"Robert Helman continues to attract accolades as 'hugely prominent - he has always been a business generator and is extremely well respected in the legal and business community.'"
Chambers USA


Robert Helman has practiced law for more than 50 years and has been a partner in Mayer Brown for more than 40 years.  He served as Chairman of the firm’s Management Committee from 1984 to 1998.

Bob’s present practice is primarily in the fields of corporate governance and the legal aspects of strategic corporate issues and transactions.  Chambers USA has observed that he "continues to attract accolades as 'hugely prominent - he has always been a business generator and is extremely well respected in the legal and business community.'"   He has served as a director of seven publicly owned companies, including Northern Trust Corporation (1986-2006). 

Reflecting his high professional standing, in 2013 Bob was named a "Legal Legend" by the Chicago lawyers chapter of the American Constitution Society. He has previously received the Justice John Paul Stevens Award of the Chicago Bar Association (2001) and the Learned Hand Human Relations Award of the American Jewish Committee (1989).  In his honor, the firm has established the Mayer Brown/Robert A. Helman Professorship at Northwestern University School of Law.  Since 2005 Bob has been a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, where he teaches a seminar on developing law practice skills through the study of national security issues.  He has also been a member or trustee of numerous civic and professional organizations, including ones of such national prominence as the Brookings Institution, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Aspen Institute, the American Law Institute and the University of Chicago Hospitals.

Bob helped organize, and served as president of, the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago. He also served as chairman of the Citizens Committee on the Juvenile Court of Cook County (Illinois) and as chief negotiator (on a pro bono basis) for the City of Chicago on the renewal of the Commonwealth Edison Company electricity franchise. He is the author of numerous articles in legal and trade publications on corporate and public utility matters.

Spoken Languages

  • English


Northwestern University School of Law, LLB
Order of the Coif
Associate Editor, Northwestern University Law Review

Northwestern University, BSL

University of Illinois


  • Illinois


  • US Supreme Court


  • The Brookings Institution, Emeritus Trustee
  • Council on Foreign Relations, Member
  • Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, 1990-1998
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Trustee, 1997-2003
  • Aspen Institute, Trustee, 1986-1992
  • Citizens Committee on the Juvenile Court of Cook County, Chairman, 1968-1983
  • Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, Director, 1991-1992
  • Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, President, 1973-1975
  • Northwestern University Law School Visiting Committee, Chairman, 1989-1992
  • University of Chicago Law School, Visiting Committee, 1996-2002
  • United Charities of Chicago, Director, 1967-1972
  • University of Chicago Hospitals, Trustee, 1982-1988
  • American Bar Association (Chairman, Section of Public Utility Law, 1983-1984)
  • American Law Institute
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Chicago Council of Lawyers
  • Member of the Board of Directors of Northern Trust Corporation and The Northern Trust Company, 1986-2006; TC PipeLines GP, Inc., 1999-2004; InfraSource Corp., 2003; Chicago Stock Exchange, 1993-2000; Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, Inc., 1998-2003; Zenith Electronics Corporation, 1995-1999; The Horsham Corporation, 1990-1996; Alberta Natural Gas Company, 1993-1996; Southern Pacific Transportation Co., 1987-1988