J. Robert Keena

Robert Keena is Chair of Hellmuth & Johnson’s Litigation Practice Department where he has helped build a team of skilled, experienced, and unrelenting litigation attorneys who appear in State and Federal courts throughout the Midwest and beyond. This team not only litigates but resolves disputes pre-litigation in areas of law ranging from business to agriculture. This broad range of practice fields the team is known for also includes litigation in construction, real estate, insurance coverage, and probate law. Robert’s breadth of experience in all these areas allows him not only to consult with the other team members but also to appear at trials, arbitrations, and mediations as a “first chair” attorney where he can apply his natural disposition to advocate on behalf of clients. “My goal is to find the absolute best result available for any client I represent. It’s that simple.”

Robert is licensed in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Illinois has appeared before the Minnesota Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court. He is also admitted to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota and the United States District for the Northern of Illinois, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh and Eighth Circuits. Robert has also appeared in other jurisdictions through admission via pro hac vice alongside attorneys admitted in those jurisdictions.

Having been in the courtroom since 1995, and Head of Litigation at Hellmuth and Johnson since 2001, there are few types of cases that Robert hasn’t personally been involved in. His practice includes:

  • Complex multiparty litigation
  • Commercial disputes, including real estate, business, corporate and employment actions
  • Construction matters including contract, payment, materials, and defect claims
  • Insurance matters including claims for coverage, defense and indemnity by policyholders
  • Trust, will, and probate litigation
  • Community Association Law including developer claims, Insurance claims, and membership disputes

Robert’s success and skills have been recognized by the public and his peers. He has been named to the Minnesota Super Lawyers® list for 16 consecutive years (2008 – 2023),  named to the Best Lawyers in America® list in four categories (Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law, Litigation – Insurance, Litigation – Real Estate) 2022 – 2024, named on Minnesota Monthly’s Top Lawyers in Minnesota list for Litigation – Construction and Appellate Law in 2023, and named to Minnesota Lawyer’s 2023 POWER 30 list for Real Estate and Construction law, an acknowledgement of lawyers “who lead and influence various parts of the legal community.”



  • 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 2017-2023

Honors & Awards

  • Minnesota Super Lawyers® – 2008-2023
  • The Best Lawyers in America® – Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law, Litigation – Insurance, Litigation – Real Estate, 2022-2024
  • Minnesota Monthly Top Lawyers in Minnesota Litigation – Construction and Appellate Law, 2023
  • The Power 30 by Minnesota Lawyer – Real Estate and Construction Law, 2023