William P. (Bill) Keane

  • 415.954.4908
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William P. Keane has extensive trial experience obtained in 30 years of criminal and civil litigation practice. Mr. Keane chairs Farella's Complex Litigation Department. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He practices complex civil and criminal litigation with an emphasis in white collar criminal and regulatory defense, corporate internal investigations, and commercial and intellectual property litigation.

Mr. Keane defended world-class track coach Trevor Graham in one of the three federal jury trials arising from the BALCO performance-enhancing drug investigation. His most recent trial defense arose from the largest cheating scandal in the 162-year history of the international sailing championship America’s Cup, held in San Francisco in September 2013. Mr. Keane represented one of six Oracle Racing crew members in an administrative trial before an international jury of sailing experts. He successfully obtained from the jury a recommendation that no further administrative action be taken against his client that would jeopardize his career eligibility.

Prior to joining the firm in 1997, Mr. Keane was an Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Silicon Valley Office in San Jose for more than six years, where he specialized in white collar criminal prosecutions. In his criminal defense practice, Mr. Keane has represented clients facing a broad range of criminal and civil-enforcement investigations and cases. He has extensive experience in defending clients in securities-fraud matters being investigated and charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney's Office and also in antitrust cases being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. He has also represented clients in criminal cases and investigations involving cybersecurity, Medicare fraud, banking, environmental law, off-label pharmaceutical marketing, tax violations, mail, wire and computer fraud, government false claims, and export and money laundering violations. He regularly leads corporate internal investigations, including on accounting, fraud, FCPA, trade-secret, pharmaceutical-industry, and employment matters.

Mr. Keane’s civil practice involves representation of clients in a variety of complex business and commercial litigation matters, including bank-failure litigation, unfair competition, false claims and complex contract disputes, and intellectual property matters involving patent royalties, trade-secret misappropriation, software licensing, and trademark and copyright. He has clients in the software, biotech, clean tech, Internet, information technology, online gaming and banking industries. He is currently defending a former bank officer named in litigation arising from a recent bank failure.

Mr. Keane is listed in The Best Lawyers in America (White Collar Criminal Defense) and in Northern California Super Lawyers (2006-2017). He is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America. He served as a media legal analyst for the BALCO steroids case of U.S. v. Barry Bonds, having appeared on a number of television news programs in the San Francisco Bay Area, including on KTVU Channel 2, NBC-11 and KRON4, as well as nationally on NBC’s Today Show. He has also provided commentary on the Roger Clemens trial and Lance Armstrong investigation. He is frequently quoted by numerous print and electronic news outlets, including the N.Y. Times, the Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Bloomberg News, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, and the legal publications The Recorder and The Daily Journal. Mr. Keane also served as the technical legal and courtroom advisor to the director and writer of the independent movie “The Skeptic,” released in 2009.

Mr. Keanehas twice served on the court-appointed U.S. Magistrate Judge Selection Committee for the Northern District of California.Mr. Keane has also taught Federal Criminal Law and Legal Writing as an adjunct professor at U.C. Hastings and is a frequent lecturer on white collar defense and commercial litigation strategies and legal-ethics issues. Mr. Keane also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Tony Patiño Fellowship, a non-profit corporation that awards law-school scholarships at U.C. Hastings, the University of Chicago, and Columbia University. He was acourt-appointed Lawyer Representative to the Northern District of California Judicial Conference and also has been appointed by the same court tofour terms as Criminal Justice Act counsel for indigent defendants.


  • Former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Criminal Division, Northern District of California (San Jose)
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Member, Criminal Justice Act Panel, Northern District of California
  • Fellow, Board of Directors, Tony Patino Fellowship (Chicago, Columbia and Hastings Law Schools)