Bill Abrams is a partner in King & Spalding’s Intellectual Property Practice group. Chambers USA reports that clients describe Mr. Abrams as “a wizard of the patent bar” and a “courageous litigator who understands both the broader picture and the social context surrounding issues.” Mr. Abrams was named a California Lawyer of the Year by California Lawyer magazine in 2010, one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California by the Daily Journal in 2010 and one of the Top 75 IP Lawyers by the Daily Journal in 2010 - 2012. He is also recognized in Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers.
Mr. Abrams has tried to verdict and arbitration award and argued appeals in many IP and other business disputes in U.S. and international matters during his 30 years of experience. Specific areas of recent experience include patent infringement, trade secrets and misappropriation, unfair competition and antitrust, technology transfer and licensing, trademarks and advertising, copyright, Internet and media, startup company formation and governance, non-compete and non-disclosure disputes, and First Amendment and defamation.
Mr. Abrams has represented 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. Additionally, he has defended companies against fraud; misappropriation and racketeering claims; and wrongful termination, “whistleblowing,” harassment, discrimination and other employment matters.
Mr. Abrams has handled a number of high-profile pro bono matters through the U.S. and California Supreme Courts, particularly involving the death penalty, education, rights of children and youth, and foster care and children’s welfare. Mr. Abrams 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 of the State Bar of California Wiley Manual Award for pro bono legal representation and a Daily Journal Pro Bono Achievement Honoree. Mr. Abrams was counsel for the City and County of San Francisco in the successful litigation that prevented the San Francisco Giants from moving to Tampa, Fla., in 1992. He is active on the Steering Committee of the American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project and is counsel for defendants in capital cases in Alabama. Mr. Abrams was the co-chair of the Silicon Valley Campaign for Legal Services from 2007 to 2009.
Recent pro bono cases, in addition to the death penalty work in Alabama, include counsel for group foster care homes in an action against the state of California to require compliance with the Child Welfare Act by the state in payment of costs for care of foster children (Calif. Alliance of Child and Family Services v. Allenby, 589 F3d. 1017 (2009) and Calif. Alliance of Child and Family Services v. Wagner, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 107613 (2009). Mr. Abrams is counsel for 64 students who are suing the state of California to obtain education funding in compliance with the California Constitution, and is counsel for applicants to the State Bar of California in an action to protect against public disclosure of their private data submitted to the bar. Mr. Abrams also represented students in a class action against the Berkeley Unified School District for unconstitutional expulsions of students (with the Stanford Youth and Education Law Clinic and Legal Services for Children); was counsel for a disabled deaf child denied admission to the California School for the Deaf because of her autism and other disabilities (with the Stanford Youth and Education Law Clinic); was counsel with the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society for a documentary filmmaker to enforce fair use rights and rights under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; represented a minister challenging the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s order barring him from ministering to juveniles in the Los Angeles County Jail (with the Youth Law Center); was counsel for plaintiffs challenging the state of California’s regulations regarding adoption of foster care children (with the Youth Law Center); and was counsel for minors in guardianship and asylum proceedings. Other notable pro bono cases include In re Michael H., 10 Cal. 4th 1043 (1995); DeBoer v. DeBoer, 114 S. Ct. 1 and 114 S. Ct. 11 (1993); Sinclair Paint Co. v. State Board of Equalization, 15 Cal. 4th 866 (1997); Reno v. Flores, 113 S. Ct. 1439 (1993) (counsel for amicus curiae); and U.S. v. Lopez, 115 S. Ct. 1624 (1995) (counsel for amicus curiae).
Mr. Abrams is a consulting professor at Stanford University, where he teaches courses on intellectual property, policy, civil rights, children’s legal issues and the death penalty. Mr. Abrams was honored as the 2009 commencement speaker for the Program in Human Biology and received the 2004 Human Biology Excellence in Advising Award. Mr. Abrams 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 is also a faculty adviser to the Stanford Students with Disabilities.