Nov 2 • 42M

'She Eats Bullies For Lunch': An Interview With Robbie Kaplan

The iconic progressive litigator, founder of Kaplan Hecker & Fink, deposed Donald Trump last month—twice.

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David Lat
Original Jurisdiction, a podcast about law and the legal profession, features host David Lat interviewing some of the most interesting, influential, and important people in the world of law. It's the companion podcast to Lat's Substack newsletter of the same name. You can follow David on Twitter (@DavidLat) or email him at davidlat@substack.com, and you can subscribe to his newsletter at davidlat.substack.com.
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Depositions are a crucial part of discovery—and they can also be, in the hands of a talented litigator, torture for the witness. So I suspect that many lawyers on the left—and beyond—might be jealous right now of Roberta “Robbie” Kaplan, the iconic lawyer and founding partner of Kaplan Hecker & Fink (“KHF”). Last month, Robbie had the pleasure of deposing former president Donald Trump—not once, but twice.

I’m guessing it wasn’t a fun experience for the Donald. His niece Mary Trump, who hired Kaplan Hecker to sue her uncle for fraud, described Robbie to Bloomberg as follows: “She’s brilliant, she’s unrelenting, she can’t be intimidated, and she’s not going to back down. She eats bullies… for lunch.”

Deposing the president twice in the same month is only the latest distinction for Robbie, known for handling some of the most high-profile and high-stakes cases in the country. She’s most well-known for representing the late Edie Windsor in United States v. Windsor, the landmark gay-rights case in which the Supreme Court held unconstitutional section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. But Robbie is also the lawyer of choice for major corporations like Goldman Sachs and Uber, who hire her and KHF to handle their most complex legal problems.

On Monday, I was delighted to speak with Robbie for the fourth episode of the Original Jurisdiction podcast. She wasn’t able to say much about the Trump depositions, but she did talk about her multiple cases against Trump in broader terms. We also spoke about what makes her unique as a litigator; her epic victory last year in Sines v. Kessler, in which she won damages of more than $25 million from the white supremacists behind the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in August 2017; her vision for Kaplan Hecker & Fink, the thriving litigation boutique she founded after more than two decades at Paul, Weiss; free-speech and cancel-culture controversies in the legal world; and whether she’s a tough boss.

Please check it out by clicking on the embed at the top of this post. Thanks!

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