Mr. Robert M. Tata was appointed to the Board of Visitors on July 1, 2013. He currently serves as a member of the Administration & Finance and Student Advancement Committees.
Mr. Tata, a partner at the international law firm of Hunton & Williams, is a 1986 graduate of Old Dominion University's Graduate School of Business, where he earned his Master's in Business Administration (MBA) degree. Prior to that he earned his undergraduate degree (BS) in "Management & Technology" from the United States Naval Academy in 1979, and after that he earned a law degree (JD) from the University of Virginia in 1989.
While at the Naval Academy, Mr. Tata wrote the feature column in the Log magazine, was President of the "Varsity Club," and set a number of records as the kicker on Navy's football team, including leaving school as the second-leading all-time scorer. Following graduation from the Naval Academy in 1979, Mr. Tata served on several ships including as the Navigator on the Fast Frigate USS Glover and Executive Officer on the Minesweeper USS Exultant, on which he enjoyed a Mediterranean cruise. During his final active duty tour, Mr. Tata served as an NROTC Instructor at NROTC Unit Hampton Roads where he taught leadership, weapons engineering, and navigation courses at Old Dominion University and/or Norfolk State University. In 1986, Mr. Tata left the active Navy and joined the Navy Reserves as a Naval Intelligence Officer. He retired from the reserves in 2009 with the rank of Captain. Mr. Tata earned several awards during his active and reserve Navy career.
Upon leaving active duty in 1986, Mr. Tata attended law school at the University of Virginia. There he was vice president of his class, executive editor of the Virginia Tax Review, and selected to The Raven Society. Mr. Tata also worked as a graduate assistant football coach coaching the UVA kickers and punters during law school. In all, Mr. Tata has taught and/or coached at five colleges or universities including the Naval Academy, University of Virginia, Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, and Regent University School of Law.
After graduation from law school, Mr. Tata joined Hunton & Williams in its Norfolk, Virginia office where he subsequently was promoted to partner. Hunton & Williams was then (and still is) one of Virginia's largest law firms. Hunton & Williams has grown to be among the nation's largest law firms with more than 800 lawyers practicing from 19 offices across the United States, Europe and Asia, helping clients realize new opportunities and solve complex problems in more than 100 substantive areas of law. The firm's practice groups are recognized as leaders in the industry, and its practices and attorneys are consistently ranked by leading publications such as The American Lawyer, Chambers and Fortune magazine, and its offices have been recognized for their diversity and named as best places to work. For more than a century, the firm's success has been grounded in its collaborative approach to providing legal services, reaching across offices and practices to provide clients with the most effective solutions. The firm's focus on client relations, responsiveness and high-quality legal work has garnered recognition as one of the nation's leading firms. The firm has earned a spot on the "short list" for national, complex, class and multidistrict litigation; complex transactions; and government and regulatory affairs, as well as serving other client needs in all regional offices.
Mr. Tata's practice includes a wide variety of high-stakes commercial litigation including business and contract disputes, intellectual property, government contracts, construction, maritime law, and employment law, in Virginia and other states. He works primarily out of the firm's Norfolk office, but has an office in Washington, DC as well. His cases have ranged from winning the then-largest jury verdict in Virginia history ($116 million) for two Harvard MBA inventors who invented a fire escape ladder in their product design class, to successfully defending Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in a $33 million construction dispute regarding its Lane Stadium football stadium. Mr. Tata has won a number of honors, many multiple times, during his 20+ year legal career including Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America; "The Best Lawyers in America;" "Lawdragon 300 Leading Lawyers in America;" "Virginia Super Lawyers;" and Chambers USA "America's Leading Lawyers for Business." And, recently, he was selected as a Best Lawyer's "Virginia IP Lawyer of the Year" for 2013.
Mr. Tata is also active in the community. He was previously appointed by the Governor and served as a Virginia Port Authority Commissioner, and has served as the President of the Virginia Beach Bar Association. He currently serves in a variety of positions including chairing a local judicial evaluation committee, the board of the Hampton Roads Soccer Council, and in a leadership position with his local bar association.
Mr. Tata and his wife Anne Ferrell Tata reside in Virginia Beach. Anne Ferrell is the Regional Manager for Business Partnerships for KLove/Air1 Radio, a nationwide Christian Radio network, and an author and speaker. The Tatas have four children; one daughter a graduate of Dartmouth College, another daughter a graduate of the University of Virginia, a third daughter attending the University of Virginia, and a son in high school.