Robert Y. Knowlton

Shareholder  |  Columbia

Meet Bob

Bob Knowlton has successfully represented businesses and individuals in a wide variety of complex, high stakes litigation in state and federal courts and arbitrations. His experience includes litigation and representation involving claims under the securities laws, shareholder disputes, corporate governance matters, claims against officers and directors, business torts, intellectual property, investigations and claims by governmental entities, and internal corporate investigations. He is highly successful at evaluating risks and devising the most effective strategy tailored to support his clients and their goals.

Bob leads Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd's Corporate Litigation practice group and is a certified mediator.


  • • Successfully represented a large public company in a dispute tried in Washington concerning alleged unfair trade practices, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and breach of contract with alleged actual damages of over $60 million.
  • • Successfully defended a public company against a merger injunction lawsuit resulting in the dismissal of the claims without any change to the proxy or deal terms or any form of consideration to the complaining shareholder or attorneys.
  • • Successfully defended a public company against a shareholder’s claim involving a proxy regarding an executive compensation plan without any change to the proxy or any form of compensation to the shareholder or their attorney.
  • • Obtained summary judgment for a bank and certain officers and directors against claims asserted by a receiver appointed in an SEC proceeding involving over $11 million in alleged out of pocket losses resulting from a Ponzi scheme.
  • • Successfully defended a bank and officers and directors against a shareholder class action and derivative action where a former officer had engaged in fraudulent transactions causing over $19 million in losses to the bank.
  • • Defended a corporation and officer and director against claim asserted by shareholder and officer with every claim being dismissed against clients.
  • • Defended an investment advisor in an arbitration brought by a customer where every claim against client was rejected.
  • • Successfully represented board members and officers of a failed bank who were sued in a shareholder class action.
  • • Represented officers and directors of several failed banks against claims asserted by the FDIC with no client paying any amount of personal funds to resolve the claims.
  • University of South Carolina, J.D., 1982
  • University of Virginia, B.A., 1979
  • South Carolina, 1982
Honors and Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America© Bet-the-Company Litigation (2010-2024), Commercial Litigation (2010-2024), Litigation - Intellectual Property (2011-2024) and Litigation - Securities (2011-2024)
  • South Carolina Super Lawyers® Business Litigation (2015-2022)
  • Best Lawyers® 2023 Litigation - Intellectual Property “Lawyer of the Year” Columbia
  • Best Lawyers® 2021 Litigation - Intellectual Property “Lawyer of the Year” Columbia
  • Best Lawyers® 2018 Litigation - Securities “Lawyer of the Year” Columbia
  • Best Lawyers® 2017 Litigation - Intellectual Property “Lawyer of the Year” Columbia
  • Columbia Business Monthly "Legal Elite of the Midlands" Corporate Investigations (2020)
Professional and Civic Activities
  • South Carolina Bar
  • American Bar Association
  • South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys’ Association
Presentations and Publications
  • "Recent Developments in Director and Officer Liability," Association of Corporate Counsel-South Carolina Chapter Midyear Meeting, June 9, 2017
  • "Recent Developments in Director and Officer Liability and D&O Insurance,HSB 2016 Corporate Law for Accountants Seminars