BASF Press Release

BASF Statement on the Passing of Peter Keane

Peter Keane

April 19, 2022, San FranciscoThe legal community and the City of San Francisco lost a leader and dedicated public servant when Peter Keane passed away on Sunday. The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) sends its deepest sympathies and respects to ​Nancy Keane and the Keane family.  Keane was a remarkable public defender, professor, legal analyst and mentor.

A long-time BASF member, Keane became President of the Board in 1989. During Keane's presidency, BASF adopted a “Goals and Timetables” resolution that was ultimately adopted by more than 100 law firms, beginning an enduring focus on increasing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. 

Keane also served as the Vice President of the State Bar of California. Before joining BASF, Keane had served as the Chief Assistant Public Defender of San Francisco from 1979 through 1998. In all these roles, he was a highly effective advocate for criminal justice reform, authoring the San Francisco ordinance on handgun control.  He also cared deeply about public faith in the judicial branch and with his authorship of Proposition 190, helped to ensure that judicial discipline was carried out with greater speed and transparency.  

Well known locally outside the legal community for his work on the City’s Ethics Commission, Keane was also an internationally-known legal broadcast analyst educating the public on a broad range of legal issues.  He also served as Dean Emeritus and professor at Golden Gate Law School for more than 20 years.

"It would have been impossible to imagine San Francisco public life from the 1980s through the turn of the millennium without Peter Keane's moral voice, keen mind and generosity to the community," said Bar Association President Mary McNamara. “As we commemorate 150 years of history at the Bar Association of San Francisco, we honor this great man.”

BASF mourns the passing of Past President Peter Keane. We will always treasure his legacy of achievements as a lawyer, academic and community leader.

The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is a nonprofit voluntary membership organization of attorneys, law students, and legal professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 1872, BASF enjoys the support of more than 7,500 individuals, law firms, corporate legal departments, and law schools. BASF provides a collective voice for public advocacy, advances professional growth and education, and attempts to elevate the standards of integrity, honor, and respect in the practice of law.