Roberta F. Howell



Roberta F. Howell is a partner and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. Roberta’s practice focuses on distribution-related matters, including litigation and counseling in connection with dealership terminations, drafting dealer, distributor, franchise and agency agreements, compliance with state and federal dealer protection statutes, antitrust and pricing matters, trade secret misappropriation and non-competition contracts, and automobile dealer/manufacturer relationships. She is the immediate past co-chair of the Distribution & Franchise Practice. She is also a member of the Antitrust Practice and the Manufacturing and Automotive Industry Teams as well as the Trade Secret/Noncompete Specialty Practice.

Roberta’s experience also includes general business litigation, closely-held corporation/limited liability company shareholder disputes, eminent domain actions, constitutional litigation and class action defense.

Thought Leadership

Roberta is a regular speaker at and currently chairs the firm’s annual Law of Product Distribution and Franchise Seminar and was also a co-presenter of the 2013 Judicial Update at the International Franchise Association Annual Legal Symposium. Roberta is a co-author of the CCH Product Distribution Law Guide, an editor of the Guide’s second edition and has published several articles on the law of product distribution.


In recognition of her experience, Roberta has been selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the field of Franchise Law (2016-2023). She has been Peer Review Rated as BV® Distinguished™, a mark of excellence in Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ system. In addition, she was honored by the Wisconsin Law Journal as one of the Women in the Law 2013. This distinguished listing recognizes women attorneys who achieved excellence in their respective fields, benefitted the legal profession through their community involvement, and influenced other women to pursue legal careers.

Admissions and Professional Memberships

Roberta is admitted to practice in Wisconsin and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits and the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin, the Eastern District of Michigan, the District of Minnesota and the District of Colorado. She belongs to the Dane County, Western District of Wisconsin, State of Wisconsin, and American Bar Associations, and is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Roberta is also a Fellow of the Wisconsin Bar Foundation.


Roberta earned her B.A., with honors, from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and graduated, with high honors, from the University of Wisconsin Law School. While studying law, she was elected to the scholastic honorary societies, Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Coif, and served on the Wisconsin Law Review as a member of the editorial board and as note and comment editor.

Affiliations and Community Engagement

Roberta is a past-president of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Western Wisconsin Chapter, and currently serves as chair of the chapter’s Ambassador’s Circle. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Fund for Campus Servant Leadership. She was a commissioner of the Kegonsa Sanitary District of the Town of Dunn, Wis., for 14 years, serving as president and secretary of the commission. Roberta has been active in several community organizations, including as a member of the board of directors of the Stoughton Youth Hockey Association and in various capacities with the Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel and the Student Center on the UW-Madison campus.


Foley Manufacturing Update
02 November 2022
Manufacturing Industry Advisor
Foley Manufacturing Update
06 October 2022
Manufacturing Industry Advisor
Foley Manufacturing Update
22 September 2022
Manufacturing Industry Advisor
Foley Manufacturing Update
09 September 2022
Manufacturing Industry Advisor
31st Annual Law of Product Distribution & Franchise Seminar
27 September, 6 October, 13 October 2022
Milwaukee, WI; Dallas, TX; Chicago, IL
30th Annual Law of Product Distribution & Franchise Seminar
7 & 20 October | 3 November 2021
29th Annual Law of Product Distribution & Franchise Seminar
01 October, 08 October & 15 October 2020
Madison CLE Days
18-19 December 2019
Madison, WI