Law Offices, Robert E. Lehrer

Firm Background / Attorney Profile

Robert E. Lehrer

Robert E. Lehrer, a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School, both with honors, has more than 45 years of experience in the conduct of plaintiffs' civil rights litigation, as defined above, and in both individual and class action cases.

From 1973 to 1996, Mr. Lehrer was affiliated with what is now "LAF", the legal services office for all of Cook County, Illinois, including Chicago. At LAF, he was, successively, a staff attorney, supervisory attorney, and, from 1982-1996, the agency's deputy director and litigation director. As deputy director and litigation director, he supervised a staff of dozens of attorneys and was a principal counsel in dozens of major civil rights cases, covering areas as diverse as public benefits, such as Social Security and Medicaid, employment, children's rights, reproductive rights, public housing, and prisons and jails.

When Congress eviscerated the legal service programs in 1996, burdening it with restrictions on the type of work they could do, Mr. Lehrer formed a public interest law office, Lehrer & Redleaf, with an LAF colleague. The firm (1996-2005) specialized in plaintiffs' civil rights litigation. Among the many successful cases he, with co-counsel, litigated during this period were Dupuy v. McDonald, a federal court (Illinois) class action challenging the investigative and appeal hearing practices of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and People Who Care v. Rockford Bd. of Educ., a federal court (Illinois) school desegregation case.

Mr. Lehrer established his own law office in 2005. Among the major cases he, with co-counsel, has worked on since then are, in addition to the Dupuy case, Duran v. Dart, a long running Federal court (Illinois) class action involving conditions at the Cook County Jail, and Comas v. Schafer, a federal court (Missouri) class action under the Americans With Disabilities Act challenging the State of Missouri's delivery of mental health services to deaf persons throughout the state. Both Duran and Comas ended with the entry of settlement agreements that were very favorable to plaintiff case members.

In his law office practice, from 2005-2017, Mr. Lehrer concentrated his practice on the conduct of plaintiffs' civil rights litigation, as defined above, but took on other types of cases as well. Since 2017, however, he has restricted his practice to plaintiffs' civil rights litigation.

Click here for a list of representative published opinions in federal and state cases in which Mr. Lehrer has been a principal counsel.

Since 2004, Mr. Lehrer has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where he has taught Remedies.

Since 2018, Mr. Lehrer has been a board member of the Chicago Council of Lawyers, a public interest bar association (celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019) that undertakes a variety of initiatives directed at ameliorating unfairness in the justice system (criminal and civil), particularly unfairness affecting low income and minority communities.

Mr. Lehrer has also been a hearing officer for two Illinois state agencies ( Illinois Board of Education; Illinois State Toll Highway Authority) and one Missouri state agency (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education).

Mr. Lehrer is a member of the bars of Illinois, Missouri, the District of Columbia, Vermont, and Massachusetts (though his bar status is "active” only in Illinois, his status in the other jurisdictions being "inactive"). In Illinois, his practice, at the trial court level, is concentrated in the Cook County courts (for state court cases) and in the Northern District of Illinois (for federal court cases). Mr. Lehrer is also a member of many federal district court bars (including the trial bar of the Northern District of Illinois), the Courts of Appeals for the Third, Sixth, and Seventh Circuits, and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Lehrer has litigated several cases in the United States Supreme Court.