William F. Abrams Bio
(click underlined links to download docs)
Consulting Professor William F. Abrams (BA’76, P’14) has taught at Stanford since 1996. His courses include Science, Innovation and the Law (HumBio 173); Children, Youth and the Law (HumBio 172A and B); Justice, Policy and Science (HumBio 170); Sex and the Law (HumBio 170A); The Death Penalty: Human Biology, Law, and Policy (HumBio 171); Injustice, Advocacy and Courage: The Path of the Everyday Hero (HumBio 96Q); and Law, Lawyers, and Justice in Cinema (HumBio 94Q).
Bill is also an experienced trial and appellate lawyer, and the Managing Partner of the Palo Alto Office of Steptoe & Johnson, LLP. He is, as reported by Chambers USA, “frankly brilliant at what he does; he finds the fight his client can fight, and performs very well,” as well as a “wizard of the patent bar… a courageous litigator who understands both the broader picture and the social context surrounding issues.” He was named a “California Lawyer of the Year” by California Magazine and a Top 100 Lawyer and Top 75 IP Lawyer by The Daily Journal.
Bill has been lead counsel in over 70 patent, trade secret and other IP cases since 2000, including trials, arbitrations and appeals in federal and state courts involving patent infringement, trade secrets and misappropriation, interference and business torts, technology transfer and licensing, trademarks and advertising, and copyright. He has also been litigation counsel and advised companies and individuals in defamation, First Amendment and cases involving media, and in privacy matters. Bill represents public and private companies in a wide range of industries, including software and hardware companies, Internet and media, universities and research institutions, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, financial institutions, media and publishing, and wineries and alcoholic beverage companies. He also has extensive experience in public interest and Constitutional litigation in trial and appellate courts.
A list of reported judicial decisions in which Bill has been counsel, and of his major matters since 2000:
Bill was honored as the 2009 commencement speaker for the Program in Human Biology and received the 2004 Human Biology “Excellence in Advising” award. Bill founded the Abrams Fellowship at the Haas Center for Public Interest, a program that awards fellowships for undergraduates to work in public interest law, and the Abrams Family Fellowship for students to take gap years to undertake service projects. He also has served as faculty adviser to the Stanford Students with Disabilities.
Bill is involved with the Haas Center for Public Service in speaking and mentoring students, and advising Stanford in Government. Bill also works with the Stanford Law School Youth Education Law Clinic and has taken on several cases as co-counsel with the Clinic regarding school financing and special education.
Bill’s campus office is at Building 20, Room 22J, Inner Quad.
Email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Pro Bono and Community Activities
Bill has handled a number of high-profile pro bono matters through the US and California Supreme Courts, particularly involving the death penalty, education, rights of children and youth, and foster care and children’s welfare. Bill was named a “Lawyer of the Year” by California Lawyer magazine for his representation of group foster homes against the state of California for the state’s failure to provide funding for care of foster children as required by the Child Welfare Act. He received the State Bar of California Wiley Manual Award for pro bono legal representation and is a Daily Journal Pro Bono Achievement Honoree. Bill is a member of the Board of Directors of the Southern Center for Human Rights, the Youth Law Center, and the Silicon Valley Campaign for Legal Services (and former Co-Chair), served on the Steering Committee of the American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project and is counsel for defendants in capital cases in Alabama and Texas, and working with the Northern California Innocence Project as counsel for a man seeking exoneration for his murder conviction and release from over 20 years in prison. Bill also serves on the Advisory Board for the Center for the Legal Profession at Stanford Law School.
- Chambers USA, Intellectual Property: Patent (California), 2006–2015
- Chambers USA, Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (California), 2011-2013; 2015
- Daily Journal’s “Top 75 Intellectual Property Litigators in California,” 2009-2014
- IAM Patent 1000, Litigation: California, 2014-2015
- Named Lawyer of the Year, The Best Lawyers in America, Technology, 2014
- The Best Lawyers in America, Patent Litigation, Technology, and Intellectual Property, 2009–2016
- Managing Intellectual Property‘s “IP Stars” in California, 2013-2015
- Northern California Super Lawyers, 2004–2015
- “Silicon Valley’s Top 300 Lawyers” and “Silicon Valley’s Top Legal Eagles,” San Jose Magazine, 2001–2013
- Named one of the top 100 lawyers in California, Daily Journal, 2010
- Named California attorney of the year CLAY Award, California Lawyer Magazine, 2010
- John J. Curtin Jr. Public Service Award, 2009
- Alliance of Child and Family Services v. Allenby, 589 F3d. 1017 (2009)
- Alliance of Child and Family Services v. Wagner, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 107613 (2009)
- Sinclair Paint Co. v. State Board of Equalization, 15 Cal. 4th 866 (1997)
- In re Michael H., 10 Cal. 4th 1043 (1995)
- S. v. Lopez, 115 S. Ct. 1624 (1995) (counsel foramicus curiae).
- DeBoer v. DeBoer, 114 S. Ct. 1 and 114 S. Ct. 11 (1993)
- Reno v. Flores, 113 S. Ct. 1439 (1993) (counsel for amicus curiae)
Select Seminars & Events
“A Workshop on Partner Succession Planning & Practice Group Transitioning within the Firm,” Legal Executive Forum, March 25, 2015
“Science, Innovation, & The Law: Protecting Ideas & Entrepreneurship,” Raising the Bar, February 24, 2015
Co-Chair and Speaker, Patent Disputes Forum, December 4, 2014
Co-Chair and Speaker, Patent Disputes Forum, September 30, 2014