Robert D. Swanson

Robert D. Swanson


Robert Swanson is President and Chairman of the Board for Boutin Jones Inc., Sacramento’s second largest law firm. As President and Chairman of the Board, Bob leads the business development, business and management efforts of the 50-lawyer firm in California’s capital. Over almost 30 years of practice, Bob has handled cases in industries that run the gamut from banking, real estate, food, and franchising to healthcare, biotechnology, agriculture, and semiconductors. His commercial litigation experience includes litigation involving antitrust and unfair competition claims, real property claims, False Claims Act claims, intellectual property claims, director and officer liability claims, shareholder disputes (including shareholder derivative claims), franchisor/franchisee disputes, partnership disputes, and class action defense of claims concerning among other things, food labeling and financial institution customer disclosures.

I tell new lawyers, ‘Make sure the work you are doing is about the client and never about you.’ Too much litigation becomes about the lawyers and how they feel in the heat of battle; the client and its interest get lost.  Professionalism and exceptional litigation skills are not mutually exclusive.

Litigation has gotten expensive, and it takes a long time for a case to go to trial. I’m not afraid to work with my clients to figure out ways to resolve cases without going to trial.

“I am a trial lawyer who handles a variety of commercial disputes. I have handled large cases in industries that run the gamut from real estate, commodities and banking to healthcare, biotechnology and semiconductors.”

I make sure to pay attention to the big picture of a case. I run into many lawyers who focus on day-to-day skirmishes of a dispute and completely forget about the strategy that moves a case forward and ultimately results in resolution.


Class Action Defense

  • Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel for a meat producer that was sued for allegedly mislabeling its meat products. The plaintiffs claimed the meat products at issue were falsely labeled as certified Halal, asserting that the method of slaughter employed by the meat producer did not comply with the plaintiffs’ beliefs about the requirements of Islamic law. Represented jointly by attorneys from three law firms, the plaintiffs sought to represent a proposed class of over ten thousand consumers. The firm succeeded in obtaining summary judgment on the plaintiffs’ claims based on federal preemption under the Meat Inspection Act. Shareholders Bob Swanson and Michael Chase were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Civil, Commercial and Business Litigation

  • Defended an international semiconductor consortium in federal court involving claims for alleged attempted monopolization under Section 2 of the Sherman Act and unfair competition under California’s unfair competition law. Case favorably resolved for client on eve of trial.
  • Successfully defended healthcare system against state law antitrust (Cartwright Act) and related competition claims, prevailing on summary judgment on all claims.
  • Served as special litigation counsel to trustee in one of the largest Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases ever filed in the Eastern District of California Bankruptcy Court.
  • Achieved judgment as lead trial counsel in favor of board members of a nonprofit after three-day trial seeking access to information controlled by the corporation.
  • Represented a biotechnology company in trade secret litigation against former senior level employee.  Case favorably resolved for client on eve of trial.
  • Achieved judgment for directors and members of nonprofit religious organization after four day bench trial seeking relief under Corporations Code section 9414(a). Following trial, the Court entered judgment ordering a Special Meeting of the Members, waiving quorum requirements for the Special Meeting.
  • Represented over 7,000 investors nationwide in successful multi-action securities fraud litigation.
  • Represented confectionary company in Proposition 65 litigation.  Favorably resolved for client prior to engaging in extensive discovery.
  • Defended commodity company in federal action in Southern District of New York against Third Party Claims, including international depositions in Amman, Jordan.  Favorably resolved for client prior to trial.
  • Defended franchisor against claims asserted by largest franchisee in two actions in federal court in Dallas, Texas.  Favorably resolved for client through early mediation prior to engaging in extensive discovery.

Director and Officer Liability Litigation

  • Lead the defense of eleven former officers and employees of a software start-up against $250 million damage claims for alleged breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and misappropriation of trade secrets. Case settled during jury selection for one percent of amount sought at trial.

Employment Litigation

  • Achieved complete defense for regional employee leasing company as lead trial counsel in two-week wrongful termination/whistleblower trial.


  • Defended publicly traded national healthcare corporation against Qui Tam complaint in federal district court. Case settled following completion of non-expert discovery.
  • Boutin Jones Inc. served as counsel for a medical group in a dispute with a capitated health plan over the method of computing the capitated payments owed to the group under the parties’ agreement. The dispute arose after the passage of the federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 and the subsequent publication by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of Outpatient Prospective Payment System Relative Value Units (OPPS RVUs). The firm achieved a favorable settlement during the arbitration hearing which resulted in higher compensation to the group on a going-forward basis. Shareholders Michael Chase and Bob Swanson were the primary Boutin Jones attorneys on this matter.

Real Estate Litigation

  • Defended Canadian majority owners of a real estate partnership against claims made by minority owners over development of a Sacramento residential real estate development project. Case favorable settled on eve of arbitration hearing.
  • Achieved a defense verdict as lead trial counsel in a four week jury trial, defending sellers of an $18 million apartment complex.
  • Represented commercial property owners against claims brought by Redevelopment Agency concerning development of the K Street Mall in downtown Sacramento, achieving favorable settlement for property owners in excess of $18 million.
  • Achieved judgment for defense as lead trial counsel in three-week multimillion dollar real estate trial for privately held national shopping center developer and owner against fraud claims related to commercial lease; and achieved judgment in favor of our client on its cross-claims for breach of the lease in excess of $4 million.



  • Lecturer for the State Bar’s Continuing Education of the Bar program for attorneys, “Recent Developments in Real Property Law.”


  • Sacramento Magazine Top Lawyer, 2017 – 2021
  • Sacramento Business Journal Best of the Bar, 2016 – 2017, 2019
  • B.S., cum laude

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Litigation and Antitrust sections of the American Bar Association
  • Litigation and Unfair Competition Sections of the State Bar of California


  • Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors, Executive Committee
  • YMCA of Greater Sacramento, Former Board Member
  • Elk Grove Rotary, Former Board Member
  • Mission Aviation Fellowship, international relief organization, Board of Directors and Chair