While in law school, Rob worked at the Missouri Attorney General helping prosecute child sex crimes. He worried that continuing on such a career path would change him as a person. In 2009, he returned to Peoria and joined his father’s law firm, Parker & Halliday, to gain trial experience. His mother, Theresa Hardesty, convinced Rob to learn how to do adoptions because they are so often full of happy people. She eventually retired, and Rob fully took over her work.
After years of learning and gaining more experience, Rob met the criteria in 2015 and became accepted for inclusion as a Fellow of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, now numbering 470 in total around the world. According to their website, members are experts in the complexities of adoption law and the variety of interstate and international regulations surrounding adoption*, and must maintain their practice according to the highest standards of ethics, competence and professionalism. Rob has also helped author the legal guide for other attorneys in the area of adoption, called Illinois Continuing Legal Education (ICLE).
In 2012 Rob began handling a case involving wrongful death in a nursing home due to extreme neglect. The case concerned the parent of Drew Parker’s neighbor and was sent over by another law firm who wanted a second opinion on the nursing home’s $40,000 offer to settle. The case’s statute of limitations was about to expire. Rob worked through the day and all night writing the lawsuit, and the case was filed with one day to spare. It later settled for $600,000 – a record in Knox County for nursing home injury cases. This began the firm’s nursing home work, and it began broader recognition of Rob’s work.
Rob has been recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star since 2015, which recognizes no more than 2.5% of lawyers in Illinois. Also in 2015 Leading Lawyers profiled Rob and Drew Parker’s law practice as a father-son duo. Rob has been named an Emerging Lawyer by the Leading Lawyers Network, being featured in 2016 as “Peoria’s Savvy Adoption and Family Law Counselor.” That year he was one of six attorneys in Peoria under 40 to be named to both Super Lawyers’ and Leading Lawyers’ lists. In 2020 Leading Lawyers ranked him #9 among all under-40 downstate attorneys.
Rob is involved with the Peoria County Bar Association, chairing and assisting in a number of committees; the American Bar Association; a Master in the American Inns of Court; and a licensed DCFS Panel Attorney, which means he handles adoptions of children out of foster care and helps adoptive parents complete state monetary subsidies for those adoption placements. Rob has handled trials in both federal and state court, and appeals in the Third District Appellate Court. These trials have included seven-figure divorces, contested adoptions, murder appeals and trials, and international child abduction under the Hague Convention.
(*The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law, and the recognition is not required to practice law in Illinois.)
“I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.” – Abraham Lincoln
Honors and Awards
- #9 Downstate, Under 40 – Leading Lawyers
- Super Lawyers 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
- Leading Lawyers 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
- “Superb: 10.0” rating – Avvo
- Peoria Journal Star Reader’s Choice Award – Family Law
- Pro Bono Award – 2017, Public Law Interest Initiative and Prairie State Legal Services
Professional Associations and Memberships
- American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA)
- Peoria County Bar Association, September 1, 2009 – Present
- Abraham Lincoln Inns of Court, July 10, 2010 – Present
- American Bar Association, Member
- Illinois State Bar Association
- American Inns of Court, Master
Past Employment Positions
- Missouri Attorney General
- St. Louis Public Defender’s Office
- CJA Panel – Federal Public Defender
- Illinois Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) Practice Guide – author, 2020
- Lecturer, Peoria Bar Assn. Winter Education Series (Mediation in Divorces, Technology in the Courtroom)
- Lecturer, Inns of Court (Dealing with Judge Personalities)