University of Calgary, Bachelor of Laws

1983 - 1987

Undergrad studies at the University of Calgary and the University of Saskatchewan

Guest Lecturer – Corporate Governance

University of Calgary Third Year Law Program, Calgary, Alberta - 2013

Instructor - Advanced Advocacy   

Annual CBA Alberta Branch Law Conference, Calgary, Alberta – 2012

Instructor – Oral Advocacy

Calgary Centre for Professional Legal Education, Bar Course - 2008

Instructor – Oral Advocacy

Calgary Legal Education Society, Bar Course – 2005

Guest Lecturer – Defamation Issues

University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta – 2003

Instructor – Derivative and Oppression Remedies 

BJU (internal professional development) - 2002

Robert has acted as Principal for four articling students who are current members of the Law Society of Alberta.

Robert is also active outside of the practice of law and frequently volunteers his time within the legal community, having taught advocacy on behalf of the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education to articling students taking the Bar Course and judged numerous debates and moots at the U of C Law School. Robert also has a long history of involvement in politics, including serving on the Executive Committee of the PC Canada Fund prior to the Conservative Party merger and acting as the lead organizer on five Annual Calgary Leader's Dinners. Robert also headed numerous Leadership  Campaigns, including Chairing Alison Redford’s 2011 Provincial Leadership Campaign and the 2012 successful PC Provincial Election Campaign.

2014 - 2017, 2020 - 2023

Chambers Canada
Litigation: General Commercial (AB)
Band 4

2013 - 2023

Best Lawyers
Class Action Litigation

2013 - 2023

Best Lawyers
Corporate and Commercial Litigation

2013 - 2023

Best Lawyers
Defamation and Media Law

2013 - 2023

Best Lawyers
Directors and Officers Liability

2012 - 2024

Benchmark Litigation
Litigation Star


Best Lawyers
Lawyer of the Year, Calgary
Defamation & Media Law

2011 - 2024

Class Action Litigation
Consistently Recommended

2015 - 2024

Commercial Litigation
Repeatedly Recommended

Robert J. Hawkes KC

Robert J. Hawkes KC, has been lead counsel in complex class actions, defamation actions, corporate oppression actions, shareholder derivative actions and emergency injunction applications. He was recently chosen to emcee the 2023 Southern Alberta Judges Dinner, to honour the Judges and Justices of the Court of Appeal, Court of King’s Bench and Provincial Court who were appointed or elevated over the preceding 4 years.

Robert blogs about life, law, politics and other topics at: https://calgaryrob.wordpress.com/author/calgaryrob/

Corporate and Commercial Litigation Career

Robert practiced as an Associate and Partner at one of Canada’s leading firms from 1993 until 2005, gaining experience in virtually all areas of corporate & commercial litigation. In 2005, Robert joined JSS Barristers where he has continued his high-level practice in commercial litigation with a particular emphasis on commercial litigation, class actions, defamation and constitutional law. Robert has run appeals, trials, discipline hearings and other administrative law matters, including in corporate restructuring disputes, shareholder oppression matters, derivative and class actions.

Robert also has extensive experience in oil & gas litigation and arbitrations, contract breach cases, First Nations governance and he has represented clients in professional disciplinary matters before the Alberta Securities Commission, APEGGA, CREB and the Professional Conduct Committee of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. He acts for a range of clients, from large corporations, first nations and public institutions to individuals, small businesses and partnerships.

Awards and Recognitions

Robert has been continuously recognized for his legal abilities. He was recently named Lawyer of the Year (Calgary), Defamation & Media Law, by Best Lawyers. Chambers Canada has categorized him in Band 4 of Litigation: General Commercial (AB) from 2014 to 2017 and from 2020 to 2023. Since 2012, he has been named Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation, every year. Since 2013, he has been recognized every year by Best Lawyers in the following areas: Class Action Litigation, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, Defamation and Media Law, and Directors and Officers Liability. Additionally, Lexpert has named him Consistently Recommended in Class Action Litigation (2011-2024) and Repeatedly Recommended in Commercial Litigation (2015-2024).



From 1983 through 1987, Robert studied philosophy at the University of Calgary and the University of Saskatchewan. In 1987, he went to work for the Government of Canada in a variety of capacities, including senior policy advisor and political advisor to the Minister of Finance. Robert returned to Calgary and entered law school at the University of Calgary, where he obtained his LL.B. in 1993.

At law school, Robert excelled in the debating and moot court program, winning the Blackstone Team Debate, as well as the medal for the best Individual Debater in both first and second year. In his third year of law school, Robert was picked to join the U of C's Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Team, eventually placing as the 4th best individual oralist at the National Competition in Toronto. That same year he won the Neil V. Germaine Scholarship for academic merit and leadership ability, and he and his teammate won the law school's Client Interviewing and Counseling competition, ultimately representing the U of C in international competition.

Following law school, Robert was invited to article with the Alberta Court of Appeal. During his Court articles, Robert learned firsthand how judges assess the cases that come before them, which has proved invaluable in his practice.


Robert is married, with two sons, and he enjoys spending time with his family and on politics, stand-up comedy, travel, soccer, poker, chess and hiking.


"The Most Common Way People Give Up Power is by Thinking They Don't Have Any..."
JSSBarristers.ca, February 28, 2023
Co-author with Sarah Miller

Speaking Engagements

"After her toaster oven caught fire, Ontario woman was told by Whirlpool to take it up with a company in China", CBC, (https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/toaster-oven-fire-damage-whirlpool-1.5492611?fbclid=IwAR18RmnYZ2qUWQM90x4VSRwak8hsI5Cw2DVZ-kjHM6mTUXjog0Vd2vH3vig), May 28, 2020

Managing and Resolving Class Actions, JSS Client Breakfast Seminar, Calgary, Alberta – 2016

National class issues, Osgoode Professional Development, 8th National Symposium on Class Actions – 2011

Pension Litigation, The Canadian Institute Pension Conference, Calgary, Alberta – 2006 

Lunch Speaker
Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, regional conference on Fraud and emergent remedies, Calgary, Alberta – 2005

Fraud and Privacy issues, National KPMG Forensic Conference, Banff, Alberta – 2004 

Fraud and Small Business issues, Small Business Legal Issues Conference, Calgary, Alberta – 2004 

Directors’ and Officers' Liability, Independent Business Legal Issues Conference, Calgary, Alberta – 2002 & 2003

No Fault Benefits, The Canadian Institute Personal Injury Conference, Calgary, Alberta - 2002