Season 1 – Episode 04 ·

Taking on Goliath with Bob Kelley

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Attorney Robert Kelley has made a career out of trying high profile cases against some of the largest and most powerful corporations in America. Join us as we learn how Bob first developed his unique style and voice as a trial lawyer and achieved incredible success, including a landmark case against General Motors which uncovered decades of coverup and fraud by the company and its lawyers, was featured on 60 Minutes and forms the subject of Bob's new book, The Memorandum.

What you will learn from this episode.

Bob talks about the importance of the trial culture in Southern Florida during his time as a young lawyer. After working a brief time as an insurance defense lawyer, Bob met the famous trial lawyer Sheldon Schlesinger and went to work at Shelly's firm. There, Bob observed Shelly's unmatched trial skills and unique domineering style. Bob talks about how he had the opportunity early in his career to try a  lot of jury trials and to develop his own unique style which relied more upon developing a human connection with the jury.  Bob explains the importance of presenting the case in a way that keeps the jurors entertained and avoids boredom.

At age forty-nine, after much success as a trial lawyer, Bob decided to leave the Schlesinger firm and to start a new law firm with attorney John Uustal. Bob talks about the challenges of starting his own firm and offers his advice to lawyers seeking to do the same. 

Bob discusses how he structured his law practice to enable him to take on expensive and lengthy cases against major corporations, like tobacco and auto manufacturers.  He talks about his approach to jury selection and techniques to ensure that he has a fair jury that will give him a chance to win his case.

The Memorandum

Bob's new book, The Memorandum: A True Story of Justice Forged from Fire tells the story of a case Bob litigated for a decade arising out of a post-collision fuel-fed fire in an GM Oldsmobile station wagon. The story centers on the lengths taken by GM to coverup and hide key documents, and how Bob was able to locate the documents and witnesses he needed to show that GM was culpable for the harm to his clients. Bob explains why he wanted to write this book and gives us a behind-the-scenes look into the epic battle he fought--and won--on behalf of his clients. He talks about how the documents he obtained in his case led to billions of dollars in additional verdicts against GM following his trial.

Robert Kelley

Photo of Robert Kelley

Robert W. Kelley is an award-winning American trial lawyer, author and co-founder of one of Florida’s premier catastrophic injury and wrongful death law firms. His professional life and passion are focused on high stakes difficult trials where he battles for justice on behalf of people seriously injured by the negligence or misconduct of people and corporations.

Bob rose to national prominence with a string of high profile eight and nine figure jury verdicts for families facing malevolent and uncaring companies concealing their executives’ outrageous misconduct. From his $60 million jury verdict against GM for knowingly allowing a defectively designed product to kill to his precedent setting $300 million tobacco verdict on behalf of one smoker – Bob’s theme of Justice for All shows through as he holds corporations accountable on behalf of individual victims.

Born and raised in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Bob is the son of a preacher and prominent civic leader, who instilled in him the “service for the greater good” mentality evident in his law practice, environmental and philanthropic activities.

A noted master at connecting with juries, Bob Kelley is a well-known blogger on the topic. His Jury Selection Blog is followed by lawyers, students, jurists, journalists and other interested readers across the United States. Separately he blogs on legal topics of general interest including medical malpractice, defective product laws and litigation, and other subjects related to personal injury and wrongful death.

Bob is the founder and current chairman of the DiveBar, a non-profit bar association with attorney and jurist members focused on education and raising awareness of threats to coral reefs and the marine ecosphere through SCUBA diving activities, philanthropy and active learning.

Robert W. Kelley is a frequent expert legal commentator for national news outlets (60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper…), a highly rated speaker (including a recent national Mensa keynote), and author of the #1 bestseller, The Memorandum (Sutton Hart 2019).

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