Bob Craig – Berkeley Research Group
- Written by: Jason Pafundi
- Produced by: Victor Martins
- Est. reading time: 4 mins
Bob Craig has spent his career as a builder. But he has never wielded a hammer at work, driven a nail at the office or mixed cement.
“I build trust, relationships and partnerships,” Craig says.
That ability to build has served him well in his role as managing director and associate general counsel for Berkeley Research Group, LLC, a consulting firm that, as a significant part of its business, provides highly qualified consulting and testifying witnesses. Craig’s role in business development is to match high-powered attorneys with expert witnesses for use in complex litigation.
In its litigation practice, the company’s clients are typically large law firms, small boutique firms and the in-house legal departments of large companies. Simply put, Craig says he connects with clients, gains an understanding of their needs and then finds the BRG expert witness best suited for the case.
Having stopped practicing law after retiring from an in-house position, Craig stays involved with the American Bar Association, the International Association of Defense Counsel and other legal organizations. This allows him to stay connected to the litigators he serves, he says.
A relationship builder
After recently celebrating his 50-year law school reunion, Craig says he wants to ensure people in the business know he’s still available to help lawyers. A lot of his peers have retired—including lawyers that started their careers after Craig. But he’s happy to still be working in the legal profession.
“This job has kept me close to litigation without the headaches I had when I was a full-time litigator,” he says.
BRG was co-founded in 2010 by David Teece, an emeritus economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who is well-known in the legal industry as an academic and expert witness. But firms like BRG have been around for decades. In fact, Craig says he started running into litigation consulting firms from the time he started his in-house practice in 1981.
But it was a surprise when one of those companies approached him thinking he’d be good at this type of work. While Craig says he’s most likely to get contacted by attorneys he recently worked with on previous cases, there are some occasions where he’s contacted by someone from his distant past.
“A lawyer I worked with in the 1990s in Alabama called me in 2021 because they needed an expert,” Craig says. “We didn’t have any contact in the middle years, but he knew I was in this world and could provide what he needed.”
Craig says BRG is involved in some of the most complex and significant cases reported publicly. Whether that means a large anti-trust case using an expert economist or an intellectual property matter at the highest level, BRG’s primary clients are senior litigators handling complex matters.
“BRG has a marketable and highly qualified bench of experts, and there are many hundreds of people I’ve worked with that trust me to find their experts,” Craig notes.
Despite having a deep knowledge and understanding of what a client is looking for in an expert, the challenge is ensuring the attorney and expert mesh.
“That’s the pressure for me, but I’ve generally been able to match the right people,” he says.
For client lawyers, he says his first concern is not whether the expert has experience or knowledge, but the expert’s demeanor in the courtroom and professionalism. He says it’s a given that a candidate from BRG will have expertise. Craig says he spends his time working the phones and sending emails, maintaining existing relationships and trying to develop new ones. He used to travel often—sometimes he’d go to New York City and meet with more than 10 lawyers over a few days. The COVID-19 pandemic made travel less imperative, though the pace is still fast.
“I’m not taking my foot off the gas, because it always feels good when you get a call that an attorney needs me to find them an expert,” he says.
Like father, like son
Craig grew up in St. Louis and went to college during the Vietnam War era. He earned a journalism degree from Texas Christian University, where he also served in the ROTC. His father was a lawyer, and Craig says he was interested in the law and thought he had the right personality for it.
After earning his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law, Craig entered the Air Force and served in the JAG Corps for more than five years. He was a prosecutor at a training base in Texas and worked during the Ford Administration as a quality control officer for the Presidential Clemency Board.
For more than two years, Craig was an assistant professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and then was in private practice in South Texas. But that role didn’t suit him.
“I wasn’t comfortable working in a mid-sized town, but I didn’t consider moving in-house until I had the opportunity,” Craig says. “I had a case against Tenneco and knew a lot of people there. The idea appealed to me.”
Over his career in-house, which spanned almost 30 years, Craig worked on complex cases, including one of the most significant NAFTA arbitrations, large shareholders suits and industry-defining antitrust litigation. He worked in senior legal roles for companies including Tenneco Oil, First City Bancorporation, American General and Waste Management—he retired from Waste Management in 2008 and joined BRG in 2013.
“My job is to be a trusted advisor to lawyers who seek me out to find the experts to help them win their case,” Craig says. “I’m still working and still love what I do.”
View this feature in the Vanguard Spring II 2023 Edition here.
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