Robert Haar


Haar & Woods, LLP
1010 Market Street
Suite 1620
St. Louis, MO. 63101

Tel: (314) 241-2224


The focus of Mr. Haar’s practice is civil and criminal trials and appeals in both federal and state courts. He frequently represents clients in the federal and state appellate courts and has been retained specifically for appellate work in the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal courts of appeals, and the Missouri Supreme Court.

He has represented universities, law firms, banks, major corporations, civic and religious organizations, labor unions, a professional sports franchise,  insurance carriers and individuals in diverse contexts, including commercial, securities, professional liability, intellectual property, environmental and constitutional litigation. He has defended individuals and corporations in criminal investigations and proceedings involving allegations of corporate or securities fraud, tax violations, bank fraud, pharmaceutical adulteration or mislabeling, environmental violations and mail and wire fraud.

Mr. Haar is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is a former law clerk to then Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist of the United States Supreme Court and Judge Harold Leventhal of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He served as an Attorney-Advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice and as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri. In the latter capacity, he was involved principally in organized crime and public corruption prosecutions. In 1994, he was appointed by Governor Mel Carnahan to the Board of Police Commissioners of the City of St. Louis and served as a police commissioner until 1998. He was appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States to serve on the Committee on District Judge Education of the Federal Judicial Center from 2001 through 2007. In 2010, the Missouri Supreme Court appointed him to a special ad hoc committee to study the use of experts in Missouri and to make recommendations regarding the proper scope of expert discovery.


  • Yale Law School, J.D., (Editor-in-Chief, Volume 86, Yale Law Journal)
  • Oxford University, B.Phil. Economics, (Rhodes Scholar)
  • Stanford University, B.S. Electrical Engineering
  • Represented electrical utility with respect to criminal investigations, Public Utility Commission hearings, and environmental litigation, with the State of Missouri and private litigants, arising out of collapse of 1.4-billion-gallon mountaintop reservoir at pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant
  • Represented former Governor of Missouri in federal prosecution involving campaign contributions
  • Since 2017 has argued three cases of first impression in the Missouri Supreme Court that resulted in unanimous opinions on the enforceability of insurance pollution exclusions, the inapplicability of public policy discharge claims to independent contractors, and the statutory limits on objections to venue motions
  • Represented clients in investigations and litigation involving Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the National Hockey League
  • Represented majority shareholders of bank holding company and of large private corporations in defense of claims of breach of fiduciary duty and oppression of minority shareholders
  • Represented defense contractor in federal investigations and obtained dismissals of shareholder derivative and class action claims arising out of backdating of stock options
  • Represented leading urban redeveloper and twice obtained dismissal of federal indictment for failure to state an offense under the mail, wire and bank fraud statutes
  • Represented CFO of Fortune 500 cable television company in defense of federal criminal wire fraud charges and civil class action proceedings alleging accounting fraud
  • Represented private university in defense of lawsuits challenging its student disciplinary processes under state and federal law, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
  • Represented leading medical school and its faculty in qui tam action alleging Medicare fraud, medical malpractice actions, and administrative licensure proceedings
  • Represented international energy company and obtained dismissal of class action alleging PCB contamination along multi-state natural gas pipeline
  • Represented one of nation’s largest law firms and obtained defense judgment on $25 million claim which is a leading precedent in Missouri on the requirements to prove a malpractice claim
  • Represented numerous lawyers and law firms in defense of legal malpractice claims, criminal investigations and Bar investigations arising in various contexts, including civil litigation, criminal defense, securities law, international arbitration, contempt, immigration, trademarks, trusts and estates, patent prosecution and transactional matters
  • Represented school district in landmark First Amendment case regarding school newspapers (Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988))
  • Conducted internal investigations on behalf of academic, corporate, civic, labor, governmental and religious organizations
  • Represented religious school where federal court found repeated constitutional violations by Missouri state officials and obtained acquittal of school official in related criminal prosecution
  • Represented NHL hockey player charged with murder-for-hire
  • Represented prominent state legislator and obtained acquittal in criminal prosecution for alleged sexual assault
  • Represented internationally known Italian photographer in lawsuit filed by State of Missouri arising out of Benetton “We, On Death Row” Campaign
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Master, Theodore McMillian American Inn of Court (2010-2020)
  • Member, Missouri State Committee (2013-2019), Federal Practice Committee (2009-2012), and Teaching Trial & Appellate Advocacy Committee (2009-2012) of the American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Member, Committee on District Judge Education of the Federal Judicial Center
  • Member, Missouri Supreme Court Ad Hoc Committee on Expert Discovery (2010-2011)
  • Chair (1995-1997) and Member (1994-1995), Civil Justice Reform Act Advisory Group, Eastern District of Missouri
  • Chair, Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis Task Force on Litigation Reform (1992-1993)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Lecturer, U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society’s Summer Institute for High School Teachers
  • Adjunct Professor; Trial Practice, St. Louis University School of Law, 1986-1989; Litigation, Washington University School of Law, 1985-1987
  • Lecturer on trial practice, appellate advocacy, ethics and professionalism, constitutional litigation, business litigation, white collar criminal defense, and business torts.

The keys to effective appellate advocacy are creativity, thoroughness in crafting legal arguments and the ability to communicate those arguments persuasively. Our attorneys have appeared in both federal and state appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court. The issues in the civil appeals have covered the same broad spectrum of business disputes that characterize the firm’s trial practice. For example, in 2017 the firm obtained unanimous judgments in favor of its clients in two of the most significant cases before the Missouri Supreme Court that year.  Those cases involved insurance policy pollution exclusions and wrongful discharge claims by independent contractors.

Because of its reputation for effective appellate advocacy, the firm frequently is asked by other attorneys to represent the interests of their clients at the appellate level. The firm has been recognized in U.S. News & World Report’s annual national and regional rankings of the Best Law Firms in America in the area of “Appellate Practice,” including recognition as a First Tier St. Louis law firm in that area.

The firm also handles criminal appeals. It obtained an outright reversal in the Missouri Supreme Court of a conviction and attendant 20-year prison sentence in a highly publicized criminal case involving conduct that allegedly occurred 25 years earlier. In another of the firm’s cases, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed a rare dismissal of an indictment for failure to state an offense under the federal mail, wire and bank fraud statutes.  Other recent appeals have concerned the scope of the federal illegal gratuities statute in a prosecution involving a federal official, and the interaction of the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause and federal statutes that criminalize the transfer of certain Native American artifacts.

Since its formation in 1997, Haar & Woods, LLP has become one of the most highly regarded firms of its size in the Midwest. The firm provides sophisticated and creative representation to individual and corporate clients in complex civil and criminal matters. It has been lead counsel in some of the most prominent cases in recent Missouri history, ranging from the State’s largest environmental case to the defense of some of the most publicized criminal cases in the region.

The firm is comprised of lawyers with excellent academic backgrounds, extensive and varied litigation experience, and outstanding trial and advocacy skills. It is a testament to the firm that it is frequently chosen by other lawyers and law firms – including many of the largest firms in Missouri – to represent their interests or those of their clients.