Robert B. Barnett, '71, to Receive Distinguished Alumni Award

The University of Chicago Law School will present Robert B. Barnett, ’71, with its 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award, in honor of his extraordinary legal career and exemplary service to the Law School.

Barnett graduated from the Law School in 1971 after receiving his bachelor’s from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He clerked for Judge John Minor Wisdom of the Fifth Circuit and Justice Byron R. White of the Supreme Court. He served as legislative assistant to then-Sen. Walter F. Mondale of Minnesota and then joined Williams & Connolly in 1975. At Williams & Connolly, Barnett’s principal practice involves representing major corporations in litigation matters, corporate work, contracts, crisis management, transactions, government relations and media relations.

Barnett is one of the Law School’s most dedicated alumni. He has served on the Law School Visiting Committee and been a reliable sounding board for Law School deans for decades.

“Bob Barnett has not only been a great example of the quintessential Chicago-trained lawyer, but also a stellar mentor and role model to the many Chicago alumni who have worked with him at Williams & Connolly and in the D.C. legal community,“ said Michael Schill, Dean and the Harry N. Wyatt Professor of Law.

Barnett is also one of the premier authors’ representatives in the world. His clients have included Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sarah Palin, Edward M. Kennedy, Bob Woodward, James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark, Tim Russert, Tony Blair, Benazir Bhutto and Queen Noor. Barnett also has represented scores of television news correspondents and producers, including Brian Williams, Lesley Stahl, Sam Donaldson, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Christiane Amanpour, Andrea Mitchell, and Barnett’s wife, Rita Braver of CBS News.

Barnett is well-known and well-respected for his service to clients across the political spectrum. He has helped a number of former government officials transition to the private sector, including Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Madeleine Albright, Karl Rove and James Baker. He topped Washingtonian Magazine’s list of “Washington’s Best Lawyers” and was listed as one of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” by The National Law Journal. As the Washington Post noted, “To list Barnett as a signifier of Washington connectedness is like calling the sun a symbol of heat.”

Barnett will receive his award at the Law School’s hooding ceremony following the University’s spring convocation on Saturday, June 12.