Robert B. Fiske, Jr.
  1. Senior Counsel

Having retired as a partner, Mr. Fiske is senior counsel in Davis Polk’s Litigation Department. During the course of his career, he tried many cases concerning a wide variety of industries and areas of the law in courts across the country. Mr. Fiske's experience as a government prosecutor is extensive and he is widely credited for pioneering white collar defense as a big-law practice area. He is also the author of "Prosecutor Defender Counselor: The Memoirs of Robert B. Fiske, Jr."

Work Highlights

  • Clark Clifford and Robert Altman in investigations of their roles in the BCCI matter
  • Exxon in New York and New Jersey investigations of the Arthur Kill oil spill
  • Prudential Securities in the complex of proceedings arising out of its limited partnership sales practices
  • Co-counsel in the successful defense of the National Football League in the antitrust suit brought by the U.S. Football League
  • The New York Mets in the successful defense of an effort by Cablevision to block the formation of the Mets cable TV network with Time Warner and Comcast
  • Siemens AG in the negotiations of a resolution of Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission investigations into international bribery charges
  • Audit committee of Bear Stearns in investigation into collapse of high-risk hedge funds
Financial and Securities Experience
  • Representation of Exxon, Bankers Trust and other clients in securities actions
  • Obtained a reversal and judgment of acquittal in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals of the mail fraud conviction of David Brown, former chairman of the board of General Development Corporation
Products Liability Experience
  • Successfully defended a $4 billion suit arising out of the Three Mile Island accident, brought by General Public Utilities against Babcock & Wilcox, which had designed and manufactured the nuclear reactor
  • Obtained reversals in the Missouri Supreme Court of two multi-million dollar compensatory and punitive damage verdicts against Suzuki after trials involving a rollover of the Suzuki Samurai sport-utility vehicle
Government Prosecutorial Experience
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New York, 1957-1961
  • U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New York, 1976-1980; served as Chairman of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys
  • Independent Counsel, Whitewater Investigation, January to October 1994
During his four-year term as U.S. Attorney, Mr. Fiske personally handled a number of important cases, including:
  • The conviction of narcotics kingpin Leroy “Nicky” Barnes
  • The labor racketeering conviction of Anthony Scotto and Anthony Anastasio
  • The representation of Attorney General Griffin B. Bell in connection with contempt proceedings in the Socialist Workers Party litigation
Public Service Experience While at Davis Polk
  • Member of the New York State Judicial Compensation Commission, 2011
  • Represented the Judicial Council of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in disciplinary proceedings against a U.S. District Judge
  • Chairman of the Judicial Commission on Drugs and the Courts appointed by New York State Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye
  • Member of the Commission for the Review of FBI Security Programs (Webster Commission)
  • Special Advisor to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in investigation of New York State Police


Mr. Fiske has been recognized as a leading lawyer in several legal industry publications, including:

  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Benchmark Litigation 
  • Law Business Research’s Who’s Who Legal–International Who’s Who of Commercial Litigators
  • Woodward/White’s Best Lawyers in America 
  • Federal Bar Council’s Emory Buckner Medal for Distinguished Public Service, 1987
  • New York City Bar Association Medal and the Fordham-Stein Prize, 2007
  • The American Lawyer Lifetime Achievement Award, 2008
  • Michigan Law School Inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award, 2011
  • American Inns of Court Lewis Powell Award for Professionalism and Ethics, 2016 

Of Note

Mr. Fiske received the James Duane Award for exemplary service to the Southern District of New York. 

Mr. Fiske's current and past memberships include:

  • Member, Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform (2016)
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers (President, 1991-1992)
  • Member, Federal Bar Council (President, 1982-1984)
  • Fellow, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers
  • Member, University of Michigan President’s Advisory Group
  • Trustee, Vermont Law School
  • Trustee, William Nelson Cromwell Foundation
  • Trustee, Riot Relief Fund
  • Chairman, Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary, American Bar Association
  • Chairman, Planning and Program Committee, Judicial Conference of the Second Circuit

Professional History

  • Senior Counsel, 2010-present
  • Partner, 1964-2010
  • Associate, 1955-1964

Practice Focus

Bar Admissions

  • State of New York
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. New York
  • U.S. District Court, S.D. New York


  • B.A., Yale University, 1952
  • J.D., University of Michigan Law School, 1955
    • Order of the Coif
    • Associate Editor, Michigan Law Review
  • LL.D., University of Michigan, 1997