J. Robert Keena

Robert helped build Hellmuth & Johnson’s litigation practice to find solutions that others don’t think of. “I work closely with both litigators and transactional attorneys at Hellmuth & Johnson to make sure that any client I represent receives the benefit of experienced eyes on every matter we handle. I don’t know of any other law firm that embraces complexity with creative thinking the way we do. I love it when someone who has a tough problem, and who’s getting pushed around and bullied, comes in and says, ‘I need a fighter.’”

As chair of the firm’s litigation practice and an active member of the real estate, construction, probate, and business law practices, Robert channels his tenacity and imagination on behalf of Minnesota, North Dakota, and Illinois clients who face a variety of legal issues, including:

  • Complex multiparty litigation
  • Commercial disputes, including real estate conflicts, business disputes, probate matters, and large-scale tort actions
  • Construction disputes, including construction defect matters
  • Corporate law and litigation
  • Insurance claim and coverage analysis
  • Trust, will, and probate litigation
  • Land use, mineral rights, and real estate disputes

Robert and his team have extensive commercial litigation experience in matters ranging from real estate conflicts, shareholder disputes, trade secret protection, and probate disputes, to large-scale tort actions in Minnesota and North Dakota. His construction practice involves the representation of a significant number of clients faced with construction defect allegations or claims, as well as representing property owners and community associations in claims for property damage.

For 15 consecutive years (2008 – 2022), Robert has been named to the Minnesota Super Lawyers® list; only five percent of attorneys in Minnesota are chosen each year. He is licensed to practice law in Minnesota, North Dakota, Illinois, the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, and the United States Courts of Appeals for the Seventh and Eighth Circuits.



  • Successfully handling matters in various state courts, arbitrations, Courts of Appeals, and the Minnesota Supreme Court.
  • Appeared in mediations in jurisdictions throughout the Midwest.

In The News

Thought Leadership


  • Member of the Minnesota and Hennepin County bar associations


  • Frequent speaker and author on many legal issues, including construction law and litigation matters
  • Presenter: H&J Legal & Business Issues Affecting Contractors 2017-2021

Honors & Awards

  • Minnesota Super Lawyers® – 2008-2022
  • The Best Lawyers in America® – Commercial Litigation and Insurance Law, 2022-2023
  • Recipient of the Criminal Law Award for academic excellence while in law school