Robert Barton is a partner in Holland & Knight's Private Wealth Services Group. He represents individuals, families, charitable institutions, corporate trustees and private professional fiduciaries in litigation involving complex trusts and estates. He also provides guidance on trust and estate administration, conservatorship and guardianship matters, as well as claims involving elder abuse.
Mr. Barton has a national practice and has been tapped to represent clients in some of the most high-profile and complex trust and estate disputes pending in federal, state and tribal courts throughout the country. While these disputes range in complexity and value, sometimes exceeding billions of dollars, Mr. Barton takes pride in working with his clients to find creative and effective solutions that protect and advance their interests. Where informal resolution is not a possibility, Mr. Barton has quickly gained a reputation as a zealous advocate for his clients' interests.
Both clients and the leading industry publications have taken note of Mr. Barton's work and results. Mr. Barton was named a top adviser by the Chambers High Net Worth guide for California Private Wealth Disputes, one of California's top lawyers under 40 by the Daily Journal and as a Rising Star by the Southern California Super Lawyers magazine.
In interviews with Chambers High Net Worth, clients and other industry professionals praised Mr. Barton's work. Insiders state that he is:
Very knowledgeable but also really personable and down to earth ... He has a canny ability to cut through all the noise to identify the real issues, and he's not afraid to do what's necessary on behalf of his clients. Robert is certainly someone you want on your team if you're ever involved in high-stakes litigation.
– Chambers High Net Worth 2022 guide
Very thorough, organized and has a great memory; he can pull up the minutiae in case law that you need. … Robbie is not afraid to ask some tough questions in depositions or conferences.
– Chambers High Net Worth 2021 guide
A few of Mr. Barton's recent representative cases include the following:
- representing an heir to a multibillion-dollar business in litigation proceedings pending in multiple states brought by individuals who sought ratification of elder financial abuse they had committed and who sought to overturn the estate plan to their financial benefit; the matter was successfully resolved with the estate plan being affirmed by the court and a confidential amount repaid by the abusers to the elder
- representing a widow in obtaining a $4.9 million settlement against a former corporate trustee over its mismanagement and oversight of the sale of the trust's primary asset, the widow's marital residence, and the trustee's subsequent failure to distribute the sale proceeds
- representing co-personal representatives in probate and trust proceedings pending in multiple states as contentious litigation took place between and among family members of the decedent over a multimillion-dollar estate and trust; assisted the co-personal representatives in resolving the litigation and guiding the estate through complex issues arising from an IRS audit of the estate's Form 706 Estate Tax Return
- representing a national charity in resolving litigation over a charitable bequest, resulting in a multimillion-dollar settlement to the charity
Mr. Barton is a leader inside and outside the courtroom. He currently serves on the California Lawyers Association Trusts & Estates Executive Committee, where he drafted and is lobbying for new legislation. He is the Chair of the Ethics and Malpractice Committee of the American Bar Association, Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, California. He publishes and speaks regularly on new law, such as the Anti-Isolation Restraining Orders coming into effect January 2023, and cutting edge legal topics, including the administration of estates and trusts holding cryptocurrency and other digital assets. Mr. Barton also is a trustee of the Autry Museum of the American West.
- University of Minnesota Law School, J.D.
- University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.A., Political Science, History, American Indian Studies Certificate
- Supreme Court of California
- Supreme Court of Minnesota
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
- U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- San Manuel Tribal Court
- U.S. Tax Court
- American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
- Fellow, 2021
- Artificial Intelligence Task Force
- Fiduciary Litigation
- Legal Education
- Technology in the Practice
- American Bar Association, Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, Ethics and Malpractice Committee, Vice-Chair, 2014-2017; Chair, 2018; Co-Chair, 2020
- California Lawyers Association Trusts and Estates Quarterly Editor-in-Chief, 2022
- California Lawyers Association Trusts and Estates Executive Committee, 2018, 2022
- Southern California Tribal Bar Association
- Los Angeles County Bar Association
- Beverly Hills Bar Association
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit Pro Bono Panel, Pro Bono Counsel
- Autry Museum of the American West, Member of the Board of Trustees, 2018
- The Best Lawyers in America guide, Litigation - Trusts & Estates, 2022, 2023
- Rising Star, Southern California Super Lawyers magazine, 2015-2022
- Chambers High Net Worth guide, Private Wealth Disputes: California, 2018-2022
- Holland & Knight Pro Bono All-Star, 2021
- Top California Lawyers Under 40, The Daily Journal, 2018
- ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law's Probate & Property magazine, Excellence in Writing Award: Best Cutting Edge Articles Trust & Estate, 2015
- Chesterfield Smith Fellowship Program, Holland & Knight, 2014
- Holland & Knight Public and Charitable Service All-Star, 2014
- American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section, Fellow, 2012-2014
- Constitutional Commentary, Student Technical Editor
- Civil Rights Moot Court