Robert A.H. Middleton

Robert enjoys disentangling complex environmental legal issues to find the best path forward for his clients.
Robert Middleton

Robert litigates high stakes commercial disputes. Whether working on behalf of multinational corporations or small community energy providers, Robert is devoted to helping his clients navigate environmental laws and regulations including RCRA, CERCLA, the Clean Water Act, and the Clean Air Act. Robert’s litigation experience involves defending clients in both state and federal enforcement actions, as well as actions from private individuals.

Having represented both plaintiffs and defendants in environmental citizen suits, Robert is skilled at the ins and outs of the unique challenges posed by those proceedings.

In transactional matters, Robert uses his environmental law expertise to counsel clients on matters involving environmental due diligence and risk management.

Robert also guides his clients on compliance with complex and ever-changing local, state, and federal regulations that impact day-to-day operations.  

To each matter, Robert brings his extensive experience, his dedication to attacking issues from every side, and his devotion to finding a beneficial outcome for his clients.

A fierce advocate for diversity in the legal profession, Robert is an outspoken advocate for marginalized groups. Robert is proud to serve as the co-chair of OutFox, ArentFox Schiff’s LGBTQ+ affinity group.

Client Work

  • While defending a client in an enforcement action, Robert successfully argued to limit the intervention of a community group that threatened to disrupt and derail settlement progress.
  • When the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit took on a case with potentially devastating repercussions for a client, Robert was part of the Schiff Hardin team that crafted an amicus brief for the court. The brief focused the court’s attention on the injustice underlying the appellees’ positions and the dire consequences of acquiescing to the appellees’ requests.
  • Robert represents clients in environmental citizen suits – actions brought by private citizens and organizations alleging violations of law – including ongoing litigation against a multinational organization to ensure investigation and, potentially, remediation of a future public park in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Robert is always ready to negotiate on behalf of his clients. Robert has extensive experience assisting clients in negotiating agreements to access private property to execute remedial efforts. These negotiations have included everything from simple access agreements to land purchases.
  • As part of a settlement negotiation, Robert assisted a county park in securing funding for a solar array to mitigate the park’s frequent power outages.
  • In his first year of practice, Robert secured a favorable jury verdict for his pro bono client in a landlord-tenant dispute. This bitter dispute afforded Robert the opportunity to single-chair a jury trial and develop invaluable experience in settlement negotiations, motion practice, oral arguments, and client counseling.
  • For more than a decade, Robert has represented clients with the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Center on Wrongful Convictions. Robert’s advocacy has taken him to state and federal court to argue on behalf of the wrongfully convicted. Robert has worked on cases involving eyewitness misidentifications and coerced confessions.

Boards, Memberships & Certifications

  • ACLU of Illinois, Next Generation Society Board Member (2015-present)
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Pathfinder (2020)

Professional Activities

  • Adjunct Professor, Trial Advocacy – Northwestern University (2021-present)

Publications, Presentations & Recognitions


  • "EPA Places Environmental Justice Front and Center," (co-author) American Bar Association Renewable, Alternative, and Distributed Energy Resources (Apr. 20, 2022)


  • Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, Best Lawyers (2022-2024)
  • Bar & Court Admissions
    • Illinois Bar
    • US Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
    • US Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
    • US District Court, District of Colorado
    • US District Court, Northern District of Illinois
    • US District Court, Northern District of Ohio
  • Education
    Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, JD, cum laude, Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy, Member Teaching Assistant, Property, 2014
    Washington University in St. Louis, BA, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 2010