Robert J. McConnell

Top rated Class Action & Mass Torts attorney in Providence, Rhode Island

Motley Rice
Robert J. McConnell
Motley Rice

Practice Areas: Class Action & Mass Torts, Personal Injury

Licensed in Rhode Island since: 1988

Education: Suffolk University Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2008 - 2023

Motley Rice

40 Westminster Street
5th Floor
Providence, RI 02903 Phone: 401-457-7703 Email: Robert J. McConnell Visit website


Bob McConnell’s practice concentrates on lead pigment litigation, childhood lead poisoning cases,  asbestos and other toxic environmental litigation. He represents victims seeking corporate accountability as a result of personal injury, property damage and economic loss as a result of negligent environmental practices.

Bob was a member of the trial team in the landmark trial on behalf of the state of Rhode Island against corporate defendants from the lead paint industry. He secured the largest lead paint poisoning settlement in Rhode Island on behalf of a child and continues to represent children injured by lead poisoning against property owners, governmental agencies and lead pigment companies. He also played a leading role in a statewide lobbying effort to defeat legislation that would have denied lead-poisoned children and their families the right to seek justice. Through testimony, analysis and grassroots outreach, he helped the Rhode Island legislature pass a bill helping to prevent childhood lead poisoning without infringing on victims’ rights.

In addition to his work in Rhode Island, Bob also played a key role in historic lead litigation filed in California for ten cities and counties, including San Francisco, Santa Clara, Los Angeles and San Diego. In January 2014, the Court found that lead paint companies Sherwin-Williams Company, NL Industries, Inc., and ConAgra Grocery Products Company created a public nuisance by concealing the dangers of lead and placed families at risk by promoting the use of toxic paint in homes. The California Court of Appeals, 6th appellate District, later affirmed the majority of the ruling and remanded the case to the Santa Clara Superior Court to decide how much defendants should pay to establish an abatement fund to clear toxic lead paint from homes in plaintiffs’ jurisdictions that were constructed prior to 1951. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the decision in 2018, effectively exhausting defense appeals. The SCOTUS decision ensured that an abatement fund will be established to help protect the health and safety of thousands of California children. The case is The People of California v. ConAgra Grocery Products Company et al.

In 2005, Bob helped successfully argue the precedent-setting case Thomas v. Mallett 285 Wis 2d 236 as part of the Motley Rice trial team applying risk contribution theory to the lead paint industry before the Wisconsin Supreme Court. With more than two decades of experience in asbestos litigation, Bob also represents victims of asbestos exposure suffering from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. He has personally represented hundreds of asbestos victims in Rhode Island and assisted on large consolidation trials in several states including Maryland, Mississippi and West Virginia.

After beginning his career as a teacher, Bob earned a law degree and clerked for the Honorable Donald F. Shea of the Rhode Island Supreme Court. He joined Motley Rice attorneys on the tobacco litigation team representing multiple state attorneys general, which resulted in the historic Master Settlement Agreement between the states and the tobacco industry.

Bob serves on the Advisory Board of the Nonviolence Institute, an organization that seeks to promote peace and nonviolence among young people in Rhode Island’s inner cities. He also serves in a part-time capacity as the Municipal Housing Court Judge for the City of Central Falls, RI. In 2019, Bob received the Champion for Justice award from Roger Williams Law School for his legal work and community involvement.

Bob frequently speaks about lead paint litigation to local and regional groups such as the Rhode Island Bar Association and the Northeast Conference of Attorneys General. He is recognized as an AV® rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell®. The Roger Williams University School of Law also honored him by naming him a Champion for Justice for 2019.

First Admitted: 1987, Massachusetts

Professional Webpage:

  • 2015 The Legal 500 United States Mass tort and class action: plaintiff representation – toxic tort
  • 2012–2014  Benchmark Plaintiff  Rhode Island “Litigation Star”: environmental and toxic tort
  • 2009–2021 The Best Lawyers in America®  Mass tort litigation/class actions – plaintiffs 
Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • Licensed in: MA, RI Admitted to Practice Before: U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, District of Rhode Island
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • American Bar Association
  • American Association for Justice
Educational Background:
  • A.B., Brown University, 1979
  • J.D., Suffolk University School of Law, 1987

Office location for Robert J. McConnell

40 Westminster Street
5th Floor
Providence, RI 02903


16 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2008 - 2023

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