William Bernstein

William Bernstein

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP

Recognized since 2013

San Francisco, California

Practice Areas

Litigation - Antitrust

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A Leader In The Plaintiffs’ Bar

William Bernstein has practiced law for more than three decades. Who’s Who Legal called him, “a leader in the plaintiffs’ bar in the fields of complex civil litigation, antitrust, and consumer protection law.”

Notable cases Mr. Bernstein has litigated include price-fixing suits against pharmaceutical companies on behalf of retail pharmacies, consumer claims against the world’s largest vitamin manufacturers for crafting a global “vitamins cartel,” charges against natural gas and energy companies for manipulating the price of natural gas and electricity in California during the California energy crisis of 2000-2001, and qui tam claims against the Sutter hospital system for anesthesia service overcharges. These cases, in total, resulted in over $1.3 billion in settlements for consumers and businesses.

Mr. Bernstein also oversaw negotiations in the landmark settlement and injunction against De Beers for monopolizing the trade of rough diamonds in the U.S. for nearly 60 years. As featured in the 2008 Plaintiffs Hot List, The National Law Journal wrote, “The plaintiffs’ firms’ pluck, and some luck, resulted in a $295 million settlement for De Beers’ customers [and] secured De Beers’ pledge to abide by federal and state antitrust laws and accept court oversight to ensure compliance.”

Mr. Bernstein teaches settlement law as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco. He has been repeatedly recognized as a "Super Lawyer for Northern California" by Super Lawyers magazine.


  • 275 Battery Street, 29th Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94111


  • University of San Francisco, J.D., graduated 1975
  • University of Pennsylvania, B.A., graduated 1972

Bar Admissions

  • New York, New York State Bar Association
  • California, The State Bar of California


  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers - Board of Governors, 2005-Present
  • Bar Association of San Francisco - Member
  • Marin County Bar Association - Admin. of Justice Committee, 1988
  • State Bar of California - Member

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1985
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit, 2008
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 1987
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, 1975
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 1991
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, 1991

Recognized in The Best Lawyers® in America 2023 for work in:

  • Litigation - Antitrust


  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Selected for inclusion by peers in The Best Lawyers in America in field of "Litigation - Antitrust," 2013 - 2023
  • "Northern California Super Lawyer," Super Lawyers, 2004-2022
  • California Litigation Star, Benchmark Plaintiff (ranked as one of California's leading litigators in antitrust law)
  • "Consumer Attorney of the Year Finalist," Consumer Attorneys of California, 2014
  • Top Attorneys In Antitrust Law, Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel Edition, 2010, 2012
  • Lawdragon Finalist, Lawdragon, 2009-2011
  • Princeton Premier Registry, Business Leaders and Professionals, 2008-2009
  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers in California, American Trial Lawyers Association, 2008
  • Who's Who Legal, 2007
  • Unsung Hero Award, Appleseed, 2006


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