J. William Roberts is the Managing Partner of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP and maintains an active legal practice in the firm's Chicago and Springfield offices, concentrated in complex civil and criminal litigation, government relations and gaming law.
Mr. Roberts’ career has been dedicated to public service through several prominent positions in various levels of government.
Mr. Roberts served as Chief Legal Counsel to Illinois Governor Jim Edgar from 1995 to 1997. As the primary legal adviser for the governor, he managed a large portfolio of litigation, and acted as liaison with the general counsel of executive branch departments, boards and commissions. He also had responsibility for numerous Illinois regulatory agencies, including the Illinois Gaming Board, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Departments of Public Health and Professional Regulation.
Mr. Roberts served as United States Attorney for the Central District of Illinois from 1986 to 1993. During that time, he was director of the Banca Nazionale del lavoro (BNL) Task Force, a complex inter-agency investigation of criminal conduct related to $5.5 billion in loans made by the Atlanta branch of an Italian bank to Iraq before the 1991 Persian Gulf War. In 1992 Mr. Roberts also served as Chairman of the U.S. Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of United States Attorneys and as a Senior Advisor to the Attorney General in Washington D.C. Prior to becoming United States Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, he was State’s Attorney of Sangamon County.
Mr. Roberts’ professional activities are significant. He served for six years on the Board of Governors of the Illinois State Bar Association and as Chairman of the Criminal Justice Section Council of the Illinois Bar Association. Mr. Roberts served as President of the Illinois State’s Attorneys Association and was a member of the Board of Directors of the National District Attorneys Association. He held the position of President of the Sangamon County Bar Association.
Mr. Roberts has served as Chairman of the Task Force on Professional Practice in the Illinois Justice Systems. He is past Chancellor and a Founding Regent of the Illinois Academy of Lawyers. In addition, he is past President of the Lincoln Douglas Inn of Court.
He served as counsel to the Minority Caucus of the Special Investigative Committee of the Illinois House of Representatives, which returned an Article of Impeachment against then Governor, Rod Blagojevich, in January 2009.
In the fall of 2005, Mr. Roberts completed intensive training in mediation from the faculty of Pepperdine University School of Law’s top-ranked Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution.
Honors & Awards
- Selected for inclusion in the "The Best Lawyers in America®" in the area of Criminal Defense: White-Collar category, since 2006
- Selected to receive the Illinois State Bar Association’s Board of Governors Award for significant service to the legal profession and the public, June 2006
- In the 2010 edition of Leading Lawyers Magazine Business Edition, Mr. Roberts was selected for the third time as the number one business lawyer in downstate Illinois, and was included on the magazine’s lists of Top 100 Leading Downstate Business Lawyers in Illinois and Top 100 Leading Business Lawyers in Illinois in all areas of law
- Honored in 2007 and 2009, when he was named as one of the Top 100 Leading Lawyers in Illinois in all areas of law, and as the number one business lawyer in downstate Illinois
- Holds the AV® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethics and legal ability
- Recognized as a "Super Lawyer" by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine (2005)
- In the fall of 2005, Mr. Roberts completed intensive training in mediation from the faculty of Pepperdine University School of Law’s top-ranked Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution.
- Winner of the Justice Department's Edmund J. Randolph Award for Outstanding Service
- In May 2006 Mr. Roberts was elected to the Board of Trustees of Illinois Wesleyan University. In 2003, he was the recipient of the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award, which is presented annually to an alumnus who has made a distinguished contribution to society, has achieved professional distinction or has demonstrated civic leadership.
- August 17, 2015
- October 3, 2014
- August 19, 2014
- November 1, 2013
- Robert Wagner, Former General Counsel and Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Insurance, Joins the Insurance Services Practice of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLPJuly 18, 2012
- January 12, 2012
- January 1, 2012
- October 17, 2011
- April 7, 2015
Mr. Roberts is a life member of the International Chili Society.
- United Way of Springfield, Past President
- Memorial Medical Center Foundation, Board of Directors
- llinois Wesleyan University, Board of Trustees
J.D., Washington University School of Law, 1967
B.A., Illinois Wesleyan University, 1964
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit