Notably, Michele Roberts is the first woman to head a major professional sports union in North America. In her role as Executive Director, Ms. Roberts serves as the primary advocate for all players, ensuring the protection of the organization and its membership, including serving as the lead negotiator in all collective bargaining activities. Prior to this selection, Ms. Roberts was a renowned trial lawyer and member of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s Litigation Group. Her practice focused on complex civil and white collar criminal litigation before state and federal courts and in administrative proceedings. Ms. Roberts has tried more than 100 cases to jury verdicts, representing clients in a wide variety of areas, including products liability, white collar, racketeering, securities regulation violations, Title VII issues and premises liability. She has been called the “finest pure trial lawyer in Washington, D.C.” by Washingtonian Magazine. Ms. Roberts is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Ms. Roberts also served for eight years in the office of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where she was named Chief of the Trial Division. She served as counsel in more than 40 jury trials.
Prominent Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree, Jr. commended Ms. Roberts’ courtroom presence, stating “she becomes the 13th juror, capable of seeing the case as the jury sees it, and therefore able to revise strategy, as necessary, mid-trial to address the jury’s concerns” (The Legal Times, March 2011).
Ms. Roberts repeatedly has been ranked in the top tier for Litigation: Trial Lawyers in both Chambers Global and Chambers USA. She was the recipient of the Business Trial Lawyer of the Year at the 2011 Chambers USA Awards of Excellence. Ms. Roberts also was named a finalist in the “Litigator of the Year” category at the inaugural Chambers USA Women in Law Awards 2012. She was named Best Lawyers’ “2015 Washington DC Criminal Defense: White-Collar Lawyer of the Year,” was named one of Benchmark Litigation’s “Top 250 Women in Litigation” in 2013, and was included in the list of “Top Guns” in the Ethisphere® Institute’s 2012 “Attorneys Who Matter” rankings. In addition, she has been included in The Best Lawyers in America, Who’s Who Legal – Business Crime Defense and Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America. When the Washington Business Journal was looking for innovative and inspiring leaders, they named her to their 2010 “Women Who Mean Business” list. In 2007, she was recognized as one of Washingtonian’s “Big Guns: Top 30 Lawyers in Washington, D.C.,” and since 2003, Washingtonian Magazine has named her to its top lawyer rankings, including 2009’s list of Washington’s “100 Most Powerful Women.” In 2006, The Legal Times also listed her among the top 10 white collar lawyers in Washington, D.C.
Ms. Roberts is a frequent lecturer and presenter to both the bench and bar on a variety of topics related to litigation and trial practice. She served as an adjunct member of the faculty at Harvard Law School, teaching a Trial Advocacy Workshop and was an instructor with the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.