Robert J. Spagnoletti

Robert J. Spagnoletti

(202) 628-4199

Georgetown University Law
Lafayette College

Bar Admissions:
District of Columbia
New Jersey
New York

Professional Memberships:
American Bar Association
Women’s Bar Association
Assistant United States Attorney

Robert J. Spagnoletti is a partner at the law firm of Schertler & Onorato, L.L.P. where his practice focuses on criminal, civil, and administrative litigation. Mr. Spagnoletti represents companies and individuals in connection with local, federal, and internal investigations.


An experienced trial lawyer, Mr. Spagnoletti appears in federal courts throughout the United States as well as the local courts of the District of Columbia. He has successfully represented clients charged with a wide variety of criminal offenses, including fraud, conspiracy, false statements, obstruction of justice, sexual abuse, assault, and driving under the influence and related traffic offenses. Mr. Spagnoletti’s civil cases include contract disputes, claims of wrongful death, health care fraud, and actions involving the District of Columbia government. He has significant experience with government and legal ethics and represents attorneys, judicial officers, and public officials charged with misconduct.


Among his recent matters, Mr. Spagnoletti:


  • Testified in the Southwark Crown Court in London, England as an expert on American legal ethics.
  • Led an internal investigation on behalf of a venture capital company into allegations that a member of the Board of Directors committed misconduct.
  • Investigated allegations of Medicaid fraud concerning a District of Columbia health care provider and negotiated a corporate compliance agreement with the District of Columbia government behalf of the company.
  • Successfully defended an individual charged with obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence in a high–profile prosecution and trial arising from an unsolved District of Columbia homicide.
  • Defended clients who were the subject of SEC and Department of Justice Antitrust Division investigations.
  • Represented government employees who were witnesses and targets in investigations conducted by Offices of the Inspector General and in related administrative proceedings.
  • Conducted internal corporate investigations into allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination, government contracting fraud, and whistleblower retaliation.
  • Negotiated dismissals and favorable dispositions of criminal cases for clients charged with domestic violence, alcohol, and traffic–related offenses.
  • Obtained orders sealing the arrest records of dozens of clients under the recently–enacted District of Columbia Criminal Records Sealing Act.
  • Represented individuals charged with professional misconduct including judicial officers, attorneys, and health care professionals
  • Enforced a subpoena duces tecum issued by the District of Columbia Auditor against the executive branch of the District of Columbia government
  • Assisted witnesses called to testify before the Council of the District of Columbia and other District of Columbia agencies


Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Spagnoletti served as the first Attorney General for the District of Columbia. As Attorney General, he represented the District of Columbia in all of its diverse legal matters, settled numerous high–profile cases, and authored several opinions on unsettled areas of the law. Mr. Spagnoletti was a member of the National Association of Attorneys General where he served on the Executive Committee, working with the state Attorneys General on criminal investigations, consumer protection cases, issues affecting public safety, and multistate litigation including the tobacco settlement.


Before his appointment as Attorney General, Mr. Spagnoletti served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia from 1990 to 2003 where he was chief of the Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section, prosecuting adult criminal cases involving sexual abuse of adults and children, intrafamily offenses, and child maltreatment. Mr. Spagnoletti investigated and prosecuted a wide variety of criminal cases and was lead counsel on nearly 100 jury trials.


In 2008–09, Mr. Spagnoletti served as the 37th President of the District of Columbia Bar. With more than 90,000 members, the D.C. Bar is the second largest mandatory bar association in the country and boasts some of the nation’s greatest lawyers. As President, Mr. Spagnoletti was responsible for chairing the Board of Governors, served on numerous committees, developed the Bar’s first–ever strategic plan, and led the Bar’s move to new office space. He continues to be very active in the Bar serving on the Leadership Development Committee.


Mr. Spagnoletti also serves on the District of Columbia Federal Law Enforcement Nominations Commission which screens and recommends candidates for presidential appointments including United States District Court judges and United States Marshals for the District of Columbia.


Mr. Spagnoletti served as an adjunct professor of law, teaching trial practice at Georgetown University Law Center from 1998 through 2003. He continues to lecture extensively at academic, social, and professional institutions on topics such as government operations, sexual abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, family law, evidence, criminal law, and child advocacy.


Mr. Spagnoletti graduated from Lafayette College, summa cum laude, and Georgetown University Law Center, magna cum laude. He is a member of the bars of the District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, and Texas. He has received numerous awards from the government, bar associations, professional organizations, and community groups for his personal and professional contributions to the District of Columbia. Mr. Spagnoletti lives in the District of Columbia with his partner Bernard and two sons.

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