Responsible for the largest personal injury verdict in Wyoming history, Bob Schuster secured $17.5 million in compensatory damages for a grieving family in a high-profile carbon-monoxide case. He also obtained Wyoming’s largest-ever wrongful death settlements in cases against Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., which were settled before trial for a confidential amount. By earning damages of more than $100 million for clients in New Mexico, Schuster won what is believed to be the largest personal injury settlement in the state’s history. He broke the same record in North Dakota by settling a personal injury case involving burn injuries from an explosion at a gas-processing plant.
A Wyoming Lawyer with Nationwide Cases
Though his law firm is located in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Bob Schuster has taken on clients’ cases in most other U.S. states. He is licensed to practice law in the state and federal courts of Wyoming, New York, and Utah, and is admitted to appear pro hac vice in the state and federal courts in the rest of the country. Schuster is also licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court.
Recognized for his commitment to the legal profession, Bob Schuster has been elected to be a member of the American Law Institute and as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He was inducted into The Order of the Coif by the faculty at the University of Wyoming College of Law. He is a member of the American Association for Justice, the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association, the American Bar Association, and the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Education and Early Career
Bob Schuster was born in St. Louis in 1945 and raised in Casper, Wyoming. A 1963 graduate of Natrona County High School in Casper, Schuster went on to Yale College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies in 1967. Schuster then received his Juris Doctorate degree in 1970 as valedictorian at the University of Wyoming College of Law. In 1971, he earned a master’s degree in law from Harvard Law School.
While a law student at the University of Wyoming, Schuster undertook a year-long study of damages awarded to private landowners when the government condemned land through eminent domain proceedings. He determined that the damage awards failed to adequately compensate the injured landowners for significant losses. The results of his research were published in two law review articles: “Eminent Domain: Determination of Compensable Interests through Classification of Executory Contracts,” 4 Land and Water Review 209 (1969) and “The Doctrine of Consequential Loss as Affected by Valuation Formulas,” 4 Land and Water Law Review 539 (1969).
After graduating from law school, Schuster was honored as an Urban Law Fellow by the Ford Foundation. The fellowship included summer study at New York University School of Law and the Bureau of the Budget for the City of New York in Manhattan. As a Ford Fellow at Harvard Law School, Schuster wrote a master’s thesis, “Discovery: A Study of Procedural Reform,” which analyzed the development of the pretrial discovery provisions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. While those rules were designed to bring greater fairness and efficiency to the pretrial stage of litigation, Schuster determined that they disproportionately benefited wealthier and more powerful litigants.
Bob Schuster returned to Wyoming following his legal studies and was admitted to the Wyoming Bar in 1971. He began his legal career in criminal law, serving as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Natrona County, Wyoming. Thereafter, Schuster opened his own office focused on oil and gas law and tax planning. In 1978, he and two friends, Gerry Spence and Ed Moriarity, started the trial lawyer firm of Spence, Moriarity & Schuster, which soon gained national prominence for its extraordinary success in complex civil and criminal cases. In 2002, after almost a quarter century as a founding and senior partner of Spence, Moriarity & Schuster, he established his own firm to fully devote his personal attention to each client.
Community and Political Involvement
Bob Schuster has been involved in Wyoming’s civic and community affairs for more than four decades. He was president of the Natrona County United Way in 1974 and served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Wyoming from 1985 to 1989. In addition to sitting on the Board of Visitors of the UW College of Arts and Sciences from 1991 to 2000, Schuster was the chair and secretary of the Rhodes Scholarship Wyoming Selection Committee from 1989 to 1998. He also formed the Wyoming Public Policy Forum, an economic development policy group, which issued its report, “For Wyoming’s Future: An Economic Development Plan for the People of Wyoming” in 1998. That same year, Schuster started the Wind River Reservation Economic Advisory Council.
Long active in the Democratic Party, Schuster was a political columnist for the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s statewide newspaper, from 1987 to 1994. He was the Democratic nominee for Wyoming’s sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994. From 1992 to 2000, Schuster was a member of the Democratic National Committee and served on the Executive Committee of the Wyoming Democratic Party.
Lawyer Information / Qualifications
Law Firm Affiliations:
Experience and Training:
Education: Civil and Criminal Trials Complex Commercial Litigation Intellectual Property White Collar Criminal Defense Business Crimes Personal Injury Natural Gas Pipeline Explosions Truck Collisions Airplane Crash Litigation Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Oil and Gas Royalty
Undergrad: University of Wyoming, J.D., with honors, 1970; Harvard University, LL.M., 1971