Insights
Firm News

Trial Pros: Farella Braun's Bill Keane

March 23, 2016 Media Coverage

Law360
March 23, 2016
"Trial Pros: Farella Braun's Bill Keane"

William P. Keane is a partner in Farella Braun & Martel LLP’s San Francisco office, where he is chairman of the complex litigation department. He has nearly 30 years of experience in criminal and civil litigation trials. His complex litigation practice emphasizes white collar criminal and regulatory defense, corporate internal investigations and commercial and intellectual property litigation. Notably, 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 represented clients in criminal cases and investigations involving 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 leads corporate internal investigations on accounting, fraud, FCPA, trade-secret and pharmaceutical-industry matters.

Keane is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He has served on the court-appointed U.S. Magistrate Judge Selection Committee and as a Lawyers’ Representative for the Northern District of California. Prior to joining Farella, he was an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Silicon Valley Office in San Jose, where he specialized in white collar criminal prosecutions.

Q. What's the most interesting trial you've worked on and why?

A. It is hard not to pick my defense of world-class track coach Trevor Graham in the steroid/BALCO-related jury trial that took place before Barry Bonds' trial. I have to say, however, that my "most interesting" was the administrative trial defense I did related to the largest cheating scandal in the 162-year history of the international sailing championship America's Cup, held on San Francisco Bay in September 2013. I represented one of six Oracle Racing crew members accused of cheating before an international jury of sailing experts. The hearing was in the two weeks leading up to the start of the championship races. I was the only defense counsel who was not an accomplished sailor. Many of the top 10 sailors on the planet were in that hearing room at some point. It was a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the sport, and we were pleased with the result for our Australian client.

Q. What's the most unexpected or amusing thing you've experienced while working on a trial?

A. The biggest laugh I ever got before a jury occurred when, as an assistant U.S. attorney, I had an investment fraud victim on direct examination describe attending a movie with the lead defendant, which movie the defendant himself selected: "Other People's Money" (starring Danny DeVito). One of the jurors was still laughing ten minutes later.

Q. What does your trial prep routine consist of?

A. My trial prep routine is probably not all that different from most trial lawyers. One thing that stands out for me: I tend to spend an extraordinary amount of time preparing my opening statement, which — while so important in all trials — I find especially critical and challenging when defending criminal cases. In the aftermath of what often sounds like a crushing, overwhelmingly strong case for the prosecution, the challenge is how in your allotted opening time to swing the momentum completely around when often not knowing what the evidence will be (e.g., will my client testify?) At a minimum, my goal after openings is to have the jury thinking: "This sounds like a close case that is not nearly as obvious as the prosecution says it is." That, at least from the defense perspective, gives you a fighting chance.

Q. If you could give just one piece of advice to a lawyer on the eve of their first trial, what would it be?

A. Expect the unexpected — it is inevitable no matter how much and well you prepare.

Q. Name a trial attorney, outside your own firm, who has impressed you and tell us why.

A. One of the trial lawyers who had a big influence on me early in my career was a colleague in the U.S. attorney's office, former AUSA Marcia Jensen, most recently the mayor of Los Gatos, California. Marcia, who had also been a deputy DA, had an uncanny ability to synthesize and boil a case down to its essence. One of her guiding principles: do in trial just what needs to be done and no more.

Read Q&A online at https://www.law360.com/articles/764563 (subscription required).

Firm Highlights

Publication

Pandemic Restriction Challenges Face Uphill Battle in California

On Dec.16, 2020, in Midway Venture LLC v. County of San Diego, the San Diego Superior Court preliminarily enjoined enforcement of two COVID-19-related California public health restrictions as applied to two adult entertainment businesses...

Read More
News

Farella Braun + Martel Attorneys Named to 2021 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

Thirty-seven Farella Braun + Martel lawyers were named to the Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists of top attorneys in Northern California for 2021. 2021 Farella Northern California Super Lawyers: George Argyris – Estate...

Read More
News

51 Farella Lawyers Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2022 and Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch

Forty-six Farella Braun + Martel lawyers were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America © .  Five Farella lawyers were named to Best Lawyers: Ones to...

Read More
News

Douglas Young Receives 2021 Judge Learned Hand Award From AJC San Francisco

Read More
News

Chambers USA 2021 Recognizes Farella Braun + Martel Attorneys, Practices

Farella Braun + Martel announces that Chambers USA has recognized 13 lawyers and 6 practice areas in the legal directory’s 2021 edition. Individual Rankings: Tyler Gerking – Insurance: Policyholders Jeffrey Hamilton – Cannabis Law...

Read More
News

Kelly Matayoshi Appointed to San Francisco Superior Court Elimination of Bias Committee

Read More
Publication

The FASTER Act: What Companies Need To Know About the New Food Allergy Law

While the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research Act (FASTER Act) only makes a minor change to add sesame as a major food allergen, it signals the government’s intent to closely examine food...

Read More
Publication

Complying With the TCPA After the Facebook Supreme Court Decision

Many cannabis dispensaries rely heavily on text messaging marketing programs to reach their customers and to create loyalty in an increasingly competitive market. While text messaging programs may be an effective marketing tool, they...

Read More
Publication

How to Comply With the TCPA After the Facebook Supreme Court Decision

Many consumer products industry companies rely heavily on text messaging marketing programs to reach their customers and to create loyalty in an increasingly competitive market. While text messaging programs may be an effective marketing tool...

Read More
Publication

No Quarter: What Claims Doesn’t Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act Protect Platform Companies Against?

Depending on what you read or who you talk to, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (47 U.S.C. § 230) (CDA) is either a tool of censorship, a shield of Big Tech that...

Read More