In Memoriam: Herbert B. Roberts '49, lawyer and philanthropist

Friday, June 20, 2003

The Chicago-Kent community was saddened to learn of the recent death of Herbert B. Roberts '49, a prominent patent attorney and the founder and namesake of an endowed scholarship that helps fund the legal education of Chicago-Kent students.

Mr. Roberts was a founding partner in the St. Louis patent law firm of Haverstock, Garrett & Roberts, where he worked until his death. Born near Decatur, Illinois, Mr. Roberts earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics and chemistry and worked as a chemist on the Manhattan Project before attending law school.

As a litigator, Mr. Roberts concentrated his work on patents involving chemistry. Because his firm represented several biotechnology companies, Mr. Roberts was especially interested in the evolution of intellectual property law in an increasingly global marketplace. In addition to practicing law for more than 50 years, Mr. Roberts authored more than 25 articles about the law for legal, scientific and general interest publications.

Interviewed for Chicago-Kent's alumnae/i magazine in 1999, Mr. Roberts noted the importance of legal scholarship to his work as a litigator. "In our profession, there is so much change going on in dealing with biotechnology and computers that we often refer to law review articles," he said.

He referenced the work of Chicago-Kent's Professor Lori Andrews as directly relevant to some aspects of his work. "I've quoted Professor Andrews about patenting transgenic animals," he said. "I've also used her work in my articles and to answer questions about the ethics of scientific research and patenting transgenic animals and plants."

In addition to funding a major scholarship at Chicago-Kent, Mr. Roberts was active in the Kiwanis Club and ran a large fund raiser for the club's Camp Wyman, which sponsors programs for low-income and developmentally disabled children in St. Louis.

Mr. Roberts was an outstanding attorney and a man of considerable character and optimism whose generosity to Chicago-Kent will help create bright futures for many young people who could not otherwise afford to go to law school. The Chicago-Kent community salutes Herb Roberts' 50 years of service to the legal profession. We extend our sympathy to his wife, Julia, to his daughters, Wendy and Judy, and to his three grandchildren.