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Robert Held is a founding partner of Harrison & Held, LLP. Rob represents corporate and individual fiduciaries in complex estate and trust litigation. He is a frequent writer and speaker on litigation topics, tax and estate planning matters.
Rob recently authored a Southern Illinois Law Journal article addressing a guardian’s ability to have a ward divorced without any evidence or legal argument from the ward’s spouse. Rob explains that the court’s determination that an incompetent person’s spouse lacks standing when a guardian seeks a divorce is inconsistent with Illinois Supreme Court precedent and risks harming the institution of marriage. https://law.siu.edu/_common/documents/law-journal/articles%20-%202019/summer-2019/7%20-%20Held%20jr%208%202.pdf
Rob obtained a supervisory order from the Illinois Supreme Court requiring a trial court judge to vacate an order. The Supreme Court exercised its constitutional right to supervise trial court judges directly and determined that a judge exceeded his authority. While such relief is rarely sought, and even more rarely granted, Rob successfully utilized an available remedy to ensure that the trial court judge would fairly adjudicate his client’s rights.
The ABA Criminal Litigation Newsletter published Rob’s article, “Indirect Criminal Contempt.” Rob authored the chapter, Nonmarketable Investments in Individual Retirement Accounts, in the 2015 edition of the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education Publication, Estate Planning for Retirement Benefits. He is a co-author of the 2014 chapter, Handling Family Limited Partnerships and LLCs, in the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education publication, Illinois Estate Administration. Trusts and Estates Magazine published Rob’s 2014 article, “How to Handle Conflicts of Interest,” which discusses confidentiality and conflicts in the context of estate planning (see publications for full article).
Rob authored the article, “Prudent Investor Rule Chiseled Away in Carter v. Carter,” published by the ISBA in its May 2013 Trusts & Estates Section newsletter.
Rob’s Illinois Bar Journal commentary, “Refuse the Bequest or Lose the Will Contest: The Unforgiving Doctrine of Election” was cited and adopted by the Illinois Appellate Court, First District. Boyar v. Dixon, 2012 IL App (1st) 11103,¶31. The article argued that the policy preventing an heir from simultaneously accepting a benefit under a will while contesting that will should apply with equal force to trusts.
Rob was profiled in Leading Lawyers Network Magazine and has written numerous articles including “Clyde Bowles - My Law Partner and Mentor to All” published in the 2011 Law Day Edition of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, and “Contempt: The Court's Highest Power” in the November 2010 CBA Record. Based on a scam often directed at law firms, Rob penned a piece describing steps that law firms can take to identify and avoid being the victim of internet fraud that was published in the Illinois Lawyer Now Quarterly, Summer 2012 edition. Rob is the co-author of the 2006 article, Federal Court Denies Protection in Bankruptcy for Inherited IRA, published in the Illinois State Bar Association's Commercial, Banking & Bankruptcy Law Newsletter. Rob also authored “IRAs and Bankruptcy” and “A Trust Counsel's Duty to Beneficiaries,” published in the Illinois Bar Journal. He co-authored “Hedging Death and Taxes,” and “Sham Transaction Doctrine,” published in Trusts & Estates Magazine.
Rob previously chaired the Insurable Interest Sub-Committee of the Trust Law Committee of the Chicago Bar Association. He is a past chairman of the CBA’s Federal Taxation Committee as well as its Estate and Gift Taxation subcommittee and is a frequent speaker for the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education and the Chicago Bar Association. Rob is currently a member of the Judicial Evaluation Committee of the Chicago Bar Association. Rob has been selected as a Leading Lawyer and a Super Lawyer and was profiled in the Illinois Super Lawyers magazine. In 2012, Rob was selected by the University of Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences as a Distinguished Alumni.
“Contempt” Chicago Bar Association Commercial Litigation Committee (February 23, 2016)
"Fraudulent Transfer Analysis" First Midwest Bank presents the 8th Annual Trusts & Estates CLE Event for Legal Professionals (April 23, 2014)
"The Modern Doctrine of Election," Northwest Suburban Estate Planning Council (February 16, 2012)
“Confidentiality in Estate Planning and the Litigation Exception Posthumously," Chicago Bar Association, September 30, 2011.
“The New Transfer Tax Regime,” Wintrust Wealth Management, February 15, 2011
“Self-Canceling Installment Notes,” Chicago Jewish Entrepreneur Forum, February 8, 2011
DePaul University, J.D., 1995
Eastern New Mexico University, M.B.A., 1988
State University of New York at Buffalo, B.A., 1980
Rob is admitted to practice in Illinois.
He is also admitted to practice before the Northern District of Illinois and is also a member of the Trial Bar for the Northern District of Illinois.
Chicago Council of Lawyers – Board Member
Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice - Board Member
American Bar Association
Chicago Bar Association, Insurable Interest Sub-Committee - Past Chairman; Federal Taxation Committee - Past Chairman
Chicago Estate Planning Council
Illinois State Bar Association
Anita M. Stone Jewish Community Center, Flossmoor, Illinois - Past President
When spouses seek advice from their attorney in implementing an estate plan, they likely expect that their attorney will represent each of their interests. The Model Rules of Professional Conduct (the Rules) prohibit an attorney from representing two clients if their interests are directly adverse.1 As the Bible proclaims (in a different context): No man can serve two masters.2
A married couple travels to their attorney’s office to sign their wills. The husband reads his will, signs it and leaves without reading his wife’s will but assumes they are reciprocal. The attorney then prepares a deed transferring the husband’s residence to his wife – to equalize their estates.
Cyber criminals, based overseas and concentrated in Nigeria, send scam emails to law firms on a daily basis in an effort to fraudulently extract IOLTA funds and enrich themselves. Because of the increasing prevalence of these ventures, attorneys need to understand how such cons work and to protect themselves against fraud.
The First District, in an opinion last year, effectively nullified – perhaps inadvertently – an element of the Prudent Investor Rule in Illinois. The ramifications are still being felt, but trust counsel and practitioners alike must be on notice: the duty of a trustee to remain impartial when investing marital trust assets has been eviscerated by Carter v. Carter. An investment solely in tax-free municipal bonds for an entire trust was upheld without dissent in a ruling that was not filed under Rule 23.
In the early 1960s, Tyrone Brown a young, tall, black man was arrested by the Chicago police for loitering. Tyrone (not his real name) was belligerent, calling the police many inflammatory names. After a few hours at the police station, the police took him to the hospital, his hands still cuffed tightly behind him. Tyrone died shortly thereafter of internal injuries, the result of severe blows to the abdomen.
Clyde Bowles, a young lawyer, was assigned by the then state’s attorney to head a special investigation to determine if the police were the cause of the injuries and Tyrone’s death.
Recently, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Gettleman sentenced TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau to 30 days in jail and fined him $5,000 for direct criminal contempt. Trudeau was found to have bombarded the judge's e-mail account with messages from supporters. The 7th Circuit is considering Trudeau’s appeal and specifically: the nature of Trudeau’s “speech”, whether Judge Gettleman exceeded his authority and whether Trudeau’s actions that resulted in a barrage of 300 emails to the judge’s blackberry should be considered “criminal.” These questions provide a backdrop to discuss the fundamental concept of contempt – civil and criminal – and the circumstances where such findings could be appropriate.