at Williams & Connolly LLP, one of the nation’s leading trial law firms. I have
represented individuals, business organizations, and universities in civil matters including libel, contract
disputes, discrimination, antitrust and labor, medical malpractice and general civil litigation. Have
represented both individuals and organizations in a wide variety of criminal matters involving both street
and white-collar crime.
My areas of specialty are civil and criminal litigation. My practice has been quite varied. The
following is a description of the types of cases and clients.
Civil and Criminal Litigation Case Summaries
CASES – CIVIL
▪ Defended a railroad corporation in two class action suits; the first was involved a $25,000,000 case
tried in Jacksonville, Florida involving hundreds of foreign employees. The second involved race
discrimination in Birmingham, Alabama.
▪ Represented an auto dealership in a complex race discrimination case and against claims of sex and
age discrimination in Northern Virginia.
▪ Represented a major supermarket chain in two class action race discrimination cases; one in
Washington, D.C., and the other in Baltimore, Maryland.
▪ Represented the owner of a shopping center in a wrongful death action.
▪ Represented a D.C. area hotel in a sexual harassment case.
▪ Defended a D.C. area hospital corporation in a complex medical malpractice case involving surgical
CASES – CIVIL (cont’d)
▪ Represented a major real estate broker in antitrust suits and in various real estate licensing
▪ Represented a German beer company in a contract dispute with U.S. beer company.
▪ Represented Black employees of the Library of Congress in labor disputes with the Library
▪ Prepared and argued pre-trial motions to dismiss in civil securities fraud suit involving over ten
▪ Represented the South Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) against a lobbying arm of the
Namibian Government in a dispute about SWAPO’s status in United States (U.S.).
▪ Represented company in litigation against the Federal Government for Federal agency’s breach of
contract in connection with its purchase of computer hardware and software.
▪ Represent minority union members in action against a union for discriminatory practices.
▪ Defended national newspaper in action for libel.
▪ Defended major manufacturer of asbestos products in series of Wrongful Death and Survivors Act
▪ Defended major natural gas transmission company in a contract suit by an electric utility.
▪ Represented plaintiffs in an air pollution suite against a major coal company in West Virginia.
▪ Defended major pesticide producer in cancellation proceedings before the U.S. Environmental
▪ Represented national food distributor as creditor in commercial loan action.
▪ Defended international oil exploration company in civil securities action.
▪ Represented major auto manufacturer in products liability litigation.
▪ Represented a major university in a variety of litigated cases:
Libel actions and advising the newspaper on potentially libelous articles.
Contract matters, claims of race and sex discrimination, and claims of wrongful denial of tenure.
Hospital medical malpractice actions.
▪ Represented another university in the negotiation and administration of the following:
lective bargaining agreements.
Claims of discrimination before the D.C. Human Rights Commission.
Regulatory matters before the local transit commission.
Litigated real estate matter.
CASES – CRIMINAL
▪ Defended U.S. Congressman charged with mail fraud and making false statements.
▪ Represented public official charged with bribery, willful failure to pay income taxes, filing fraudulent
claims against the government, making false statements to the government, and obstruction of justice.
▪ Defended complicated securities, criminal mail fraud, and securities fraud prosecution.
▪ Represented local official charges with bribery and fraud.
▪ Defended a number of clients (in federal and local courts) charged with offenses of murder, burglary,
grand larceny, embezzlement, kidnapping, bribery, obstruction of justice, maintaining an interstate
gambling operation, and violation of the federal narcotic laws.
August 1971 – September 1972
Chief, Misdemeanor Section, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia
Trained all new employees entering the U.S. Attorney’s Office in law, procedure, and trial tactics
for criminal cases. Supervised, controlled, and had responsibility for 20 to 25 Assistant U.S. Attorneys
and for supporting personnel, including the training and evaluation of personnel performance. Made
policy decisions about how certain classes of cases, such as narcotics and weapons cases, were to be
disposed of. Personally made tactical decisions on how a case would best be tried; tried major felony
August 1970 – 1971
Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Appellate Division
Wrote briefs and argued criminal and civil cases in both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C.
Circuit Court and in the D.C. Court of Appeals.
September 1968 – August 1969
Law Clerk to the Honorable William B. Bryant, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
Researched various criminal and civil matters coming before the Court; advised the Court in their
OTHER EXPERIENCE (cont’d)
December 1966 – January 1968
Trial Attorney, Office of Hearing Counsel, Federal Maritime Commission, Washington, DC
Wrote the briefs and argued cases before Hearing Examiners, now Administrative Law Judges,
and the full Maritime Commission.
September 1965 – December 1966
Attorney, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
Investigated various civil rights complaints in various counties of Mississippi and Alabama and
assisted in the preparation of trials of more senior attorneys.
Bar Association and Professional Organizations
Advisory Committee on Procedure, U.S. Court of Appeals (D.C. Circuit) 1984 -1985
American Bar Association, 1967- Present
American Bar Association Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary, member 1990 -1993;
Chairman 1993 – 1994
Bar Association of the District of Columbia 1964 – Present
American College of Trial Lawyers, 1992 – Present
Thurgood Marshall American Inn of Court, January 1990-1993
Charles Fahy American Inn of Court, September 1982-1985; 1989-1990
American Trial Lawyers Association, 1988-Present
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Association, 1975-Present
Black Assistant U.S. Attorneys, 1982-2016
Board of Governors of the D.C. Bar, June 1980-June 1983
Columbia Law School Alumni Association, 1980s-Present
District of Columbia Bar Disciplinary Board, 1974-1977
Board of Trustees, D.C. Public Defender Service. Member 1976-1982; Chairman 1979-1981
District of Columbia Bar Association, Sections on Criminal Law, General Practice and Litigation,
Young Lawyers Section, 1968-1972
Federal Judicial Nominating Commission for the District of Columbia, 1976-1980
Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, 1993-Present
Flannery Lecture Committee 2005-Present
Lawyer’s Club of Washington, 1997-Present
Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, 1983-Present
Lawyers Guild, 1964-1992
NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, 1970s-Present
National Bar Association, 1975-1996
National Conference of Black Lawyers, 1971-1994
Bar Association and Professional Organizations (cont’d)
The American Law Institute 1995-Present
The Defense Research Institute, 1980s
Phi Delta Phi, 1962-1965
Washington Bar Association, 1967-Present
Boston Latin School Association, 1985-Present; Board of Directors, 1992-1995
Director, Associated Harvard Alumni, 1979-1981
Columbia Law School Association, Board 1997-1980
Harvard Club of Washington, 1968-Present; Vice President for Administration, 1983-1984
Board of Directors, 1975-1978; 1984-1988;
Harvard Schools and Scholarship Committee, 1986-1994
Williams College Parents’ Council, 1994-2001
Civic and Charitable Organizations
Environmental Defense Fund, 1970s-Present
Friends of Drayton Hall, 1980s-Present
Friends of the Folger Shakespeare Library, 1972-Present
Friends of the National Zoo, 1980-Present
Museum of African American History and Culture
Charter Member, 2016-Present
National Trust for Historic Preservation 1980s-Present
Neighbors, Inc., Member, 1973-Present
Schomburg Society for the Preservation of Black Culture of the New York Public Library, 2003-2010
Smithsonian Associate, 1980-Present
The English Speaking Union, 1988-2005
The Phillips Collection, 1980-Present
St. Columba’s Episcopal Church, 1979-Present; Usher, 1984-1986; Sunday School Teacher, 1982-1990
Space Allocation Committee, February 1985-1986
Vestry Member, Finance Committee, 1990-1995
Search Committee, 1994-1995
Religious Organizations (cont’d)
National Cathedral Chapter, Board 1997-2005
Vice Chancellor, Episcopal Diocese of Washington, 1996-2004
Social and Fraternal Organizations
Aspen Hill Racquet Club, 1987-2004
Capitol PC Users Group, 1984-1990
DePriest Fifteen, 2009-Present
Metropolitan Club, 1983-Present
Omega Phi Psi Fraternity, 1957-Present
Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Epsilon Boulē, 1995-Present