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

News

Benchmark Litigation Honors Farella’s Doug Young With Hall of Fame Award

Farella Braun + Martel’s Douglas R. Young was honored with Benchmark Litigation ’s Hall of Fame award at its annual awards ceremony on March 5th at the St. Regis in San Francisco. According to...

Read More
Event

Coronavirus Was Unexpected, but Is It Force Majeure? (Webinar)

Join speakers, Matt Lewis and Janice Reicher, on the webinar discussing "Coronavirus Was Unexpected, but Is It Force Majeure?"

Read More
Publication

Litigation Management Checklist in the Time of COVID-19

We are all experiencing unprecedented challenges right now, both personally and professionally. To ease some of your legal team’s anxieties, we have put together a litigation-specific checklist with the measures we recommend taking, which...

Read More
News

Farella Braun + Martel’s Jerome Braun Honored With Bill Edlund Award for Professionalism in the Law

Read More
News

Farella Braun + Martel Announces 2020 Partner Elevations

SAN FRANCISCO/ST. HELENA, Calif., January 21, 2020: Northern California legal powerhouse Farella Braun + Martel is pleased to announce the election of senior associates Evan Abrams, Lauren Galbraith, and Alex Reese to the partnership...

Read More
News

Farella Braun + Martel Shortlisted for Benchmark Litigation 2020 San Francisco Firm of the Year Award

Farella Braun + Martel has been shortlisted for two 2020 Benchmark Litigation US West Coast awards. The firm was shortlisted for “San Francisco Firm of the Year” and Partner Douglas R. Young was shortlisted...

Read More
Publication

Force Majeure and Contractual Non-Performance During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Never in the experience of most of us has an event so thoroughly interrupted business as usual as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Everywhere, contract parties facing severe stress in their businesses are reassessing their contractual...

Read More
Publication

Facebook Suspends Apps That Scrape Data From Its Platform Following Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Read More
Publication

INSIGHT: Are Your Employees Using Messaging Apps for Business Communications? Understanding Compliance Implications

Employees are using ephemeral messaging apps—where messages “disappear"—but do they? Farella Braun + Martel attorneys lay out legal pitfalls and compliance issues and the digital minefield that arises when employees don’t use company-sanctioned email...

Read More
Publication

Going it Alone: How to Manage Cybercrime Response With Less Government Help

By: Jessica K. Nall, Chair, White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations practice and Aviva J. Gilbert, Senior Associate, White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations practice, Farella Braun + Martel [1] Several years ago when...

Read More