Bar & Court Admissions
- State Bar of California
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Northern, Central, Eastern, and Southern Districts of California
Alameda Superior Court; Board of Directors (Judicial Arbitrator)
Alameda County Bar Association (Board Directors, 2009 - 2012; Trial Practice Section Board Liaison, 2010 – 2012)
Earl Warren American Inns of Court (Executive Committee, 2005 -2008)
Pepperdine University School of Law, J.D.
University of California, Berkeley, B.A.
William E. Adams
William Adams is the Managing Partner of M&R’s San Francisco office and leads the firm's Commercial & Business Litigation Practice Group. He is a seasoned litigator who brings over two decades of experience representing small businesses and partnerships in matters including claims of commercial fraud and dissolution, misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair business practices, breach of contract, corporate torts and trademark and copyright infringement.
Mr. Adams has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in more than 45 trials and binding arbitrations, as well as several appeals. Mr. Adams regularly represents public entities, defending claims of torts, breach of contract, inverse condemnation and violations of civil rights. Frequently sought out to take over civil litigation disputes that are going to trial, he specializes in quickly assessing claims and trial risks, and using these skills to negotiate resolutions for his clients with minimal expense. Additionally, Mr. Adams serves as a settlement judge in state courts, where he evaluates cases to assist in pre-trial resolution.
Mr. Adams is a member of M&R's Executive Committee.
Mr. Adams earned his J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law, where he was a Vincent S. Dalsimer Moot Court Competition finalist and moot court board member. During law school, Mr. Adams served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew of the United States District Court for the Central District of California. He received his B.A., in Rhetoric, from the University of California, Berkeley.
Awards & Recognitions
Mr. Adams was recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer in 2016.
- Breach of Contract/Fraud Allegations: McKinzie v. Roemer (Alameda County Superior Court). Represented purchaser of Oakland dental practice in action against seller for breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and fraud. Resulted in jury verdict for the plaintiff and successful recovery of contractual attorney's fees. Affirmed on appeal.
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty: PAI Corporation v. Integrated Science Solutions, Inc. (USDC, Northern District of CA). Represented defendants in breach of fiduciary duty and theft of trade secrets case arising out of procurement process for services provided to NASA/Ames resulting in jury verdict for the plaintiff, which was reversed by the trial judge in post-verdict motions. Case settled while pending in Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.
- Business Purchase Dispute: Our clients, a husband and wife, purchased a small retail computer business in Silicon Valley. After not experiencing the level of profitability the seller had, our clients investigated and discovered that the previous owner had trafficked in the sale of “remarked” CPUs, an illegal but highly profitable business practice. Our representation of this client involved coordinating investigations by the FBI and Intel’s worldwide fraudulent products division. The case was resolved through binding arbitration, in which we secured a favorable award for our clients.
- Contract Dispute: Our client rented diesel-powered generators to provide back-up power to a large construction project in Secaucus, New Jersey, run by the Bechtel Corporation. Bechtel refused to pay its bill for additional time that it kept and used our client’s equipment. It counted on its size and market power to prevent our client from recovery of its contract profits. Our client pursued the matter in court and prevailed after a one-week jury trial.
- Fraud Claims: After assisting in taking Netscape through an initial public offering, our client became the Chief Executive Officer of a start-up company that harnessed the power of the Internet to pair golf enthusiasts with world-caliber golf professionals in analyzing and improving golf swings. Our client entertained the business interests of another local company in the golf industry, but when the business did not succeed, our client was personally sued for fraud. Through a strategic investigation of his accuser, we showed at trial that, in fact, our client had been the victim of a desperate attempt to salvage a dying business, and the plaintiff dropped its case after opening argument.
- Inverse Condemnation: Burns v. City of Los Altos (Santa Clara Superior Court). Represented homeowners in inverse condemnation action against the city for sewer intrusion resulting in defense verdict. Adverse appeal in Sixth Circuit.
- Mechanic’s Lien Action: Our clients refused to pay a fencing contractor who installed defective and substandard wrought iron fencing until the work was repaired. The contractor refused to make the repairs and instead recorded a mechanic’s lien against the property and forced the matter to litigation. Through a careful background investigation, we discovered that not only was the mechanic’s lien defective, but the contractor had allowed his contractor’s license to lapse. After a three-day court trial, the court entered judgment against the contractor and awarded substantial damages to our client.
- Negligence and Inverse Condemnation Defense: McKillop Road in Oakland had a 75-year history of landslides. In 2006, the last portion of the hillside gave way, substantially damaging numerous homes and businesses. These property owners banded together and pursued lawsuits against various public agencies, in which they alleged that improper maintenance of the roadways, sub-surface infrastructure, and a creek at the base of the hillside led to the catastrophe. The City of Oakland retained us to perform extensive testing and discovery, which resulted in the city making a compelling case that the cause of the landslide had nothing to do with the city’s maintenance practices. The city resolved the entire litigation for nominal settlements, while the property owners proceeded to trial against other defendants.
- Public Contracting Dispute: Our client selected the plaintiff as the low bidder for public works construction. When it was discovered that the plaintiff violated the prevailing wage laws, the plaintiff sued the City of Oakland, claiming that he had been misled into applying the wrong labor rate standards in the bidding process. Due to the nature and extent of the construction work, the case was complicated and required nearly one month of testimony to a jury. At the conclusion of trial, through a carefully crafted simplification of the facts and an explanation of the contracting process, the City of Oakland was found completely free of obligation to the plaintiff’s claims.
- Rescission Actions: Our client, a life insurance company, was faced with a series of losses arising out of deaths occurring very near in time to the submission of the life insurance application. Investigation revealed that the applicant had failed to provide critical information regarding health and personal habits, which would have resulted in either a denial of their applications, or substantially higher premium rates. In three separate trials, our client elected to present this evidence to a court to establish its entitlement to rescind the life insurance policies. In each of the three cases, our client prevailed.
- M&R is Pleased to Announce Our Attorneys’ Inclusion in the List of 2016 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising StarsJuly 14, 2016
- Michelman & Robinson Expands its San Francisco Litigation Practice with the Addition of Partners William E. Adams and David C. Lee, and Associate Ilse C. ScottAugust 1, 2013
- Law360, January 14, 2015
- Law360, April 10, 2014
- San Francisco Chronicle, February 5, 2014
- The Recorder, January 22, 2014
- San Francisco Business Times, January 16, 2014
- The National Law Journal, August 19, 2013
- The Recorder, August 12, 2013
- The Daily Journal, August 12, 2013
- Bloomberg.com, August 6, 2013
- Michelman & Robinson, Expands its San Francisco Commercial & Business Litigation Practice with the Addition of Three Top AttorneysPress Release, August 1, 2013
- California Lodging News, Spring 2016
- Law360, August 19, 2015
- PublicCEO, May 13, 2014
- Personal Email & Electronic Communications by Public Officials Not Considered Public Records, An Expanded LookPublicCEO, April 9, 2014
- The Banking Law Journal, June 2011
- Defending the Suspended CorporationSDMA Construction Law Quarterly, 1995
- Handling Medical WasteSDMA Environmental Law Quarterly, 1993
Past Speaking Engagements
- Golden Gate Restaurant Association Industry ConferenceSan Francisco, CA, July 26, 2015
- California Construction Law: What to do When....National Business Institute2002
- UPDATE: Bill Requiring Mandatory Training for Alcohol Servers Vetoed by Governor Brown September 30, 2016
- Are Robot-Operated “Smart Restaurants” the Wave of the Future? January 6, 2016
- California Enacts Craft Distilleries Act November 4, 2015
- Revisions to California Franchise Relations Act to Provide Greater Protections for Franchisees August 24, 2015
- Is Your Cocktail Lounge Taking Steps To Avoid Allergy Risks? July 21, 2015
- Minimum Wage Hike Hikes Pressure on Bay Area Small Businesses May 18, 2015
- Farm to Fork May Present Opportunities to Hotel and Restaurant Chains February 12, 2015