An of counsel member of the firm’s Detroit office, John F. Burns has many years of experience in corporate and business law, as well as in related financing, labor and employment law, and healthcare matters. In recent years he has focused his practice on addressing business and legal issues challenging nonprofit healthcare entities and on alternative dispute resolution.

Mr. Burns’ transactional practice has included acquisitions, mergers and related financing on behalf of start-ups and mature businesses in several industries, including manufacturing, healthcare and other service-related companies.

In addition, Mr. Burns has extensive experience as an arbitrator in securities, commercial and employment matters for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the American Arbitration Association and the American Health Lawyers Association.  He also mediates for Wayne Mediation Center.

Representative Client Work

  • Handled acquisitions, real estate and related financing for company-owned dealership in the United States while a member of the American Motors legal staff
  • Outside general counsel to community health and senior citizen agencies
  • On-going responsibility for legal matters manufacturing companies 
  • Served as counsel (pro bono) in Zuch v Hussey, 366 F.Supp. 553; 393 F.Supp. 1028; 547 F2d 1168 (CA6 1977)
  • Negotiated the leveraged acquisition of truck tire re-treading plants across the United States. Organized acquiring corporation and negotiated bank financing, investment by investment capital groups and supplier.  Performed all legal work as business went from zero to $35,000,000 of annual sales
  • Negotiated license between high-technology company and German firm.
  • Negotiated the leveraged acquisitions of manufacturing companies
  • Reorganized a manufacturing company and negotiated its sale to a corporation owned by the government of Austria
  • Assisted patent counsel in winning serious patent dispute without litigation
  • Resolved sensitive internal conflicts of interest among corporate partners
  • Organized privately controlled community health organization and continue to provide legal services, including structuring of additional corporations to take advantage of for-profit work and real property opportunities for this and other nonprofit entities 
  • Performed local labor ad employment law for Detroit plant of national manufacturer.  Handled all matters involved in a three-month strike
  • Arbitrates securities, employment and commercial disputes

Professional Affiliations

  • Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association (Foundation President, 1984-1986; Trustee, 1983-1991)
  • State Bar of Michigan (Foundation Fellow)
  • Michigan Attorney Discipline Board (Chairman, 1991-1993; Member, 1989-1995)
  • American Bar Association

Community Involvement

  • Judson Center (Board of Trustees; Member, Personnel Committee)
  • Association for Corporate Growth International, Detroit Chapter (President, 1996 –1997; Board Member, 1997-1999)
  • Homes For Autism Community (Director 1994-2012; President, 2002-2005; Chairman 2006-2009)
  • PIME Missionaries (Advisory Board Member, 1996-2012)
  • New Center Community Mental Health Services (Advisory Board Member, 2008-2011)



  • University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, LL.B., 1964
  • University of Detroit, M.S., 1962
  • Aquinas College, B.S., 1958


  • Michigan, 1964


Honors & Recognitions

  • Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating-AV Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated
  • Articles Editor, University of Detroit Law Journal (1963-1964)
Jump to Page