Jeffrey Bornstein

Jeff Bornstein is one of the Bay Area’s leading and most highly respected white collar defense and trial lawyers.  Jeff has tried more than 35 criminal and civil cases before juries and judges in state and federal courts in California.  He has decades of experience representing individuals and organizations in a wide range of white-collar matters and complex civil litigation, including mail and wire fraud, RICO, public corruption, money laundering, theft of trade secrets and intellectual property, healthcare fraud, environmental, and antitrust.  Jeff has conducted corporate internal investigations and has represented companies and executives in government enforcement matters including investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Before joining Boersch & Illovsky, Jeff was a partner for almost 10 years at the international law firm of K&L Gates and, most recently a partner for almost 8 years at the litigation boutique of Rosen Bien Galvan and Grunfeld.  He entered private practice after nearly two decades as a federal prosecutor.  Jeff worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office in San Francisco in the criminal division from 1989 to 2005.  He served as the senior litigation counsel, supervised the Major Crimes Unit, and was a member of the White Collar/Securities Fraud Unit.  Before that, he served for three years in the U.S. Attorney’s Office civil division and spent four years in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office and the Bronson law firm. 

Jeff was recognized with numerous awards for service as an AUSA, including for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney by the Department of Justice and Furthering Equal Employment Opportunity by the Attorney General.  He also received commendations from numerous federal agencies, including the Secret Service, FBI, and the Department of Labor.

In 2020, Jeff was named to the Super Lawyers Top 100 list for Northern California. He has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America for Criminal Defense: White Collar since 2012 and by Northern California Super Lawyers for Criminal Defense since 2010.  He was recognized in Who’s Who Legal Business Crime Defence in London in 2014 and 2020.  Jeff was named a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers, since 2010.  He received the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Award of Merit in 2014, the Perlman Service Award from Litigation Counsel of America in 2013.

Jeffrey serves on the Criminal Justice Act panel, representing indigent clients by appointment in federal cases in San Francisco and Oakland.  He speaks and writes regularly on issues relating to government enforcement and white collar criminal defense.  He is also active in bar and community activities. 


University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), J.D., 1981

University of California, Berkeley, 1977, B.A.
High honors and distinction in general scholarship
Varsity Football Letterman, 1975 Co-Championship Team

Representative Client Matters

  • Represented a key witness and two victims in the government’s prosecution of the warden of FCI Dublin Federal Prison.
  • Representation of corporate executive and other employees in insider trading cases in 2021 and 2022.
  • Representation of various current and former PG&E employees in various criminal investigations involving the Camp Fire (2018); Kincade Fire (2019); and Zogg Fire (2020).
  • Representation of individual(s) in connection with company data breach and other computer intrusion investigations.
  • Advise an overseas manufacturer a in connection with antitrust related hiring concerns/issues.
  • Representation of individuals in several federal criminal RICO cases 2019-Present.
  • Representation of individual(s) in several healthcare fraud investigations.
  • Successful representation of Human Rights Defense Center in three First Amendment censorship cases against various county jails in 2020.
  • Representation of fishing boat owner/operator in connection with an alleged water pollution incident.
  • Advise City of Honolulu Corporation Counsel in connection with ongoing federal and state investigations relating to the HART project.
  • Co-lead counsel in civil rights class action Alameda County resulting in a consent decree to correct conditions of confinement especially with respect to out of cell and mental health care issues.
  • Representation of a key former corporate officer in SEC investigation alleging revenue recognition fraud by a major computer manufacturer resulting in no enforcement action against client. 
  • Conducted internal investigation for a startup automotive company involving the alleged theft of trade secrets. 
  • Representation of a medical device manufacturing company in a series of nationwide class action matters.
  • Successful representation of certain indirect purchaser claimants in a civil multidistrict antitrust case.
  • Co-lead counsel in a successful case against the City of Los Angeles that led to the end of procedures designed to block affordable and supportive housing developments. 
  • Obtained favorable plea agreement for San Francisco restaurant owner in high-profile criminal immigration matter.
  • Representation of an independent tugboat operator in investigation of an alleged water pollution incident.
  • Representation of captain and crew members of a large tanker vessel in connection with alleged Clean Water Act violations.
  • Successful settlement obtained for civil rights plaintiff in suit relating to his unjustified shooting by an SFPD officer.
  • Represented a key person in the Raj Rajaratnam insider-trading case.
  • Represented Solyndra in connection with two federal criminal probes following its bankruptcy filing.
  • Represented multiple PG&E employees in investigations arising from the San Bruno gas pipeline explosion.
  • Led defense team in the internal investigation and successful pre-charge defense of a school bus company in Hawaii alleged to have been involved in illegal bid rigging.
  • Successfully represented a regional pharmacy in joint federal and state investigation of alleged adulteration and misbranding of prescription drugs including controlled substances.
  • Represented the pilot of the Cosco Busan in connection with the oil spill in the San Francisco Bay after the ship struck a tower of the Bay Bridge.
  • Successfully resolved the case brought by the district attorney involving allegations of theft of an iPhone prototype.
  • Successfully defended the former chair of the audit committee in the Brocade stock option backdating litigation and investigation.
  • Successfully represented a parent threatened with charges by County Counsel for voicing concerns that her children were removed from her custody because of her blindness.
  • Representation of several individuals beginning in 2017 in a federal criminal investigation involving a major international bank. 
  • Represented a high-level employee in a ridesharing company in connection with an internal investigation.
  • Represented a key person in connection with a federal criminal and parallel civil case involving an international pharmaceutical company.
  • Representation of a person alleged to have engaged in bid rigging home and apartment foreclosure auctions.
  • Represented several individuals following a refinery fire in Richmond. 
  • Co-lead counsel representing the family in favorable settlement of a jail suicide case against San Francisco County. 
  • Successful representation of a high-level executive in an international federal criminal antitrust investigation into auto parts pricing. 
  • Co-lead counsel in the successful defense of an investment advisor, obtaining a defense verdict on all counts following a multiple week civil trial in Los Angeles.
  • Representation of the owners of a broker-dealer in connection with a FINRA investigation.
  • Led defense team in an internal investigation and representation of the owner of a seafood processing plant in Washington State regarding alleged water pollution state and federal prosecution.
  • Represented individuals in criminal antitrust investigations and cases alleging improper bid rigging and/or price cartel activities.
  • Representation of an owner of a local meat-processing facility for alleged crimes involving various federal food safety and inspection requirements.
  • Co-lead counsel in the class action trial that led to federal Court orders regarding use of force and changes to cell extraction policies in California prisons.