Heyl Royster

Robert C. Gates

Peoria, IL
Chicago, IL

Joined Firm in 2022

Borrowing on lessons learned earlier in life working on a factory assembly line, and as a camp counselor, Bob’s intangible skills in communication and leadership are often called upon to execute exclusive results.

  • Specialized experience in corporate matters, banking, entertainment, sports, and government
  • Current Chairman of the Heart of Illinois United Way
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Robert C. Gates

Attorney in Peoria, IL

A Partner at Heyl Royster, experienced executive leader, and independent Board Member, Bob Gates is a focused counselor at law, concentrating his practice as outside general counsel for businesses, institutions, and local governments of every size.  Bob’s deep professional experience is informed by unique visibility across multiple industries and sectors. With specialized experience in general corporate and business matters (including not-for-profit institutions), banking, energy, commercial transactions, healthcare, construction, real estate, employment, and local government law, Bob is retained by clients to drive solutions to strategic goals while serving as the trusted key advisor to executives, Boards of Directors, and individuals to solve unique and difficult problems.

Bob played a vital role in the recent merger of the law firm Kavanagh Scully with Heyl Royster, sharing, "when considering a potential home for the 140-year Kavanagh legacy of service to clients and community, we found Heyl Royster’s expertise, culture of innovation, and leadership in service mirrors the history of Kavanagh and is an ideal platform to grow with our client needs.” The Kavanagh partners joined Heyl Royster in its Peoria, Illinois, office in August 2022. Bob first joined Kavanagh and served from 2008 -2011, returning in 2014 and being elected as a Shareholder and Partner of the firm.  In between stints, Bob served as the General Counsel and Vice President of Human Resources at the Federal Companies, a transportation, moving, storage, and warehousing company. Before joining Kavanagh, Bob represented the City of Chicago as Assistant Corporation Counsel, representing the City in civil litigation matters and focusing on tax and revenue litigation.  He also advised City departments on legal and policy issues involving constitutional law and various corporate and municipal powers.

In addition to his legal practice, Bob serves in public and private leadership positions and an independent Board member.  In the community and as a volunteer, Bob is the Chairman of Heart of Illinois United Way and President of the Bielfeldt Foundation and previously held numerous volunteer leadership positions with the former UnityPoint Health – Methodist (now a member of Carle Health), including Chairman of its Foundation.  He is the past President of area’s public utility, the Greater Peoria Sanitary District, and continues as a GPSD Trustee.  He also serves as an independent Board Member for Princeville State Bank.  Previously, Bob served as Chairman of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce.  Bob has served as a member of the American Red Cross Heartland Heroes Dinner Award Committee, Peoria Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors, Heart of Illinois United Way Campaign Committee, the Easter Seals Tribute Dinner Committee, and the WD Boyce Council of the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Service Award Committee.



J.D., The John Marshall School of Law, cum laude

B.A. in Public Administration, Miami University (Ohio)

Licensure(s) and Admission(s)

State Courts of Illinois

United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

Community Involvement

American Red Cross, Heartland Heroes Dinner Award Committee

Bielfeldt Foundation

Board of Directors (2021 – present)

Vice-President (2023 - present)

Easter Seals, Tribute Dinner Committee

Greater Peoria Business Alliance, Board Member

Vice-Chair of Board of Directors (June 2014 – May 2015)

Greater Peoria Sanitary District

Vice President (2023 - present)

Trustee (February 2017 – present)

President (2019 – 2023)

Heart of Illinois United Way, Board of Directors

Board Chair (2022-2023)

Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, Board Member

Chairman (June 2014-May 2015)

Peoria Symphony Orchestra, Board of Directors (June 2009 - May 2012)

Peoria Symphony Orchestra Foundation

Board of Directors (May 2016 – January 2022)

Treasurer (2019)

UnityPoint Health – Methodist | Proctor Foundation

Board of Directors (June 2015 - December 2021)

Board Chair (2020-2021)

UnityPoint Health – Methodist

Finance & Strategy Committee (January 2022- present)

W.D. Boyce Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Distinguished Service Award Committee


  • 2023 Peoria County Bar Association Distinguished Community Service Award
  • Leading Lawyer by Law Bulletin Media
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