Robert Bruce McLean


Robert Bruce McLean



Born in New York City, Robert Bruce McLean graduated from Garden City High School (1964) in Garden City, New York. He then enrolled at Indiana University, where he received his B.S in Business Economics and Public Policy in 1968. McLean then enrolled at the IU School of Law and received his JD degree, Order of the Coif, in 1971.

McLean’s legal career began as lawyer with the Appellate Court Branch of the National Labor Relations Board. While at the Board (1971-73), he argued more than thirty cases in the federal circuit courts and was responsible for several landmark cases involving the availability of injunctive relief from government action. In 1973, McLean joined the staff at Akin Gump Hauer & Feld as a litigation counsel. He spent more than twenty years with Akin Gump, becoming a managing partner in 1979, In 1982 he became chair of the firm’s Washington litigation practice division. During his leadership the practice grew from eight to more than sixty full-time litigators and 170 lawyers in Washington. By the time he retired in 2016 as the firm’s chairman, the firm had grown to be one of the largest in the country employing more than 800 attorneys across the country.

Over his career, McLean has handled some of the largest cases ever litigated between American business and the federal government. He was lead counsel for one of the world’s largest petroleum companies in an action that overturned the $100 million conclusion of the Crude Oil Entitlements Program. He also served as lead counsel and negotiator for the United States refining industry in In Re Department of Energy Stripper Well Litigation, which concluded with a multibillion dollar settlement among the US government, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and seven classes of petroleum product users.

Upon retiring, McLean became a Consultant for the Zeughauser Group and remains active in community and professional service initiatives. He has been a member of the law school’s Board of Visitors for more than 20 years, has served on the executive committee of the Federal City Council, and serves on the Corporate Board of the Kennedy Center. R. Bruce McLean was inducted into the Indiana University School of Law Academy of Law Alumni Fellows in 2013.


Maurer Alumni, Academy of Law Alumni Fellows, Akin Gump


Law | Legal Biography | Legal Profession | Litigation



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Robert Bruce McLean