William Shepherd is a trial lawyer in Holland & Knight's West Palm Beach and Washington, D.C., offices. Mr. Shepherd, who also serves as executive partner of the firm's West Palm Beach office, represents clients involved in civil and criminal government investigations. He also assists the general counsel of public and private companies in conducting sensitive internal investigations and compliance matters. In addition to his enforcement practice, Mr. Shepherd handles complex civil litigation in related subject matters. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Shepherd served, at the appointment of the attorney general, as the statewide prosecutor of Florida and earlier in his career, as a prosecutor in Miami, Florida.

Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers guide has recognized Mr. Shepherd since 2013 for Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations.

  • In the 2013 guide, Mr. Shepherd was described as "first and foremost he has great judgment and a far greater sense of the bigger picture. He is not drawn in to unnecessary conflicts or fights if they do not serve the client."
  • In the 2018 guide, "One hugely impressed client attests: 'Bill is among the very best lawyers with whom I have ever worked and I would strongly recommend him for any matter, even the most complex and challenging from legal, practical and public perspectives.'"

Mr. Shepherd was elected to serve as chair of the 20,000 member Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association and served as a member of its Global Anti-Corruption Task Force and as division director of its White Collar Crime Division.

White Collar Defense and Investigations

Mr. Shepherd has represented individuals and companies targeted for investigation and prosecution at the local, state and federal level. He has been engaged to represent individuals in complex international matters prosecuted by multiple U.S. Attorney's Offices and other matters prosecuted by the Fraud Section, Antitrust Division and Tax Division at the U.S. Department of Justice as well as matters investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Attorney General Practice

As a seven year veteran of the Florida Attorney General's Office and a former Division Director of the Year, Mr. Shepherd brings a great depth of knowledge and appreciation for the pitfalls, both civil and criminal, facing clients under investigation by state attorneys general.

In private practice, Mr. Shepherd has assisted Fortune 500 companies and family-owned businesses to resolve matters with state attorneys general, including

  • qui tam litigation
  • consumer fraud and trade practices
  • environmental compliance and violations
  • healthcare/Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCU)

Internal Investigations

Given Mr. Shepherd's broad experience as a prosecutor directly handling and supervising hundreds of proactive investigations, he is regularly called upon by general counsel to handle and manage complex internal investigations. In the last several years, Mr. Shepherd has been retained by companies, their boards or special investigative boards, in both public and private settings, to handle investigations in the following areas:

  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
  • cybercrime and data breaches
  • human trafficking and supply chain issues
  • theft and embezzlement
  • securities fraud insider trading
  • bank fraud and board self-dealing
  • university procurement and contracting
  • employee misconduct – financial misconduct and sexual misconduct  
  • sports industry investigations

With the rise in concern for student well-being at private schools, Mr. Shepherd has been called on by schools and boards of trustees to serve as an internal investigator for both current and historic cases involving sexual misconduct and boundary violations. He has conducted these investigations at some of our nation's most prestigious day and boarding schools and universities. 

Civil Litigation

Mr. Shepherd's broad trial experience makes him well suited to assist clients in large-scale civil litigation. Having tried more than 40 jury trials to verdict, Mr. Shepherd is highly knowledgeable in the dynamics of trial work and based on his deep experience in this area, he was asked to write the introduction to Trying Cases to Win, a seminal work in the field that was updated in October 2013; it is used by lawyers and law professors around the country. As a former member of The Florida Bar Rules Committee, he also has a deep understanding of the academic aspect of the practice and how to maximize ways to be most effective.

Compliance Training

Realizing that most corporate actors understand that good ethics and compliance make for good business, Mr. Shepherd regularly meets with clients to update their existing compliance programs and to train global sales staff to assure that problems are avoided before they are created. Few things hinder corporate growth more than an employee or division looking for short-term progress by cutting corners on safety or regulatory compliance. Mr. Shepherd advises clients on the following specific subject matters:

  • federal anti-human trafficking regulations
  • FCPA and global anti-corruption
  • healthcare fraud and anti-kickback

Public Advocacy

In the last several years, Mr. Shepherd has testified before Congress, the U.S. Sentencing Commission and the Florida Legislature on a number of issues of importance in the law. He has testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on the growing significance of overcriminalization. In furtherance of this public advocacy, Mr. Shepherd was called upon, pro bono, to write the amicus brief before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal and the United States Supreme Court in the landmark case overturning US. v. Yates and the conviction of commercial fisherman John Yates under Sarbanes-Oxley for the "destruction" of three red grouper. The case was highlighted and published in a Wall Street Journal Op Ed written by Mr. Shepherd the day of the oral argument.


  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D.
  • Georgetown University, A.B., English, History
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Judicial Nominating Commission for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, 2019-2022
  • American Bar Association, Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence
  • American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section, Past Chair, 2011-2013; Member, 1994-Present
  • American Bar Association, House of Delegates, 2009-2012; 2017-2019 
  • American Bar Association, Global Anti-Corruption Initiatives Task Force, 2010-Present
  • American Bar Association, Litigation Section, 1994-Present
  • American Bar Association, Board of Governors
  • Federalist Society, Founding Board Member, Miami Lawyers Chapter, 1997-Present
  • Economic Forum of Palm Beach County, Board of Directors, 2012-Present
  • Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, Founding Member of the Trustees Program 
  • U.S. Military Academies Nomination Board for Congressman Tom Rooney
  • United States Supreme Court Historical Society, Past State Chair
  • Take Stock in Children, Palm Beach Board Member, 2012-2013
  • Palm Beach Dramaworks, Honorary Director
  • Leadership Florida Cornerstone Class XXXVI
Honors & Awards
  • Power Leaders in Law, South Florida Business Journal, 2017
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, West Palm Beach Criminal Defense: White-Collar Lawyer of the Year, 2018
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Criminal Defense: White Collar, 2017-2020; Litigation - Banking and Finance, 2019, 2020  
  • Most Effective Lawyer Finalist, Criminal Law, Daily Business Review, 2014
  • Who's Who Legal 100: Investigations, 2014, 2015 
  • The International Who’s Who of Investigations Lawyers & Forensic Experts, 2014
  • Top Lawyer, South Florida Legal Guide, 2014, 2015
  • Chambers USA - America's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations, 2013-2020
  • Florida Super Lawyers magazine, 2012-2019
  • Florida Legal Elite, Florida Trend magazine, 2012, 2017
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated
  • Attorney General's Outstanding Division Director, 2008


Speaking Engagements