Robert R. Duda JR.


  • DePaul University College of Law, J.D., 1999
  • University of Dayton, B.A., 1996

Practice Areas

  • Employment Litigation
  • Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition
  • Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Agreements
  • Employee Pirating and Tortious Interference
  • Employment Counseling
  • Internal Investigations


  • Illinois, 1999
  • U. S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U. S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois Trial Bar
  • Admitted as trial counsel for clients in Federal and State Courts throughout the U.S. on pro hac vice basis, i.e., California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Kansas.


  • Chicago Bar Association
    • Labor and Employment Law Committee
Download vCard

Robert R. Duda JR.

Robert R. Duda Jr. is a partner with Smith O’Callaghan & White. Mr. Duda holds the AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethics and legal ability. Mr. Duda was selected by his peers and recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyer in Labor and Employment Law each year from 2020 through 2024, and an Illinois Rising Star from 2011-2014, In addition, he was named to Lawyers of Distinction, Illinois, for Labor Law in 2018-2020,

Mr. Duda’s practice focuses on representing employers in federal and state courts in employment-related litigation arising under the employment discrimination laws, as well as trade secret litigation, breach of employment contracts, breach of fiduciary duty, enforcement of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, employment-related torts and misconduct, workplace defamation and unfair competition. Mr. Duda was involved in all phases of the litigation in a successful federal court trial to verdict, recovering a monetary judgment for a corporate client in the first employee pirating, breach of fiduciary duty and misappropriation of trade secrets case in the client’s industry.

He frequently provides counsel to employers to protect their interests through the use and enforcement of restrictive covenants and by responding to employee raiding and pirating attempts. Mr. Duda covers and frequently writes about legal developments in trade secret and non-compete law. He co-authored, “Protecting Your Company’s Interests From Actions of Departing Employees in the Absence of a Restrictive Covenant or Confidentiality Agreement,” which provides guidance to employers concerning specific steps that may be taken to protect trade secrets and confidential information and prevent unfair competition in the absence of pre-existing written agreements.

Mr. Duda also represents employers in defense of discrimination and harassment charges, as well as wage claims, in federal and state administrative agency proceedings in Illinois and Wisconsin, and has successfully obtained dismissal of charges alleging violations of the employment discrimination laws in discharge, failure to promote and retaliation claims.

Mr. Duda frequently counsels employers on compliance with employment discrimination laws, including Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA and the FMLA, as well as reductions-in-force and plant closings implicating the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act and the Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification Act. He also counsels employers on best practices for compliance with e-discovery rules and requirements. Mr. Duda played key roles in the successful resolution of federal court lawsuits alleging pattern and practice claims under the ADEA and the ADA in connection with a company-wide reduction-in-force and FMLA and retaliatory discharge claims.

Recognition & Awards

  • Selected by peers as Illinois Super Lawyer
    in Labor and Employment Law,
    Five consecutive years, 2020 – 2024
    Chicago magazine
    See All Awards

  • Selected by peers as Illinois Rising Star
    in Labor and Employment Law,
    Chicago magazine
  • AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell
    Highest rating for legal ability and ethics
  • Selected to Lawyers of Distinction, Illinois
    for Labor and Employment Law,
    2018-2020                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lawyers of Distinction Profile

Representative Experience

Successfully defended large transportation company and new employee in non-compete and trade secret misappropriation case and successfully defeated two separate TRO motions brought against company and employee.

Represented large international company in federal court action brought against competitor, who had hired large number of employees from client, in lawsuit for misappropriation of trade secrets, interference with customer relationships and employee poaching.

Represented Fortune 50 company in a trade secrets misappropriation, breach of fiduciary duty and systematic employee pirating case and obtained temporary injunction against competitor and departing employee group.

Obtained successful trial verdict with damages and injunctive relief on behalf of Fortune 500 company in the first employee pirating, breach of fiduciary duty and misappropriation of trade secrets case in the company’s industry.

Successfully defended company in New York federal court against departing employee’s complaint and emergency motion for declaratory judgment seeking to invalidate post-employment restrictive covenants and obtained consent judgment enforcing express terms of restrictions against departing employee.

Successfully prepared and implemented rollout of restrictive covenant agreements to large corporate client’s sales force nationwide and internationally.

Successfully defended senior executives and their new employers in threatened legal actions to enforce restrictive covenants resulting in avoidance of litigation and continued employment with new companies.

Represented large international distributer in defense of pattern and practice age discrimination claims emanating from nationwide reduction-in-force.

Represented employers in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies in employment discrimination, workplace harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination litigation.

Frequently investigated and counseled employers on handling departure of employees to competitors and resulting breaches of fiduciary duty, threatened misappropriation of trade secrets, interference with customer relationships and enforcement of restrictive covenants.

Represented company in trademark infringement and unfair competition action against departing employees who started competing business.

Investigated and defended employee whistleblowing complaints and claims of retaliation under the False Claims Act.

Defended large international company on sexual harassment claims in various federal and state courts around the country, including successful dismissal of claims.

Represented auto-dealership group in race, sexual harassment, national origin, disability and retaliation claims under Title VII, ADA and Illinois Human Rights Act in federal and state courts.

Represented Chicago restaurant group in manager’s breach of employment contract and workplace defamation action.

Conducted internal investigation on behalf of well-known charitable foundation and advised Board of Directors on complaints of harassment.

Represented and counseled senior management and executives in execution and enforcement of severance, executive compensation and partnership agreements.

Represented federal contractors in compliance audits conducted by the OFCCP and in preparation of affirmative action plans.

Publications and Presentations

2 Rulings Guide On Out-Of-State Worker Jurisdiction Issues,
Law360, November 4, 2020
Link to Law360, November 4, 2020, Article
PDF of Article

Speaker and Presenter
Select Counsel Webinar
“Non-Competes, Trade Secrets, Departing Employees and Raiding:
Key Tips for In-House Counsel to Protect Your Company’s Interests”
June 27, 2018
Link to Webinar

An Expansive View of Noncompetes at Wisconsin High Court,
Law360, February 1, 2018
Link to Law360, February 1, 2018, Article
PDF of Article

Using the Inevitable Disclosure Doctrine in Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) Cases, Employment Law360, July 14, 2017
Link to Employment Law360, July 14, 2017, Article
PDF of Article

Measuring Midstream Noncompetes In Midwestern Courts,
Employment Law360, June 11, 2015
Link to Employment Law360, June 11, 2015, Article
PDF of Article

Dim Future for Illinois Bright-Line Competition Restrictions,
Employment Law360, February 17, 2015
Link to Employment Law360, February 17, 2015, Article
PDF of Article

Judicial Estoppel: Key Defense In Discrimination Suits,
Employment Law360, September 12, 2008
Link to Employment Law360, September 12, 2008, Article
PDF of Article