Robert L. Lieff
Founder & Former Partner

Richard M. Heimann

Robert L. Lieff founded our firm in 1972, after litigating for seven years as a name partner with the late Melvin Belli in San Francisco at the law firm of Belli, Ashe, Ellison, Choulos & Lieff.

For more than three decades, through 2006, as the firm’s founder and managing partner, Mr. Lieff was the principal architect of Lieff Cabraser. Under his leadership, the firm became, as described by The American Lawyer, “one of the nation’s premier plaintiffs firms.”

Mr. Lieff was a key player in multiple landmark civil cases including the Exxon Valdez oil disaster and the Holocaust litigation. In 1996, in the national tobacco industry litigation, Mr. Lieff spearheaded the first settlement with a tobacco company. The settlement signaled the end of forty years of success by tobacco companies in defeating health-related lawsuits. Two years later, an unprecedented $206 billion settlement was announced between the tobacco industry and the states’ attorneys general.

In the early 2000s, Mr. Lieff created an international network of lawyers that meets annually at the Global Justice Forum. The first forum occurred in London in 2005. Subsequent forums have taken place in Paris, Rome, and New York. More than 300 lawyers from 30 countries on six continents have attended the Global Justice Forum.

Through a gift of all the attorneys’ fees from the firm’s Holocaust litigation, the firm, under Mr. Lieff’s leadership, endowed the Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein Clinical Professorship of Human Rights Law at Mr. Lieff’s alma mater, Columbia Law School. Mr. Lieff endowed a second chair at Columbia Law School as The Robert L. Lieff Professorship of Law: Director of the Center for Chinese Legal Studies. Mr. Lieff is also a member of the Dean’s Council at Columbia Law School. Mr. Lieff is a member of the Board of Directors of the Bellosguardo Foundation in Santa Barbara, California.

Although Mr. Lieff is no longer affiliated with Lieff Cabraser as a practitioner, he continues to practice law under his own name and can be reached via telephone at (415) 250-4800; by email at; or by mail at P.O. Drawer A, Rutherford, CA 94573.