New Haven Family & Criminal Defense Attorney John Keefe

John J. Keefe

Attorney / Principal

John has been a partner in the firm since 1985 and is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Since joining the firm in 1980, he has litigated cases throughout the state of Connecticut, primarily in the areas of criminal and family law. John is an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University where he has taught criminal justice for over 25 years.

An experienced criminal defense attorney, John has litigated cases in the Geographical Area Courts, the Connecticut Superior Court, Federal District Court and Juvenile Court for over 29 years. John has been certified in criminal advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1995 and has been listed in the “Best Lawyers in America” in the practice of criminal defense – white collar and nonwhite collar in 2014. He also has extensive experience representing those accused of motor vehicle violations and has represented clients in administrative hearings before a variety of administrative agencies.

In addition to his criminal defense work, John also has extensive experience representing clients involved in family law matters, including divorces and child custody disputes, throughout the state of Connecticut. John also represents clients in family matters in the state’s juvenile and probate courts. He has been chosen to serve as a Special Master in family relations cases for the Superior Courts in New Haven, Middletown and Milford.

John has also represented clients in workers’ compensation hearings throughout the state, administrative health department hearings, and administrative motor vehicle hearings.

His appellate experience includes arguments before the Connecticut Supreme Court, the Connecticut Appellate Court, and the Workers’ Compensation Review Board. He once attempted to create a new criminal defense theory involving gambling addiction in an argument before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.

John has worked as an adjunct professor at the University of New Haven, lectured for the New Haven County Bar Association on a topic entitled “Defending Drunk Drivers,” and served on the Advisory Board for the Legal Studies Program at Quinnipiac University. He is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association, the New Haven County Bar Association, and the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. He holds an AV Level rating* with Martindale-Hubbell.

John received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1980; his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of New Haven in 1972 and his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of New Haven in 1970. He also studied international law sponsored by the University of San Diego in Paris, France, in 1979.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

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Areas Of Practice

  • Criminal Defense
  • Family Law
  • Motor Vehicle Law
  • Workers' Compensation

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Criminal Advocacy, National Board of Trial Advocacy, 1995

Bar Admissions

  • Connecticut, 1980
  • U.S. District Court District of Connecticut, 1980
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit, 1981
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1983


  • University of Connecticut School of Law, Hartford, Connecticut
  • J.D. - 1980
  • University of San Diego , Paris
  • Major: International Law
  • University of New Haven
  • Master's Degree in Business Administration - 1972
  • University of New Haven
  • Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration - 1970


  • Adjunct Professor, Criminal Justice, Quinnipiac University
  • Adjunct Professor, University of New Haven
  • Lecturer, "Defending Drunk Drivers", New Haven County Bar Association

Honors and Awards

  • Best Lawyers in America in criminal defense - white collar and non-white collar
  • AV Level Rating with Martindale-Hubbell
  • Super Lawyer, Family Law/Criminal Defense, Connecticut Magazine

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Connecticut Bar Association, Member
  • New Haven County Bar Association, Member
  • Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Member

Past Employment Positions

  • Superior Courts in New Haven, Middletown and Milford, Special Master
  • Quinnipiac University, Advisory Board, Legal Studies Program

Pro Bono Activities

  • Family Law Cases, 00/1990 to 00/1990