As leader of the firm’s appellate practice, Chip Robertson analyzes complex case histories and advocates for client positions before the courts. It’s a role for which he is well-positioned; before joining Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader, Chip served as a Missouri Supreme Court judge from 1985 to 1998. He was chief justice from 1991 to 1993.
Among his recent appellate successes:
- In Maddison Schmidt v. Abbott Laboratories, Inc., Chip represented Ms. Schmidt and her family, who had received a $38 million jury verdict in a personal injury lawsuit. The company appealed. Chip successfully protected their verdict before the Missouri Court of Appeals, which affirmed the result at the lower court.
- In State of Missouri v. Christopher Eric Hunt, Chip represented Mr. Hunt, a police officer who was found guilty of assault, burglary and property damage in connection with the pursuit of a methamphetamine dealer. The litigation went all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court, which dismissed two of the charges. Ultimately, Mr. Hunt served no jail time and was reinstated on the police force.
Chip also leads the firm’s class action team, where he works to broker collaborative solutions. As lead counsel for AT&T Mobility customers, he secured a settlement of more than $1 billion on claims of improper sales tax charges; he later achieved a $157 million settlement with the company for mistaken Federal Universal Services fees that were mistakenly charged to cell phone customers. In 2016, he represented a class of jurors, judges, courthouse employees and lawyers who were exposed to asbestos during a renovation of the Jackson County (Mo.) Courthouse; that matter ended with an $80 million settlement and is regarded as the first medical monitoring case in the state of Missouri.
Over decades of practice, Chip has cultivated a reputation of integrity, judgment and legal acumen. He is frequently sought for committees and investigations that involve the legal profession. He co-chaired Missouri’s Municipal Division Work Group, which studied potential improvements to the municipal court system and has served as special counsel to the Missouri House’s Special Investigative Committee on Oversight. He is a recipient of the Missouri Bar President’s Award for outstanding contributions to the Missouri Bar.
Attorney by day, artist by night: When he’s not at the office, Chip Robertson has taken up making paintings that are “getting better but not good yet.”
His favorite subject: the sky. “It intrigues me,” he said. “It’s always moving; the colors are adjusting.”
The movement of the clouds is a fitting focus for a man whose career has been defined by lofty pursuits and an appreciation for varied perspectives.
Before attending law school, Chip studied in the Methodist seminary for a year. He hoped to do both, but when forced to pick one, he chose law. From law school, he went to the Missouri attorney general’s office, where he worked until he was selected to serve on the Missouri Supreme Court. He served on the bench from 1985 to 1998 and was the state’s chief justice from 1991 to 1993.
His time on the court shaped how he approaches cases now – with a focus on education and empathy, he said.
“I try to figure out, how do you teach the other side that there’s a solution that can benefit them if there’s really a problem? I spend a lot of time thinking about what they must be thinking,” he said. “If I wanted to resolve this case if I was on their side, what would I have to hear?”
He applied this collaborative style to the consumer class action case against AT&T Mobility. The lawsuit, which stemmed from allegations of improperly charged sales tax, was one of the largest consumer class action cases in U.S. history.
“We went to AT&T and said, 'You have a problem, here’s a business solution, let’s work this out,'” he said. “Let’s see what we can do together.”
This led to a settlement that was reached in record time, and more than $1 billion in refund requests paid to the plaintiffs.
He continues to pursue similar matters as the leader of Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader’s class action and appellate teams.
At night, though, it’s back to the acrylic paints and back to the sky.
“It’s so complex. You think the clouds are white, but that’s not even close,” he said. “It’s just what I think about the world. It’s so beautiful, but if you stare it down, it’s impossible to capture.”
- EDUCATION AND PAST EXPERIENCE
LL.M., University of Virginia School of Law, 1990
Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, 1983
J.D., University of Missouri – Kansas City, 1977
Southern Methodist University, Perkins School of Theology, 1974-1975
B.A., Westminster University, 1974
- MEMBERSHIPS AND AFFILIATIONS
5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
American Bar Association
Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
Missouri Bar Association
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
U.S. Supreme Court
Christian Legal Society
Alpha Chi Scholastic Honorary Society
Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honorary Society
Phi Alpha Theta History Honorary Society
- HONORS AND RECOGNITIONS
The Missouri Bar President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Missouri Bar
1991 Missouri Statesman of the Year