Robert W. Karr Jr.

Principal, Chicago
Phone: 312.245.7534

As a member of the firm's Business Group, Robert W. Karr, Jr. (Bob) advises clients on the development and implementation of their global strategic plans through a broad range of transactions, including the formation of new entities, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures and strategic alliances. In this capacity, he negotiates, prepares and reviews a wide array of transactional agreements, including acquisition, joint venture, sales, distribution, and licensing agreements.

Prior to joining Masuda Funai, Mr. Karr spent five years as Of Counsel at a global law firm, where he represented companies in the aviation, chemical, manufacturing, technology and transportation industries. During that time, he served a two-year secondment in Tokyo, where he was in-house counsel at a Japanese Fortune Global 500 client, working with senior management to expand business in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Before attending law school, Mr. Karr was the first American employee of a major Japanese construction company in Tokyo and was assigned to its general affairs, personnel and sales divisions.

A fluent Japanese speaker, Mr. Karr attended the Japanese Language and Business Studies Exchange Program at Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan, and the Japanese Language Summer Program at Middlebury College in Vermont. He also attended Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan as part of their Japanese Law Summer Program.

Mr. Karr is an avid speaker and serves on the board of a number of professional and civic organizations, including the Japan America Society, The Garden of the Phoenix Foundation, the Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness Organization, and The Creative Visions Foundation. Mr. Karr has served as a chairman of the board of the Chicago Sister Cities International Program and was a member of the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee. He is a former board member of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association and the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust.

Representative Matters

  • Represented numerous foreign and domestic companies in connection with the establishment and expansion of service operations and manufacturing facilities in the United States, including:

    • Green-field manufacturing facility for a Japanese auto-parts manufacturer in South Carolina.
    • $64.9 million acquisition of a multinational forklift manufacturing and distribution company.
    • Acquisition of various full service staffing companies throughout the United States for a multinational staffing company.

  • Represented a Japanese chemical manufacturer in connection with its business expansion in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States, including:

    • The strategic investment and alliance by a tender offer to acquire up to 20% of the issued shares in an multinational chemical manufacturer for $610 million and a commitment to take up 20% of the shares to be issued by the target in a $250 million rights issue.
    • Acquisition of a privately-owned environmental health company in the United Kingdom.
    • Development, distribution, licensing and manufacturing agreements for expansion of its vector control business in Africa, China, India and Vietnam.
    • Strategic alliance agreements with various multinationals to develop new products based upon existing proprietary compounds.
    • Toll-manufacturing agreements with manufacturers in Brazil, India, China and Vietnam.

  • Represented on-line technology-based donation service provider in connection with the negotiation and drafting of its licensing and service agreements.

  • Represented the founder of two Chicago start-up companies with general corporate matters, intellectual property acquisition and service agreements.

  • Represented Japanese automobile parts manufacturer with the merger and consolidation of its U.S. subsidiaries.

  • Represented international aviation consultancy firm in connection with the establishment of its operations in China, including the establishment of its wholly-owned subsidiary and joint venture with the Chinese aviation authorities.

  • Advised China's largest construction equipment manufacturer on the development of its business and legal strategy for entry into the U.S. market.

  • Advised Japanese automotive-parts manufacturer regarding its strategy for deployment of human resources from Japan to various countries around the world.

  • Represented various foreign corporations in connection with their acquisition and development of investment real estate properties throughout the United States, including residential, office and hotel properties.

  • Represented U.S. manufacturer in connection with the establishment of a greenfield manufacturing facility in Brazil.

Practice Areas


  • Japanese


  • DePaul University, J.D., 1999
  • University of Iowa, B.A., Asian Languages and Literature, 1991 International Business Certificate, 1991


  • Illinois