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Rob Lang


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Litigation can be a chess match or a street fight: Rob is comfortable with either approach.

Rob is a business litigator who focuses on preventing or resolving "business divorces" and representing clients in complex contract disputes across various industries.

Business divorces, where company owners can't get along anymore, can affect everyone from individuals to multi-billion-dollar companies and frequently crop up when, during the formation of a new business, the owners do not pay close enough attention to their operating agreements or shareholder agreements — or unwisely forgo such agreements altogether. Rob works closely with his clients to prepare a good "prenuptial agreement" for their business that accounts for the various trigger points of conflict that he has seen over the course of almost 30 years of practicing law.

If litigation proves necessary, Rob is highly experienced in the complex intersection of litigation, corporate, employment, trusts and estates, and other areas of the law that frequently accompanies these types of disputes.

Rob's general litigation experience includes the successful resolution of complex contractual and other business disputes in various industries, including real estate, manufacturing (including food), health care, professional services, sports, transportation, and energy.

Rob also serves on Thompson Coburn's management committee.

Rob deeply values service to the community. He is a founding director of Fight for Chicago, a charity that provides boxing training and mentoring to disadvantaged Chicago youths. Rob recently finished a six-year tenure as a board and executive committee member of the Ronald McDonald House Charities chapter for Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. Rob was also privileged to be honored as the "Hero of the Year" in 2011 for his pro bono work on behalf of Marklund, which provides care for people with severe developmental disabilities in suburban Chicago.

Headline-making results at trial and otherwise in high-profile ‘business divorces'

Rob represents minority owners, majority owners, management and the company in disputes related to governance, valuation, fiduciary and other issues. His successful results for his clients are reported in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, Crain's Chicago Business, the Gary Post-Tribune and other media. A sampling of his work includes:
Defeating post M&A claims on behalf of a buyer of a large litigation funding business.
Successfully resolving a business divorce among family members of a well-known Chicago foodservice business.
Defeating a motion for temporary restraining order brought by a son against his mother relating to family property.
Successfully representing general partners at trial against claims for breach of fiduciary duty.
Winning an award of contempt sanctions (attorneys' fees) against a law firm arising out of a business divorce matter.
Proving oppression for a minority shareholder of a well-known fast-food franchisor, entitling the shareholder to a buyout at (undiscounted) "fair value" at trial, and forcing the majority shareholder out of control of the company. Winning a dismissal upon summary judgment in federal court for his client in defending a large claim for the client's alleged failure to honor a promise to provide stock options.
Obtaining a judgement after a trial for a partner who was a shareholder in an automobile dealership business. Rob's client was awarded money damages as well as attorney's fees as an exception to the "American Rule," which generally does not allow successful plaintiffs to recover attorney's fees.
Obtaining a temporary restraining order and then an injunction after a three-week trial on behalf of oppressed doctors whose opponents attempted to lock them out of their membership and management interests in an Indiana physician-owned hospital that they founded.
Obtaining a court-ordered receivership of a profitable company in Colorado on behalf of an oppressed minority shareholder

Successful representation of clients facing other types of claims at trial and otherwise

Obtaining a not guilty judgment at trial for a client accused of misappropriating corporate assets.

Obtaining a not guilty arbitration award for a general partner to a large real estate venture as to a multi-million dollar claim brought by several well-known professional athletes, including several NBA All-Stars such as Michael Jordan.

Obtaining not guilty verdicts for a public transportation entity in a series of personal injury lawsuits; in one case, successfully won a counterclaim for the client.

Obtaining a dismissal upon summary judgment for a publicly-traded client defending a commercial eviction claim.

Obtaining a summary judgment in a $25 million claim filed against commercial lender, defeating the borrowers' lender-liability claims.

Winning on appeal for physician-clients in precedent setting non-compete case. See, Northwest Podiatry Center, Ltd. v. Ochwat, 2013 Il App (1st) 120458. In this case, the appeals court reversed a temporary restraining order against Rob's clients. On remand, the trial court awarded Rob's clients hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages and attorney's fees caused by the temporary restraining order.

Obtaining a multi-million dollar settlement for a publicly-traded food distributor in its claim against a publicly-traded restaurant chain for breach of a master distribution agreement.

Representing technology licensees in license agreement disputes, including those involving alleged royalties due the licensor.

Obtaining a favorable settlement for an internationally-known charitable organization where a decedent's heirs challenged his bequest to the charity.

Obtaining a settlement for a well-known charity in a large breach of contract case.

Representing a former NFL coach in a business matter.

Obtaining summary judgment for commercial tenant in a square footage dispute allowing for his client to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent overpayments and to save over a million dollars in future rent.

Winning a heavily contested plan confirmation trial for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy client/debtor.

Obtaining not guilty judgement at trial and prevailing on six-figure counterclaim in commercial lease dispute before the Circuit Court of Cook County's Chancery Division.