William (Bill) Keane concentrates his litigation practice on white-collar criminal defense, corporate internal investigations, and related matters. He is a Fellow and Regent of the American College of Trial Lawyers and is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney.
Bill has over 30 years of experience in every aspect of jury trials, administrative hearings, parallel criminal-civil proceedings, and pre-charge investigations by numerous enforcement and regulatory agencies, including U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and the California State Attorney General’s Office. Allegations involving his corporate and individual clients span a vast range of subject matters, including securities and accounting fraud, trade secret theft, digital currency, antitrust, cybersecurity, FCPA violations, Medicare fraud, banking violations, environmental law charges, violation of pharmaceutical distribution regulations, numerous forms of tax violations, mail, wire and computer fraud, government false claims, and export and money laundering violations. He also has an extensive track record in leading internal corporate investigations involving accounting, fraud, FCPA, trade secrets, and senior-executive employment issues. One particular specialty is defending attorneys and accountants.
Bill also leads an active civil practice covering many of the same subject areas, in addition to complex business disputes and intellectual property matters.
Prior to joining Farella, Bill was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California. This experience provided him with an invaluable and thorough grounding in two essential capabilities for trial attorneys, particularly those involved in criminal prosecutions: extensive courtroom experience, and a deep understanding of how prosecutors think and work. For example, he’s effective at preparing clients for testimony and cross-examination because he knows what prosecutors will ask and how.
As a practitioner, Bill prides himself on being prepared for all scenarios. He views preparation as the key to an effective defense, whether that be in the face of government testimony or interviews or an actual trial. He sees a good day for the defense as one in which, among other things, everything that occurred was foreseen and prepared for. He integrates this with a high degree of empathy and emotional intelligence. Most of his clients have never been involved in any sort of personal legal proceeding before, particularly one in which their personal assets, career, or liberty are at risk. Bill’s role is to guide them through an unfamiliar, personally harrowing experience — and by providing an aggressive, expert defense — assist them in minimizing its impact and getting on with their lives and professions.
Bill has appeared as a legal analyst for local news programs on KTVU Channel 2, NBC-11, and KRON4, and nationally on NBC’s Today Show and SiriusXM Radio. He was the legal and courtroom advisor for the independent movie “The Skeptic.”
- Chambers USA: Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations - California, (2021-2022), Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations, Band 4 (2023)
- The Best Lawyers in America, White Collar Criminal Defense (2012-2024)
- Northern California Super Lawyers, White Collar (2006-2023)
- Benchmark Litigation (2011-2023)
- Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
Memberships and Affiliations
- Former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Criminal Division, Northern District of California (San Jose)
- Board of Regents, American College of Trial Lawyers, Region 2 (California-Northern, Nevada) (2022-2026)
- Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers (2010)
- Chair, Federal Criminal Procedure Committee, American College of Trial Lawyers (2018-2020)
- Past Member, Criminal Justice Act Panel, Northern District of California (multiple terms)
- Fellow, Board of Directors, Tony Patino Fellowship (University of Chicago, Columbia University, and U.C. Hastings Law School)
- Served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Eugene F. Lynch (ret.), U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
- Board of Regents, American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL)