John A. Burke
(510) 420-6315
(510) 596-0899

John A. Burke

General Professional Background

John Burke is a shareholder and a member of the firm’s Toxic Tort Litigation and General Liability Defense departments. Mr. Burke is an experienced trial attorney representing primarily defendants in general liability, products liability, toxic tort, personal injury, and commercial litigation cases.  He has tried numerous cases to jury verdicts in California state courts, and in the state courts of Pennsylvania and Washington.  In the overwhelming majority of these cases, Mr. Burke obtained either a defense verdict for his client, or a verdict that was less than plaintiff’s pre-trial settlement demand.  In all, he has spent more than 70 weeks in trial.

John Burke is an aggressive and zealous litigator who devises case-specific and client-specific litigation plans and budgets which are tailored to the individual needs of his clients. He has successfully resolved hundreds of cases for his clients by way of settlement, motion practice, and trial.

Experience and Academic Background

Prior to joining Bishop | Barry, Mr. Burke practiced law as an associate and partner with three other law firms located in the San Francisco Bay Area where he represented a wide variety of clients, including Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses, and individuals.  Although Mr. Burke has spent most of his career representing defendants, he has also successfully represented plaintiffs in personal injury and commercial litigation matters.

John Burke received his B.A. in Biochemistry, with High Honors, from San Francisco State University in 1982. He earned his J.D. from the University of San Francisco in 1990, cum laude, and was a member of the USF Law Review. In 1989, Mr. Burke earned a prestigious externship with the California Supreme Court in the chambers of the Honorable Justice Edward A. Panelli.

After graduating from college but before beginning law school, Mr. Burke spent four years working as a laboratory scientist in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, of the University of California, San Francisco.  Mr. Burke published the results of his research in the professional journal, Proteins, and presented a paper and lecture on his work to the New York Academy of Sciences.

Professional Affiliations

Mr. Burke is a member of the California State Bar, the Bar Association of San Francisco, the Northern California Association of Defense Counsel, and the Defense Research Institute. 

Admitted to Practice

Mr. Burke is admitted to practice before all courts in the State of California, as well as the United States District Courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of California. He has also been admitted to practice, pro hac vice, in the state courts of Washington, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Texas.


Mr. Burke has been a regular invited speaker since 1998 at the University of California’s Continuing Education of the Bar. Over the years, he has been a panelist for the following CEB programs: Preparing Witnesses for Deposition and Trial, Summary Judgment and Other Dispositive Motions, How to Present and Attack Documentary and Demonstrative Evidence, Preparing for and Taking Depositions, Strategic Tips for Successfully Propounding and Opposing Written Discovery, A Complete Guide to PMQ Depositions, Using and Responding to CCP Section 998 Offers and Cross-Examination: Techniques and Evidentiary Issues for the Experienced Litigator.

Mr. Burke has authored the following articles:

“Who Controls Our Garbage? Why Federal Law Should Not Preempt Local Control Over Solid Waste,” California Environmental Law Reporter, November 2004.

“When Are Written Discovery Requests Truly Burdensome and Oppressive?” California Civil Litigation Reporter, April 2004.

Reported Decisions

Pleasant Hill Bayshore Disposal, Inc. v. Chip-It Recycling, Inc. (2001)
92 Cal.App.4th 678

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Of Counsel and Associates
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Marketplace Tower
6001 Shellmound Street, Suite 875
Emeryville, CA 94608

Tel (510) 596-0888
Fax (510) 596-0899