“Every succession plan is unique, every family is unique. The key is to preserve the business while treating all the stakeholders fairly.”
Rob grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, and attended East High School there. After graduating from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, Rob served in the U.S. Army and the Army Reserves from 1970 to 1976. Rob is a 1974 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School and has been with the firm ever since. Rob is well known throughout the Madison community as a strong supporter of Rotary Club, youth sports, and the University of Wisconsin. His hobbies include travel, scuba diving, and inline skating.
Rob is consistently recognized as a top Madison attorney in the areas of corporate law and estate planning. He is AV® Preeminent™ rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, which is a top rating awarded by Rob’s peers. His list of professional honors includes being listed in The Best Lawyers in America®, Wisconsin Super Lawyers, and Madison Magazine’s list of “Top Lawyers.” Rob’s clients range from closely-held family businesses to large lending institutions. Rob enjoys the reputation in Madison of being a trusted advisor to generations of Madison families.
- Guided the transfer of a family-owned, national chain of car washes from the business founder to its second generation of owners and strategic buyers in a way that maximized value for the founder and preserved family control of the business.
- Executed the succession of a family-owned grain elevator concern from one generation of family members to the next to accomplish the goal of spreading value to all members of the succeeding generation while maintaining business control in the active participants of the business.
- Structured the estate plan for the owner of statewide retailer so as to preserve the value of the business, accomplish the owner’s charitable giving goals, and maintain ownership and control of the business for the next generation of family ownership.
- Advisor to and trustee of the Vilas Trust and John M. Olin Trust, non-profit organizations that were established to support University of Wisconsin scholars and professors and Madison parks.
- Formulated countless estate plans that saved clients millions of dollars in gift and estate taxes.
- Designed and customized business succession plans for dozens of closely-held businesses to achieve various tax, corporate, and estate planning goals.
Professional Achievements, Honors, and Awards
- AV® Preeminent™ Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings
- Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in Trusts & Estates, Closely Held Companies & Family Businesses, Banking & Finance, and Corporate Law (2008-2021)
- Selected as a Wisconsin Super Lawyer in Estate Planning & Probate, Real Estate, Business/Corporate (2008-2020)
- Named a “Top Lawyer” by Madison Magazine in Business, Elder, Commercial Lending, Estate Planning, and Consumer Law
- Member of In Business magazine’s “Executive Register” (2006-2014)
- University of Wisconsin Law School, J.D., 1974
- Hamilton College, B.A., 1969
- Rotary District Governor, District 6250
- Past President, Downtown Rotary Club
- Team Leader, Group Study Exchange, Rotary International
- President, International Fellowship of Rotarian SCUBA Divers
- Chair, Goodman Rotary 50+ MSCR Fitness Program
- Board Member, Attic Angels Prairie Point
- Board Member, Wisconsin Youth Symphony Foundation
- Past Board Member, Madison Public Library Foundation
- Trustee, Board of Trustees, Cremer Foundation
- Counsel to Trustees, William F. Vilas Estate
- Past President, Wisconsin Lacrosse Officials Association
- Ethics Chair and Past Board Member, Dane County Hockey Officials Association