Keller Rackauckas LLP
Please Call: 949-476-8700Jennifer Keller
Jennifer Keller is widely regarded as one of California’s top criminal defense attorneys. In her more than 30 years of practice, Keller has handled some of the region’s highest-profile cases at the state, federal and appellate levels.
She has represented a broad swath of clients, ranging from well-known CEOs, politicians and professional athletes to police officers, military officers and receptionists. In addition, Keller has become a go-to attorney for the Southern California legal community, representing local judges, attorneys and law enforcement officials, as well as the Orange County Superior Court itself.
The former president of the Orange County Bar Association, Keller also handles parallel civil proceedings and is an expert in white-collar civil trials. She is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and has been featured twice in the Daily Journal’s “Top 100 California Attorneys” list. She has appeared as a legal commentator on all of L.A.’s newscasts, as well as on national outlets including CBS, ABC and Fox News Channel.
Please Call: 949-476-8700
After graduating from UC Berkeley and UC Hastings College of the Law, Keller began her career at the Orange County Public Defender’s office, where she quickly progressed through the ranks to handle major trials and homicides. As a deputy public defender, she tried more than a hundred cases to jury verdict and earned praise for her rapport with jurors and aggressive cross-examination style.
Keller then spent three years in the prestigious post as senior research attorney to the Fourth District Court of Appeal, where she wrote opinions for the justices on a range of cases, before returning to the Public Defender’s Office to try exclusively homicides and major cases.
In 1992 Keller entered private practice, and has since built one of the state’s most formidable criminal defense law firms.
In People vs. J.H., Keller’s client was acquitted in the accidental death of his girlfriend’s 16-month child in a so called “shaken baby” case. Keller argued the injuries were the result of an accidental fall. In the process, she debunked the science routinely used to convict parents and guardians in similar infant deaths, instead showing that they often occur naturally and without malice.
Keller has an extensive record of defending clients accused of special circumstances murder and attempted murder. Recent cases include People v M.T., in which a jury hung 9-3 for not guilty after Keller argued her client’s husband committed the killing. (The case then settled for voluntary manslaughter.) In People v L.B., Keller defeated a prosecutor’s attempt to win a “special circumstances” murder conviction, instead earning a manslaughter verdict for a victim of chronic domestic violence accused of murdering her husband. And in People v A.G., she won what was widely considered an unwinnable case by showing that an alleged attempted murder – with the defendant’s husband shot in the back of the neck after the defendant had threatened earlier that day to kill him -- actually represented a suicide attempt gone awry.
In other noteworthy cases, Keller successfully defended Chapman University’s fledgling School of Law against a lawsuit by dozens of members of its inaugural class of students, and prevented filing of criminal charges against Orange County’s CAO following the county’s early-90’s bankruptcy, which at the time was the largest municipal bankruptcy in history.
University of California, Berkeley, A.B. 1975
University of California, Hastings College of law, J.D. 1978
U.S. District Courts: Southern District of California (1983); Central District of California (1984); Eastern District of California (1997); and District of Arizona (2000).
U.S. Court of Appeals: Ninth Circuit (1984).
US Supreme Court, Sept. 1999
Pro hoc vice in U.S. District Courts in Nevada and Oklahoma.
- Orange County Bar Association
- President, 1996
- President-Elect, 1995
- Treasurer, 1994
- Secretary, 1993
- State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization
- Commissioner, 2002-2005
- Chair, Criminal Law Advisory Commission, 1993-1994
- Vice chair 1992-1993
- Commissioner 1990-1992
- Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, lawyer representative, 1996-99
- Public Law Center of Orange County, Board of Directors, 1995-2000
- California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, Board of Governors, 1992-93
- Orange County Attorneys Association (collective bargaining arm for Orange County deputy district attorneys, public defenders and county counsel)
- Vice-president 1989-91
- Table negotiator 1990
- Chapman University School of Law
- Board of Visitors, 1995-2008
Please Call: 949-476-8700
- Martindale-Hubble, “AV” rated since 1983 (highest ranking possible)
- Listed, Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers
- Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America (limited to the top ½ of one percent of American trial lawyers, by invitation only)
- American Trial Lawyers Association, “The Top 100 Trial Lawyers in California” (2007)
- Orange County Women Lawyers, Attorney of the Year (2003)
- Anti-Defamation League of Orange County & Long Beach, Jurisprudence Award (2001)
- Orange County Trial Lawyers Ass’n, Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer of the Year (2000)
- Public Law Center of Orange County, Attorney of the Year (1996)
- Constitutional Rights Foundation of Orange County, Lawyer of the Year (1983)
- The Best Lawyers in America, S. Naifeh & G. Smith, 2005-present (the oldest and most respected peer reviewed selection publication in the legal profession)
- The Los Angeles Daily Journal
- Top 100 Lawyers in California, September 2007
- California’s Top 30 Women Litigators, June 2002
- California’s Top 75 Women Litigators, May 2007
- 100 Most Influential Lawyers in California, Editors’ Pick, October 2001
- Los Angeles Magazine
- “Southern California Superlawers:” Criminal Defense Superlawyers, Top 50 Orange County Superlawyers, Top 50 Women Superlawyers, 2004-2008
- Orange Coast Magazine
- Best Lawyers in Orange County, April 2005-2008
- Los Angeles Times Magazine – Southern California’s Best Lawyers, 2007
- Fox news – regular commentator
- 48 Hours, CBS – commentator on the Michael Jackson trial
- Hard Copy, CBS – commenting on her client’s case, People vs. Stites
- Good Morning America, ABC – commentator on the Michael Jackson trial
- Court TV – commentator on the O.J. Simpson and Phil Spector trials
- KNBC and KCAL, Los Angeles – commentator on the O.J. Simpson trial
Teaching and Lecturing
- California Public Defenders Association Lecturer
- Homicide seminar, 3/86
- Sentencing seminar, 12/89
- Trial skills institute, 7/90
- Advanced trial skills institute, 1/92, 1/96, 1/97, 1/99, 2/02, 2/03;
- Annual seminar, 4/92
- “Establishing Trial Themes,” 4/04
- California Attorneys for Criminal Justice Lecturer
- Prop 115 seminars; preliminary hearings, 6/90, 7/90, 12/90
- “Advanced Trial Advocacy Workshop: Defense of Sex and Drug Cases,” 8/92
- Trial and appellate advocacy workshop, 7/93, 8/99
- Three strikes seminar, 4/94
- Faculty, fall seminar appellate program, oral argument demonstration, 12/94
- Voir dire workshop, san diego, 5/2001
- Death penalty seminar, 2002
- “Cross of experts,” Las Vegas, 2003
- Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) lecturer
- expert witnesses in criminal cases, LA/Orange County, 6/96
- Rutter Group lecturer
- “Criminal Law for Civil Practitioners,” 1/99
- California State Bar Convention Lecturer
- Orange County Bar Association lecturer
- “Advocacy in the Modern Trial: Cross-examination,” 6/01
- “When the FBI calls,” 1/01, 1/02
- “Over the Line: White Collar Crime,” 1/99
- “The Last 60 Days: Preparing Your Witnesses for Trial,” 9/10/98
- “Top Gun” closing argument competition, 5/19/98
Please Call: 949-476-8700