Press Release

A Message From the Managing Partner on the Passing of Firm Co-Founder Thomas D. Burns

March 1, 2016


As one of Boston’s preeminent trial attorneys, Tom Burns was in a class all his own. In the prime of his career, which spanned more than 50 years, he represented some of the country’s largest corporations, as well as prominent individuals, in trial courts across Massachusetts and New England. He also argued more than one hundred cases before the Supreme Judicial Court, U.S. Court of Appeals and Massachusetts Appeals Court.

I had the good fortune of knowing Tom for more than 30 years. He was a wonderful mentor and teacher, a beloved storyteller and a true gentleman. Tom also possessed a wicked sense of humor. He had a pet peeve about the appearance of attorneys at Burns & Levinson, particularly the quality of their shoes. He would often say, “You can always take the measure of a man by the shine of his shoes.” Needless to say, all the young attorneys coming up the ranks made sure their shoes were well-shined before coming to his office.

It was Tom’s greatest delight that the firm he founded with his friend and colleague Larry Levinson in 1960, not only survived, but thrived over the years. Even in retirement, he took enormous pleasure in coming into the office almost every day to chat with his friends, read about new cases and surround himself in the daily excitement that goes on within the law firm that bears his name.

Tom’s passing is a great loss not only for his family and our firm, but for the entire legal community. We at Burns & Levinson will honor his legacy the best way we know how, which is by continuing to practice law at the very highest level. Tom inspired us all to do our best work and we will strive every day to make him proud.

– David Rosenblatt

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