- Hospitality Law
- Labor Relations and Employment Litigation
- Complex Commercial Contracts and Transactional Support
- Internal Investigations
Loyola University of Chicago
- J.D. 1988
- Decalogue Scholarship Recipient
- Leadership and Service Award
- B.A. 1984
- Vice-President of Campus Student Government
State Bar of California
State Bar of Illinois
Robert V. Schnitz
Rob has broad experience and deep knowledge in the areas of hospitality law, labor and employment law, internal investigations and commercial law. Prior to joining KCO Rob spent 22 years at Hyatt Hotels Corporation, including serving as Senior Vice-President and Associate General Counsel overseeing legal support for global operations and providing counsel to the senior leadership team. Rob’s experience also includes negotiating complex commercial contracts, privacy, corporate governance, litigation, public relations, crisis communications, enterprise risk management, mergers and acquisitions, franchise matters, government affairs and business torts. In addition to his in-depth legal knowledge, Rob is known for being a strategic thinker who helps clients solve problems by finding legal solutions that reflect the goals and values of the client’s business. Rob also serves as General Counsel to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Rob is a frequent speaker at legal conferences, teaches a class on Hospitality Law at DePaul University, and obtained his mediation skills certification from Northwestern University School of Professional Studies.
Prior to his time at Hyatt, Rob spent approximately 13 years at a national labor and employment boutique, where he worked primarily out of their Southern California offices and focused his practice on employment litigation including wrongful discharge and wage and hour class action matters, internal investigations and traditional labor disputes.
Rob graduated from Loyola University of Chicago Law School, where he won first place in the Wagner Labor Law National Moot Court Competition and was a Decalogue Scholarship Recipient. Prior to law school, Rob graduated from Northwestern University.
- 20-plus years of experience overseeing legal support for and providing guidance to Human Resources, Hotel Operations, Risk Management and Global Security, IT, Marketing and Communications at global hospitality company.
- Developed guidance and training for hotel operators related to employee relations, guest check-in, trespass, guest disputes, government inquiries, ADA accessibility, safety, crisis communications, security and workplace violence.
- Developed sales and vendor agreement templates and training tools designed to drive sales and minimize disputes.
- Served as chairperson for General Counsel Committee of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), the hotel industry’s national trade association.
- Defended deceptive trade practice allegations related to resort fees, service charges and gratuities.
- Instructor at DePaul University teaching a “Hospitality Law and Business Ethics” course.
Labor Relations and Employment Litigation
- Counseled large and small companies on daily and strategic labor and employee relations matters for over 35 years.
- Lead counsel on multiple litigation matters, including class actions.
- Developed mitigation strategies around reductions in force and restructuring plans.
- Assist with development of policies, procedures and handbooks.
- Developed and delivered employee training on workplace harassment, safety and security, ethics and compliance with codes of conduct, Privacy and the ADA.
- Led multi-year cross-functional effort against national corporate campaign by hotel labor union and developed national strategy for labor negotiations.
- Provided strategic guidance on diversity, equity and inclusion.
Complex Commercial Contracts and Transactional Support
- Lead in-house counsel for numerous global and chain-wide vendor contract negotiations including major suppliers, credit card companies, on-line distribution providers, marketing partners, service providers and consultants.
- Provided support and resources for the vendor contracting process.
- Developed supply chain management policy.
- Performed due diligence, project management and analysis for hotel and business acquisitions and mergers.
- Conducted hundreds of internal investigations involving allegations of harassment, discrimination, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, bribery, theft, embezzlement, OFAC/SDN, conflicts of interest, misappropriation of corporate assets and theft of intellectual property.
- Implemented and administered whistleblower policy and anonymous reporting practices.
- Oversight of internal investigations at global hospitality company
- Experience reporting to Executive and Audit Committees
- Litigation: Rob has first chair trial experience, including class actions, and oversaw the litigation function as in-house counsel of a global hospitality company.
- Privacy and compliance: Rob served as Chief Privacy Officer for Hyatt Hotels Corporation and helped oversee legal support for all privacy issues, including cyber-security, training, and enforcement related to the code of conduct. Also involved in compliance in the areas of harassment, conflicts of interest, antitrust, disability access, data security, sanctions and training.
- Government Relations: Rob participated in numerous trade association committees and initiatives related to labor relations, deceptive trade practices, safety and human rights.
- Trademarks and Marketing: Rob oversaw the global trademark strategy as in-house counsel and counseled on deceptive trade practices related to marketing.
- “Trends in Litigation Management” – Counsel to Counsel Super Forum, Chicago, IL
- “Crisis Management” – Hospitality Law Conference, Houston, TX
- “Compliance & Ethics Essentials” – Practicing Law Institute, Chicago, IL
- National Domestic Violence Hotline – General Counsel (2022 to present); Board member (2014 to 2022)
- DePaul University – Instructor – Hospitality Law and Business Ethics (2011 to present)
- Anthony G. Marshall Hospitality Lawyer Award – Recipient (2019)
- Temple Sholom of Chicago – Secretary and Board Member (2022 to present)