STATE BAR ADMISSIONS
New York, 1994
FEDERAL COURT ADMISSIONS
- Supreme Court of the United States
- U.S. District Court, District of Arizona
- U.S. District Court, SDNY
- U.S. District Court, EDNY
- U.S. Court of Appeals for Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for Fifth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit
EDUCATION AND ACADEMIC HONORS
University of Michigan Law School
J.D., cum laude, 1993
Editor-in-Chief, The Res Gestae
University of Wisconsin-Madison, College of Letters & Science Honors Program
B.A. with Honors, 1990
Trewartha Honors Thesis Award
Distinction in Political Science
Certificate in Integrated Liberal Studies
Phi Beta Kappa
Robert A. Mandel
Principal and co-founder
To describe Rob's legal career as an adventure would be an understatement. Designated a “lawyer’s lawyer” well before he could appreciate the significance of that moniker, Rob immersed himself from the outset in some of the most complex, high-stakes business disputes ever to hit the appellate and trial court dockets. And he has never looked back.
Groomed at two of New York City's most distinguished full-service commercial law firms before relocating to Phoenix in 2003, and thereafter elevated to equity shareholder at one of the largest firms on the planet before co-founding Mandel Young, Rob has devoted the past 26 years to the pursuit of victory for his clients, whether in the courtroom or at the settlement table. Those clients have included some of the largest companies and high net-worth individuals in Arizona, throughout the United States, and abroad.
Having earned the respect of peers and clients alike for his case assessment and advocacy skills, strategic acumen, work ethic, and dedication to meeting the highest standards of the profession, Rob has been selected to Super Lawyers Magazine's Southwest Super Lawyers® Lists every year since 2014 and to the Arizona's Finest Lawyers roster of sustaining members. Rob was recognized by his peers in Best Lawyers in America© in 2020 for his appellate practice. He has also enjoyed a Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ of AV Preeminent® (5.0 out of 5.0) in his field since 2007.*
Rob believes that appellate and trial court litigators can enhance their effectiveness only by wrapping their professional endeavors in a rich tapestry of personal relationships and intellectual, philanthropic, cultural, and spiritual pursuits. Mandel Young is the embodiment of that philosophy.
* AV Preeminent® and BV Distinguished® are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell Ratings fall into two categories - legal ability and general ethical standards.
Appellate Practice and Select Accomplishments
Rob has spent more than two decades tackling business, constitutional, and public law disputes in the appellate courts, including appeals of final judgments, preliminary injunctions, and other interlocutory decrees, petitions for writs of certiorari and mandamus, certified questions from the federal courts, appellate motion practice, and the representation of amici curiae.
He recently argued State v. Jones before Arizona Supreme Court, representing the petitioner and resulting in a landmark decision that Arizona law immunizes patients who use medical marijuana in the form of extracts and concentrates from criminal prosecution. In that case, the Court reversed an intermediate appellate court decision that would have sounded the death knell for Arizona's cannabis industry and vacated the convictions of a medical marijuana cardholder who was prosecuted for acquiring extract from a state-licensed dispensary.
Rob also undertakes engagements as "embedded" appellate counsel, working side-by-side with the trial team before, during, and after the trial to optimize their cases for trial or appeal. While the functions Rob serves will differ with each case, he often plays a significant role in assessing the case's strengths and weaknesses both legally and factually, formulating and refining the theme(s) of the case, composing pre-trial dispositive motions, crafting jury instructions and joint pretrial statements, presenting post-judgment motions, and handling a wide variety of other trial court level projects designed either to induce the other side to settle on favorable terms or otherwise to increase the probability of victory at trial and on appeal.
★ Secured Arizona Supreme Court victory for mortgage lender, loan servicer, and mortgage-backed securitization trustee in proceeding to resolve disputed questions of state law pertaining to non-judicial foreclosures/trustees’ sales, with hundreds of billions of dollars at stake for the lending industry. Crafted principal brief, coordinated amici curiae counsel, engaged in extensive motion practice and presented oral argument, all within seven weeks.
★ Persuaded Ninth Circuit to vacate natural gas company’s $60 million punitive damages award against former Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman, possibly the largest ever imposed against an individual in U.S. history at the time, as violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Convinced trial court to stay enforcement of judgment without a supersedeas bond during appeals.
★ Persuaded Ninth Circuit to vacate $4 million punitive damages award against former state official as violative of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and to determine constitutionally-permissible amount without remand.
★ Repelled Maricopa County Regional School District Superintendent’s petition for review and special action petition to Arizona Supreme Court, wherein superintendent sought to vacate trial court’s appointment of three-member panel to manage school district in the wake of her indictment.
Litigation Practice and Select Accomplishments
Rob has aggressively prosecuted and defended complex commercial lawsuits in the federal and state trial courts for more than two decades. His clients have included both public and private companies in myriad industries as well as high net-worth individuals. Many of the cases have been of the "bet the company" variety. He has litigated suits involving a wide array of claims sounding in contract and tort, including fraud (statutory and common law), negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, intentional interference with existing and prospective business relations, unfair competition, false advertising, trademark infringement, shareholder and corporate claims, conversion, misappropriation of trade secrets, and breach of private and public contracts, including restrictive covenants, unjust enrichment, fraudulent conveyance, and construction design defect.
Of course Rob knows that clients are rarely enthusiastic about litigation. So he places great emphasis on the deployment of forceful, dispositive pre-trial motions to bring the case to an end or narrow the claims if it cannot sooner be settled.
★ Co-chaired and prevailed in bet-the-company trial in federal court on behalf of multinational photo radar enforcement company after persuading district court to dismiss on summary judgment two-thirds of rival’s false advertising claims seeking tens of millions of dollars in purported damages.
★ Co-chaired and prevailed in three-week jury retrial of wrongful termination claim in federal court on behalf of electronics manufacturer after persuading Ninth Circuit to reverse seven-figure judgment in favor of former distributor based on trial court’s exclusion of evidence and other errors.
★ Instrumental in securing eight-figure damages settlement for general contractor after four years of litigation in Maricopa County Superior Court on construction design defect claims against Maricopa County arising out of public works project.
★ Extensive involvement in federal lawsuit in which the clients, a group of insurance companies, charged a prominent financial institution with assisting members of Enron’s management team in a scheme to induce the insurers to issue surety bonds worth approximately $1 billion by disguising loans as natural gas and crude oil transactions.
★ Extensive involvement in prosecution of three complex civil RICO actions on behalf of one of Japan's largest trading houses, charging several institutions with having aided and abetted its head copper trader in a $2.6 billion rogue trading scheme. Defended the same trading house against federal and state antitrust claims arising out of the same rogue trading debacle.
Areas of Special Interest
Rob advises clients on constitutional issues and other issues of public law, including the due process implications of excessive punitive damages awards, the doctrines of state and tribal sovereign immunity, separation of powers, dormant Commerce Clause disputes, federal court jurisdiction, federal preemption disputes, Arizona’s notice-of-claim statutes and public servant insurance statutes, Arizona’s procurement statutes, and the statutory regime governing sales and leases of state trust lands.
Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Member, National Appellate and Litigation Groups
Team Leader, Phoenix Appellate Team
- Business Litigator, Kronish Lieb Weiner & Hellman LLP (now Cooley Godward LLP)
- Business Litigator, Proskauer Rose LLP
Peer Reviews, Honors, Publications and Lectures
- Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent® Commercial Litigation and Appellate Practice (since 2007)
- Best Lawyers in America© - Appellate Practice (since 2020)
- Super Lawyers Magazine's Southwest Super Lawyers® Lists (since 2014)
- Arizona's Finest Lawyers (2014-present)
- Member, Law 360 2010 Appellate Practice Group of the Year
- Recommended, Practical Law Company Directory
- Author, Persuasion, Experience & The Context-Driven Brief, Attorney at Law Magazine (Greater Phoenix Edition), Target Market Media, 2014
- Author, On Appellate Practice: Deciding Whether to Bring a Petition for Review, Attorney at Law Magazine (Greater Phoenix Edition), Target Market Media, 2014
- Author, APPELLATE ENGAGEMENT: Why and When You Should Retain Appellate Counsel, Attorney at Law Magazine (Greater Phoenix Edition), Target Market Media, 2013
- Author, Amended ARCAP 7(a)(2) Affords Civil Litigants Greater Access to the Arizona Court of Appeals, Attorney at Law Magazine (Greater Phoenix Edition), Target Market Media, 2013
- Author, LEGAL MISCONCEPTIONS: An Appellate Lawyer’s Perspective on Conversion Under Rule 12 (b), Attorney at Law Magazine (Greater Phoenix Edition), Target Market Media, 2013
- Author, When is a Punitive Damages Award Too Big? A Five-Part Analytical Framework for Appeals and Post- Judgment Motions, Attorney at Law Magazine (Greater Phoenix Edition), Target Market Media, 2013
- Author, Beware the Law of the Case, Attorney at Law Magazine (Greater Phoenix Edition), Target Market Media, 2012
- CLE Faculty, Cannabis Law Update 2019, State Bar of Arizona Annual Convention, June 26, 2019
- CLE Faculty, Breaking Down the Case for Extracts, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law (ASU), May 17, 2019
- CLE Faculty, Cannabis Law Update 2018, State Bar of Arizona Annual Convention, June 27, 2018
- CLE Faculty, Enhancing Punitive Damages and Judgments to Their Constitutional Limits, State Bar of Arizona (SBA), Dec. 6, 2017
- CLE Faculty, Appellate Process and Legal Developments, 2017 Arizona City Attorneys Association Annual (ACCA) Summer Conference, June 2, 2017
- CLE Faculty, "Excessive Punitive Damages after Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker: A Perspective on the U.S. Supreme Court's Evolving Punitive Damages Jurisprudence," Arizona Federal District Court Conference, Tucson, AZ, March 6, 2009
- CLE Faculty, "Excellence in Legal Writing," Larry J. Hoffman Professionalism Center, 2004
- CLE Faculty, GT National Appellate Practice Group Training Program, 2008
- CLE Faculty, Basic Trial Skills Series, "Motions for Judgment and Closing Arguments," State Bar of Arizona, 2008
- CLE Faculty, "Punitive Damages: Lawyer Perspectives on the U.S. Supreme Courts Evolving Jurisprudence Regarding Excessive Damages," State Bar of Arizona, 2008