Philip J. Kearney

Philip J. Kearney

580 California Street
Suite 1100
San Francisco, CA 94104

Phone: 415.788.1900
Cell: 415.509.3385
Fax: 415.393.8087

Primary Practice Areas

Civil Litigation

Privacy and Cyber Security

Environmental Litigation

White Collar & Regulatory Defense

Import / Export

Internal Investigations

Premises Liability

Elder Abuse

U.S. Sanctions Consulting


  • All Courts in the State of California


  • J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law
  • B.A., University of California, Davis (Economics and Rhetoric)

Philip J. Kearney


Mr. Kearney joined Murphy, Pearson, Bradley, and Feeney as a Senior Trial Counsel following a distinguished career of public service and became a Shareholder at the firm in 2021. His practice largely focuses on white collar defense stemming from investigations conducted by federal, state, and local enforcement agencies. Mr. Kearney also conducts internal corporate investigations involving a variety of employee misconduct including fraud, theft of trade secrets, and sexual harassment claims. He has extensive experience in defending unfair competition law (UCL) actions under California Business & Professions Code Sections 17200 & 17500. Mr. Kearney has also represented Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) in actions brought by the Department of Social Services and for claims involving Elder Abuse.

Prior to joining Murphy, Pearson, Bradley, and Feeney, Mr. Kearney was an Assistant District Attorney, Assistant United States Attorney, and United Nations International War Crimes Prosecutor. Mr. Kearney has personally tried over seventy-five domestic jury trials for offenses including but not limited to special circumstances murder, attempted murder, robbery, assault, extortion, honest services fraud, wire and mail fraud, narcotics, and environmental crimes.

As a United Nations International Prosecutor, Mr. Kearney has tried an additional five international trials before panels of jurists from Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Cameroon, France, Austria, and The Netherlands, in courtrooms of both the former Yugoslavia and The Hague, Netherlands.

As an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of California (NDCA), Mr. Kearney served in both the Special Prosecution & National Security Division (SPNSU) and the Organized Crime Strike Force. While in the SPNSU, Mr. Kearney focused on domestic and international terrorism, money laundering, and export control and counter-proliferation crimes. He regularly directed investigations with agents from the FBI, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control, the State Department's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement Branch. Mr. Kearney also served as the Office's Digital Currency Coordinator, Grand Jury Coordinator, and International Coordinator. As the Digital Currency Coordinator, Mr. Kearney chaired the NDCA Digital Currency Crimes Task Force, a multi-agency federal and state task force charged with investigating and prosecuting federal offenses involving cryptocurrency and cyber-crime.

Mr. Kearney also practices and consults in the areas of privacy, cyber security, environmental law, import/export law, and United States Sanctions compliance.


  • Mr. Kearney has extensive experience enforcing environmental statutes including but not limited to the Federal Clean Water and Clean Air Acts. Mr. Kearney directed the successful investigation with the EPA and NRC of fraud in the remediation of radiological waste at the former Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard EPA 'Superfund' site, leading to the convictions of two Radiation Control Supervisors for fraud crimes.
  • 2013 California Lawyer of the Year (Criminal Law). The award was presented by Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice, California Supreme Court on March 11, 2014.
  • 2018 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Bronze Medal for Commendable Performance, presented on August 31, 2019, by Scot Adair, EPA Acting Special Agent in Charge for the Western United States.

Representative Matters

  • While serving in the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, Mr. Kearney was assigned as the sole prosecuting attorney in the Pristina judicial region, where he was responsible for the prosecution of a wide variety of offenses including war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, human trafficking, and inter- ethnic offenses involving serious violence, organized crime, and weapons trafficking.
  • During 2007 and 2008, Mr. Kearney served as the lone American on an international team of prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands, trying three defendants for Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes, including the former Prime Minister of Kosovo.

Professional and Community Contributions

Mr. Kearney is a member of the Bar Association of San Francisco and is on the Executive Committee for the BASF International Humanitarian Law Section. He is an active member of the Saint Thomas More Society in San Francisco and was elected President in 2020. Mr. Kearney is also an Alumni Board member of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security located at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He is a member of the Irish American Bar Association and sits on the Board of the Catholic Charities of the San Francisco Archdiocese organization.

Published Appellate Decisions

  • United States v. Fort, et al. (2007) 472 F.3d 1106. Successful appeal of District Court order regarding witness discovery in a Racketeering Conspiracy prosecution.
  • People v. Marlowe Hill, 23 C.A. 4th 1566 (1994). Trial conviction for the crime of mayhem sustained on appeal.

Selected Publications

  • Under the Blue Flag: My Mission in Kosovo, Los Angeles: Phoenix Books, 2010 (non-fiction novel detailing experiences serving as an international prosecutor in Kosovo during 2001 and 2002)

Selected Presentations and Lecturers

  • In re Iran: Where International Politics Meet Transnational Law, Georgetown Law School International Law Society, co-presented with Professor Mark Bravin and Holland & Hart Partner Steven Pelak, Virtual Presentation, April 14, 2021
  • California Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Core Course for San Francisco Regional Law Enforcement, quarterly Instructor, San Francisco, CA, September 2015 through present
  • Lessons Learned from February 2018 Jury Trial of United States v. James Lucero (CR 16-107 HSG), DOJ's Annual Environmental Crimes Seminar, National Advocacy Center, Columbia, South Carolina, May 2, 2018
  • Overview of U.S. Criminal Justice System and Common Law Prosecution Fundamentals, National Autonomous University of Mexico, San Francisco, CA, August 4, 2016
  • U.S. DOJ Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT), Interim Legal Advisor, March 2004, November 2004, May 2006 and Lecturer, May 2013
  • United Arab Emirates and United States Export Control and Counter- Proliferation Workshop, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., May 8-9, 2013
  • American Plea-Bargaining Practice, presented for Singaporean Senior District Court Judge Kee Oon See, San Francisco, CA, December 14-15, 2011
  • American Plea-Bargaining Practice, presented for Singaporean Justice Officials, including Attorney General Sundaresh Menon, San Francisco, CA, April 12-13, 2011
  • International Intervention and the Rule of Law, Guest Lecturer in the Humanitarian and International Law Class, University of San Francisco School of Law, March 24, 2011 and April 18, 2012
  • Modern Internet Investigation & Cyber Crime and United States Criminal Prosecution System, Jurisdiction and Organization, presented for Vietnamese Supreme People's Procuracy (including Dr. Khuat Van Nga, the Deputy Supreme People's Prosecutor) and members of the Vietnamese National Assembly (including the Honorable Mrs. Le Thi Thu Ba, Chair of the Vietnamese National Assembly Judiciary Committee), April 5-6, 2010
  • Narcotic Prosecution Clinic, Adjunct Professor of Law and Lecturer, University of San Francisco School of Law, 1990 - 1993

Awards and Honors

  • Environmental Protection Agency Bronze Medal for Commendable Service, Aug. 2019; Recognition of outstanding performance in a Federal Clean Water Act jury trial.
  • Bronze Medal, United States Men's National Rowing Championships (1984)
  • California Lawyer of the Year (Criminal Law) (2013)
  • Environmental Protection Agency Bronze Medal Award for Commendable Service (2018)

Academic Distinctions

  • Executive Degree in Homeland Security Studies, Center for Homeland Defense and Security, located at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California (November 2009 to July 2010)
  • Snodgrass Moot Court Competition, Award Winner, best written brief competition, University of California, Hastings College of the Law

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