Photo of Robert J. Zafft

Robert J. Zafft

Of Counsel

“In cross-border transactions, it’s important to have a feel for the issues that might not be obvious to a domestic practitioner — not just the legal issues but also the commercial concerns.”


  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • California


J.D., Harvard Law School, 1990

B.A., Russian Studies, Harvard College, magna cum laude, 1986


Robert Zafft advises business of all sizes on cross-border trade and investment, domestic commercial matters, governance and IT.

A former McKinsey & Company management consultant, Robert combines legal analysis with practical, business-focused problem solving. Having lived and practiced for many years in Europe and Asia, his experience includes legal and business planning relating to market entry, joint ventures and business partnerships, transactions, compliance and dispute resolution. 

Robert’s career also includes private-equity and advisory work in the Bay Area, with a focus on emerging technology companies, business transformation and IT-project risk management.

Robert’s policy work includes serving as a senior advisor to retired British Prime Minister Tony Blair and a senior corporate governance expert for Asia, Eurasia, and Russia for the OECD.  Robert teaches business ethics at Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis

Professional Affiliations

  • Technology Business Management Council, principal member/contributing author
  • Court of International Commercial Arbitration, Republic of Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce & Industry, panel member
  • Kazakhstan International Arbitration, panel member
  • The Missouri Bar
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • State Bar of California


Representative Matters

  • $75 million sale of a St. Louis software company to a publicly traded European company.
  • Governance and operational transformation of a $80 billion sovereign wealth fund.
  • Deal and legal lead on an application-outsourcer’s $90 million private placement to a European investor.
  • Deal and legal lead on the merger of two European application outsourcers having combined revenues over $60 million.
  • Multi-billion dollar natural-resources consortia in Kazakhstan and Russia.
  • Nine-figure investment by global consumer products company in Kazakhstan.
  • Spinout of the engineering-services division of a US software company.
  • Risk advisor on the $1.3 billion acquisition of a foreign pharmaceutical company by a bulge-bracket U.S. PE firm.
  • Master service agreement for application development for a top five global bank. 
  • Privacy processes and public relations strategy for an Internet advertising broker. 

News & Insights

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

  • "The Saga of St. Louis Thread Company: an Ethical Comedy in Four Acts"
    Saint Louis University School of Law, June 10, 2016