Robert P. Baker (“Bob”) is the son of Italian-American parents (Baker is his step-father’s name). He was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Bob was the first person in his extended family to graduate college, obtaining an A.B. from Boston College in political science and speech/communications in 1972.
While at BC, Bob was the president of the Fulton Debate Society. He represented BC throughout the United States in regional and nationwide intercollegiate debate tournaments, winning many individual and team awards. He qualified twice for the national championship tournament, representing the New York/New England region. Bob also was awarded the Fulton Medal twice as the best upper-class debater at BC, and won the Gargan award once as BC’s best under-class debater. Bob’s high school record in debate at Fairfield Prep his senior year was by any measure the best year any Connecticut high school debater had ever posted to that date.
Bob’s extensive involvement in debate left no time for organized team athletics, but Bob was an accomplished boxer, fighting three rounds against “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler who held the world middleweight championship for 9 consecutive years, in November 1975. In April 1975, Bob ran the Boston Marathon.
Immediately after college, Bob attended Harvard Law School, graduating with a J.D. in 1975. While at Harvard, he participated in the Ames Moot Court competition, a 2 year process involving much of his class, losing in the final round.
Bob began his practice in Boston, as a litigation associate with Withington, Cross, Park & Groden, which successfully petitioned the Supreme Judicial Court to reinstate Alger Hiss to the Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Mr. Hiss was the first attorney ever reinstated without expressing remorse, as he continued to maintain his innocence until his death.
In 1977, Bob relocated to Los Angeles and was employed as a litigation associate with Loeb and Loeb until 1982. While at Loeb, Bob worked on two high profile pro bono cases: Coalition Against Police Abuse v. Board of Police Commissioners (the “police spying” cases) and Wilkinson v. FBI (a challenge to the FBI’s COINTELPRO operation against the National Committee To Abolish HUAC).
In 1982, Bob left Loeb to join the firm that was known as Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro for many years and is now Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Mitchell. Bob was a litigation partner there from January 1, 1983 until he left in 1989 to found Baker and Jacobson.
Bob was the founding and managing partner of Baker and Jacobson for 13 years until he re-joined Jeffer, Mangels for 3 1/2 more years, leaving in June 2005 to found The Law Offices of Robert P. Baker.
Bob has been acknowledged by his peers, the Bar, publishers and his clients as one of the pre-eminent trial lawyers in California. Bob is:
- AV Rated for 25 consecutive years by Martindale Hubbell. This combination rating is the highest rating available for both competence and integrity,
- A repeat choice as TOP LAWYER IN CALIFORNIA by LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE,
- A 7 time nominee as SUPERLAWYER by LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE,
- A published author on a variety of legal matters.
Bob is experienced in trying cases before juries, judges, sole arbitrators and panels. He has participated in administrative hearings of many kinds. He has handled California state court appeals as well as federal appeals up to and including the United States Supreme Court. While Bob has tried dozens of cases, the recent explosion of arbitration clauses has meant that the bulk of his trial practice over the past 10 years has been in the arbitral forum. Bob has a great deal of experience in litigating the foundation issue of whether cases must be arbitrated.
Recently, Bob has appeared pro hac vice in New York, Illinois and Washington State, representing clients who wished to utilize his unique talents in those far-flung fora.
Among Bob’s publications are the following:
- The Unintended Consequence of the Miller Ayala Athlete Agents Act: Depriving Student Athletes of Effective Legal Representation. UCLA ENTERTAINMENT LAW REVIEW (Spring 2005).
- After-Acquired Evidence in California: A Doctrine in Search of Principles. LOS ANGELES COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION LITIGATION SECTION NEWSLETTER (Fall 1995).
- Duties Among Construction Industry Professionals Lacking Privity: The Straw House that Biankanja Built. LOS ANGELES COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION LITIGATION SECTION NEWSLETTER (Spring 1996).
- It is Time to Amend the Miller-Ayala Act. LOS ANGELES LAWYER (Fall 2005).
It has been a long journey from the blue-collar, Italian Eastside of Bridgeport, Connecticut through Harvard Law School, to the western edge of the United States, where Bob now practices at 401 Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica, CA. Bob’s success has come from a willingness to embrace change together with belief in certain principles that do not change: the rule of law, the entitlement of every human being to basic rights, the equality of every person before the law, hard work and courage as well as persistence in the face of adversity.