John W. Keker
Partner

jkeker@kvn.com
Tel. (415) 391-5400

Education

Yale Law School, J.D., 1970

Princeton University, B.A., cum laude, 1965

Prior Experience

Marine infantry platoon leader in Vietnam. He was wounded and retired from the Marine Corps in 1967.

Clerkships

Hon. Earl Warren
Chief Justice of the United States, 1970-1971

Court Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal, Fifth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits 

U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Northern, Southern and Central Districts of California, Colorado and Southern District of Texas

Admitted pro hac vice in Districts of Arizona, DC, Nevada, and Oregon; Northern District of Alabama; Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi; Eastern District of Virginia; Southern and Eastern Districts of New York; Northern District of Texas; Western and Eastern Districts of Washington

John W. Keker

Since founding the firm with law school classmate Bill Brockett in 1978, John Keker has built a reputation as one of the country's top trial lawyers. Four decades of jury trials in white collar criminal cases, complex commercial and intellectual property cases, antitrust and securities cases, establish him as the lawyer clients turn to for their most important and high-profile litigation problems.

The American Lawyer described him as “a giant of the IP trial bar.” The California Lawyer said he was “the lawyer other attorneys would turn to if they were in trouble.” The San Francisco Chronicle called him “the Number One Lawyer in the Bay Area,” and the California State Bar inducted him into its “Litigation Hall of Fame.” The National Law Journal named him as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Lawyers in the United States.”

Cases of Note

United States v. McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., et al.: We are defending Standard and Poor's from a $5 billion lawsuit filed by the U.S. government. The government accuses the McGraw Hill Cos Inc. unit of a scheme to defraud investors in mortgage-related securities that collapsed in the financial crisis.

San Jose, et al. v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball and Allan Huber “Bud” Selig: The city of San Jose sued our client, Major League Baseball, alleging antitrust violations and various state law claims concerning the circumstances surrounding the Oakland Athletics possible move to San Jose. The lawsuit claims Major League Baseball and its commissioner violated state and federal laws regarding unfair business practices and anticompetitive conduct. It also challenges the exemption to antitrust laws that the U.S. Supreme Court first upheld for Major League Baseball in 1922.

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Brian Stoker: We defended former Citigroup executive Brian Stoker in one of the rare financial crisis cases to go to trial. Mr. Stoker, who worked on the structuring desk at Citigroup, was charged with securities fraud in connection with Citigroup’s 2007 marketing of a $1 billion collateralized debt obligation (CDO) backed by assets tied to the housing market. In its enforcement action the SEC contended that Citigroup had played a role in the selection of the CDO’s underlying mortgage securities and had taken a short position in those securities. The SEC contended that Mr. Stoker was negligent for not disclosing information about Citigroup’s actions in its marketing materials. After a two-week jury trial in the Southern District of New York with Judge Rakoff presiding, the federal jury rejected the SEC’s case and found Mr. Stoker not liable on any of the SEC’s claims.

United States v. Lance Armstrong: We represented American cyclist and seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong in connection with the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation into professional cycling, which terminated on February 3, 2012 with the announcement that there would be no charges and the investigation was being closed.

United States v. Investment Banker: We defended a former Silicon Valley investment banker on obstruction of justice charges. After two trials and a successful appeal, all charges were deferred. Related charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Association of Securities Dealers were also dismissed.

Televisa v. Univision Communications: We represented Univision, the country's leading Spanish language television network, in a breach of contract jury trial. Televisa, a Mexican multimedia conglomerate which supplied Univision with its most popular Spanish language programs, attempted to terminate a long-term exclusive licensing agreement and sought more than $100 million in damages. The case was settled during trial on favorable terms. We also represented Univision in a bench trial which sought declaratory judgment to prevent Televisa from broadcasting over the Internet the same highly popular programs that it exclusively licensed to Univision. We won a complete victory at trial.

United States v. Former Chief Executive Officer: We represented the former CEO of a public company in a criminal stock options backdating trial. Following a six-week trial in Los Angeles federal court, jurors acquitted our client on 16 of 20 counts. A federal judge then threw out one of two mail fraud counts. Despite the government's recommendation of a six year prison term, our client only received eight months of home confinement and a fine.

Cadence Design Systems, Inc. v. Avant! Corporation: We secured an injunction, restitution and settlement monies totaling $460 million for our client Cadence Design Systems, Inc. in a trade secret misappropriation suit against Avant! and its founders. After successfully handling the civil matter, the largest trade secret litigation to date, we referred the case to the Santa Clara County District Attorney which secured criminal convictions of the company and four executives.

Awards and Honors

  • 100 Most Influential Lawyers in the United States, National Law Journal, 2006-present
  • White Collar Criminal Defense Award, NACDL, 2014
  • Litigation Trial Lawyers (Star Individual); Litigation: General Commercial (Star Individual), Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Star Individual), Intellectual Property: Patent (Band 2), Chambers, 2014
  • Bet-the-Company Litigator of the Year, Best Lawyers, 2012, 2014
  • BTI Client Service All-Star, 2013, 2014
  • San Francisco Intellectual Property Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers, 2012 
  • Leading Trial Lawyer (Tier 1) and recommended for White Collar Defense Litigation, The Legal 500, 2012
  • Lawyer of the Year, White Collar Criminal Defense, Best Lawyers, 2010
  • Top 100 Lawyers, Daily Journal, 1998-present
  • Business Trial Lawyer of the Year, Chambers USA, 2007
  • Number One Lawyer in the Bay Area, San Francisco Chronicle, 2003
  • California State Bar’s Litigation Hall of Fame, 2002
  • Significant Contribution to Criminal Justice Award, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, 1996

PUBLICATIONS AND SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

Effective Direct and Cross Examination, California Continuing Education of the Bar, John Keker and William A. Brockett

Frequent lecturer on litigation to professional groups, including the State Bar Litigation Section; National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; Patent Law Institute; Securities Law Institute; Association of General Counsel; American Bar Association Litigation, White Collar, and Business Law Sections; California Continuing Education of the Bar; California Attorneys for Criminal Justice; Mississippi Bar Association; Nevada Trial Lawyers Association; Texas General Counsel Association; Hawaii Continuing Education of the Bar; and American Board of Trial Advocates.

Professional Affiliations

  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • American Bar Foundation
  • Chairman, Mayor’s Summit on Crime, 2002
  • President, San Francisco Police Commission, 1996-1997,1991-1992; Vice president, 1989-1990
  • Vice president, San Francisco Fire Commission, 1988-1989
  • Chairman, San Francisco Bay Water Quality Control Board, 1981-1983

Cadence Design Systems, Inc. v. Avant! Corporation: We secured an injunction, restitution and settlement monies totaling $460 million for our client Cadence Design Systems, Inc. in a trade secret misappropriation suit against Avant! and its founders. After successfully handling the civil matter, the largest trade secret litigation to date, we referred the case to the Santa Clara County District Attorney which secured criminal convictions of the company and four executives.

Chiron Corp. v. Genentech, Inc.: We represented Genentech, Inc. in a high-stakes patent trial. The plaintiff claimed our client's recombinantly engineered, “humanized” therapeutic for breast cancer infringed on the plaintiff's patent. We obtained a jury verdict invalidating the asserted patent on written description and enablement grounds. The verdict was later affirmed on appeal.

Software Corporation v. Google Inc.: We defended Google in numerous state and federal court actions alleging trade secret misappropriation. The litigation began when our client left Microsoft Corporation to head Google’s China operations. We litigated the case through the preliminary injunction stage and resolved it on favorable terms.

Multinational Biotechnology Company v. Biopharmaceutical Company: We won partial summary judgment for a Seattle biopharmaceutical company and its founder in a trade secret and contract action over a cystic fibrosis drug. Aided by that ruling, and the favorable progress of the trial relating to the remaining claims, another biotechnology company acquired our client for $365 million mid-trial.

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Brian Stoker: We defended former Citigroup executive Brian Stoker in one of the rare financial crisis cases to go to trial. Mr. Stoker, who worked on the structuring desk at Citigroup, was charged with securities fraud in connection with Citigroup’s 2007 marketing of a $1 billion collateralized debt obligation (CDO) backed by assets tied to the housing market. In its enforcement action the SEC contended that Citigroup had played a role in the selection of the CDO’s underlying mortgage securities and had taken a short position in those securities. The SEC contended that Mr. Stoker was negligent for not disclosing information about Citigroup’s actions in its marketing materials. After a two-week jury trial in the Southern District of New York with Judge Rakoff presiding, the federal jury rejected the SEC’s case and found Mr. Stoker not liable on any of the SEC’s claims.

United States v. Lance Armstrong: We represented American cyclist and seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong in connection with the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation into professional cycling, which terminated on February 3, 2012 with the announcement that there would be no charges and the investigation was being closed.

United States v. Former Chief Executive Officer: We represented the former CEO of a public company in a criminal stock options backdating trial. Following a six-week trial in Los Angeles federal court, jurors acquitted our client on 16 of 20 counts. A federal judge then threw out one of two mail fraud counts. Despite the government's recommendation of a six year prison term, our client only received eight months of home confinement and a fine.

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Former Chief Financial Officer: We represented a chief financial officer charged in one of the largest criminal securities fraud cases in recent U.S. history. We represented him in the criminal and administrative investigations, as well as in parallel civil litigation. Following pretrial litigation, our client pled guilty and received a six-year prison sentence. Civil litigation was favorably settled.

United States v. Attorney: Special prosecutors appointed by the United States District Judge charged our client, a nationally-known Mississippi trial attorney, with federal criminal contempt. We persuaded the court to dismiss the charges following an order to show cause.

United States v. Investment Banker: We defended a former Silicon Valley investment banker on obstruction of justice charges. After two trials and a successful appeal, all charges were deferred. Related charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Association of Securities Dealers were also dismissed.

United States v. Lawyer: The U.S. Attorney’s Office investigated our client, a prominent plaintiff’s lawyer, in connection with the federal criminal investigation of his firm's historical payment of referral fees in class action litigation. We negotiated a very favorable plea deal before charges were filed.

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