Robert H. Duffy, Partner


As the legal industry moves toward increasing specialization, attorneys like Robert Duffy, who possess comprehensive knowledge and wide-ranging experience in their fields, are increasingly rare. Bob, who is also a member of the firm’s elected Executive Committee and the former chair of the Milwaukee office Labor & Employment Group, works comfortably and knowledgeably within the entire labor and employment space, so clients with virtually any need in those areas can depend on Bob to be of effective assistance. He works closely with employers to identify and pursue creative solutions to complex challenges, simplifying the matter in order to clarify the issues, plot practical steps forward, and solve problems.

Bob represents employers with all their human resource issues, with a special emphasis on providing front-end employment solutions and on defending employers from civil rights, wrongful discharge, retaliation, wage and hour whistle-blower, worker’s compensation, and union-related litigation. His experience includes counseling employers in potential discipline, reductions in force, employment policies and contracts, internal and external investigations, employee stock ownership plans, union elections and decertifications, and collective bargaining administration and negotiation matters. He represents clients before the Wisconsin Circuit, Appellate, and Supreme Courts as well as Wisconsin and other federal district courts, numerous federal appellate courts, the United States Supreme Court, and before the NLRB, EEOC, OSHA, DOL, WERC, DWD and arbitration panels throughout the country. Bob has successfully litigated countless individual and collective civil rights, wrongful or retaliatory discharge, breach of employment contract (discharge, discipline, contract interpretation, restrictive covenants), employment-related torts (defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, misrepresentation), wage and hour, and worker’s compensation (insured and uninsured) claims. Industries with which Bob regularly works include health care systems, financial institutions, manufacturers, and nonprofits.

As gratifying as being a highly respected counselor and litigator may be, there’s no greater satisfaction for Bob than simply being helpful and no greater happiness than seeing a satisfied client get on with day-to-day business, having left behind problems that Bob had the privilege of working alongside his client to solve. He works hard to understand his client’s industries and their unique challenges specifically with the intention to be helpful, calm rattled nerves, and reduce difficult problems to practical step-by-step plans that resolve them.

Legal Services

Education and Honors

  • Marquette University Law School (J.D., magna cum laude, 1984)
  • Marquette University (B.A., cum laude, 1981)
    • Alpha Sigma Nu

Bar Admissions

  • Wisconsin

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Professional and Civic Activities

  • American Bar Association (Member)
  • Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association (Member)
  • Milwaukee Bar Association (Member: Litigation and Labor Law Sections)
  • State Bar of Wisconsin (Member)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Internship)
  • Interfaith Older Adult Programs, Inc. (Board Member, 1998-2004, 2007-2013, Board President, 2004 and 2013, Human Resource Committee Chairperson, 2007 to present)
  • Marquette University High School Junior Hilltoppers (Board Member and Volunteer 2010-2013)
  • Milwaukee Archdiocese, Audit and Budget Committee (Member, 2010 to present), Development Council (Member, 2004–2008), Schools Commission (Member, 2006 to present)
  • Quarles & Brady LLP, Executive Committee (Member, 2013 to present), Milwaukee Office Labor and Employment Group (Coordinator, 2001–2007), Practical Guide to Employment Relations (Editor, 1998–2001 and Author, 1994 to present), Annual Labor and Employment Symposium (Moderator, 2001–2004 and Presenter, 1987 to present)
  • St. Sebastian Parish, Personnel Committee (Chairperson, 1995–2012), Building Committee (Chairperson, 1998-2002), Stained Glass Renovation Committee (Chairperson, 2007-2010)

Professional Recognition

  • Recognized as Best Lawyers in America® 2015 Milwaukee Litigation – Labor and Employment “Lawyer of the Year”
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® (Employment Law – Management; Labor Law – Management and Litigation; Labor & Employment) (1995-present)
  • Listed in Chambers USA® as a leading Wisconsin Labor and Employment Lawyer who is recognized as a "terrific litigator," a "brilliant, personable and proactive" lawyer who exercises "exceptional judgment" in serving his clients, "one of the finest counselors in the state," and someone whom clients "absolutely trust and rely [on]" (2003 to present)
  • Selected for inclusion in Wisconsin Super Lawyers® lists (Employment & Labor, 2005 to present)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated
  • BTI Consulting – Client Service All-Star, 2011