Rob Skinner is a partner in Ropes & Gray’s securities litigation group, where he represents investment advisers and other financial services firms in securities litigation and other complex business disputes. A recognized industry leader in investment management litigation, Rob has been at the forefront of many of the key challenges facing the mutual fund and ETF industry in recent years, including excessive fee claims, prospectus liability, closed-end fund activism and ESG investing. He obtained a U.S. Supreme Court victory for a mutual fund adviser in Jones v. Harris Associates, the seminal decision establishing the liability standard for excessive fee claims under Section 36(b) of the 1940 Act. In addition to handling active litigation matters, he frequently advises investment managers and other clients in their dealings with state and federal regulators. Rob is a regular speaker and commentator on litigation and risk management issues facing asset managers. He also has substantial experience in litigating major insurance coverage disputes on behalf of insurers, including trial and appellate victories in the 9/11 World Trade Center coverage dispute.


  • Harris Associates: Obtained U.S. Supreme Court victory for mutual fund adviser in Jones v. Harris Associates, 559 U.S. – (2010), the seminal decision establishing the liability standard for excessive fee claims under Section 36(b) of the 1940 Act.
  • Ameriprise Financial: Argued and won Eighth Circuit victory in Gallus v. Ameriprise Financial, Inc. (2012), dismissing excessive fee claims and establishing unavailability of “defective process” claims under Jones v. Harris Associates
  • ProShares Funds: As lead counsel for the largest sponsor of leveraged and inverse exchange-traded funds (ETFs), argued and won SDNY and Second Circuit victories dismissing multiple class actions that alleged prospectus liability for inadequate risk disclosures. In re ProShares Trust (2nd Cir. 2013).
  • Sequoia Fund:  Won dismissal of derivative claims against all defendants asserted in connection with Fund’s allegedly over-concentrated investments in Valeant Pharmaceuticals.
  • Third Avenue Funds:  Defending the independent trustees and funds against securities class actions and derivative claims in multiple courts in connection with the closure of the Third Avenue Focused Credit Fund in 2015
  • Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London: Defending underwriters at Lloyd’s in multi-district litigation asserting antitrust and RICO class actions based on broker commission practices.  
  • State Street Global Advisors: Represented institutional investment manager in multiple federal actions relating to losses in subprime asset-backed securities in mutual funds and unregistered collective trust funds. Cases include ERISA class action and Yu v. State Street Corp. (S.D.N.Y. 2011), dismissing securities class action regarding mutual fund disclosures for lack of causation. 
  • GMO Funds: Represented emerging country debt fund sponsor in successful litigation to recover Venezuelan oil warrants following delivery failure by brokers.  
  • Allianz Funds: As lead counsel, won dismissal of derivative shareholder suit against mutual fund adviser and trustees alleging breach of fiduciary duty and securities law violations. 
  • Institutional Investor: Argued and won favorable decision in the Second Circuit enforcing arbitrability of a claim asserted by a major university endowment against a Russian oil and gas company that issued American Depositary Receipts. 

Areas of Practice