Robert D. Burke


Burke, Robert D.

Rob Burke is a member and former chair of the Tax Practice Group of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP. Mr. Burke devotes a majority of his practice to issues involving the taxation of partnerships, limited liability companies, S corporations, REITs and other entities treated as "pass-through" entities for federal income tax purposes. Within this area, he is a well recognized authority in the structuring and formation of investment funds (including venture capital, real estate and "hedge" funds) and complex commercial joint ventures and similar arrangements. The balance of Mr. Burke's practice focuses on corporate mergers and acquisitions, restructurings and financings. The core of this portion of his practice involves structuring and negotiating both taxable and tax-free corporate acquisitions. Mr. Burke also has significant experience with corporate "spin-offs" and public offerings of complex financial instruments.

Honors & Awards

  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2013-2018 editions of Best Lawyers in America for his tax law practice
  • Recognized for his exceptional standing in the legal community in the area of tax law in the 2005-2017 editions of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business , with clients saying he is "very creative in terms of the way he addresses problems" and "very knowledgeable about the market," and who are impressed "not only by his knowledge of the law, but also how to apply it to practical business circumstances." 
  • Recommended in the 2016 and 2017 editions of the The Legal 500 United States in the area of Tax: US Taxes Non-Contentious
  • Named the 2014 "Partnership Tax Attorney of the Year" in Massachusetts by Corporate Intl Magazine
  • Named a "New England Super Lawyer" (formerly "Massachusetts Super Lawyer") in the 2004-2012 issues of Boston Magazine

Publications & News


March 8, 2018

New Partnership Audit Rules in Effect; Partnerships and LLCs Should Consider Changes

A new “centralized partnership audit regime” is now in effect for partnerships, including limited liability companies (LLCs) that are treated as partnerships for tax purposes (which we refer to collectively as “partnerships”). The new regime, which was enacted by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, applies to all partnerships (domestic and foreign) for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017.

January 12, 2018

Tax Act: Key Issues for Pass-Through Entities, Including the Carried Interest

There are several key issues for pass-through entities related to the Tax Act.

January 12, 2018

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Summary

On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed sweeping tax reform legislation (H.R. 1) into law. The new law, commonly known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, makes significant changes to the Internal Revenue Code that will have an impact on individuals, pass-through businesses, corporations, tax-exempt organizations, executive compensation and international taxation.

January 3, 2018

WilmerHale Represents Viamet Pharmaceuticals in Acquisition by NovaQuest Capital Management

Viamet Pharmaceuticals (NC), Inc. today announced that it has entered into an agreement with NovaQuest Capital Management, L.L.C. for the acquisition of Viamet Pharmaceuticals, including the company's product candidate, VT-1161.

August 16, 2017

WilmerHale Lawyers Named Among the 2018 Best Lawyers in America®, Nine Recognized as Lawyers of the Year

Best Lawyers in America®—the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal industry—recognizes 107 WilmerHale lawyers and names nine partners as Lawyers of the Year in its 24th edition.

June 9, 2017

The Legal 500 United States 2017 Recognizes 125 WilmerHale Lawyers Across 28 Practice Areas

The Legal 500 United States has released its 2017 rankings, recommending 125 WilmerHale lawyers—including 12 who are named to its elite “Leading Lawyers” list and two on its “Next Generation Lawyers” list—and 28 practice areas in its 11th edition.

May 26, 2017

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2017 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers and Partners announced its rankings for the 2017 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, with WilmerHale listed among the nation's best in 50 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 86 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

December 23, 2016

WilmerHale Represents PerkinElmer in Selling Medical Imaging Business

PerkinElmer, Inc., a global leader committed to innovating for a healthier world, announced its intent to sell its Medical Imaging business, a supplier of flat panel X-ray detectors that serve as components for industrial, medical and dental X-ray imaging systems, to Varian Medical Systems.

November 11, 2016

WilmerHale Advises Memorial Sloan Kettering, The Rockefeller University and Weill Cornell Medicine in Establishment of Bridge Medicines

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, The Rockefeller University and Weill Cornell Medicine announced that they established a new drug discovery company called Bridge Medicines.

August 18, 2016

WilmerHale Advises Franklin Street Properties in $83M Closing of Common Stock Offering

Franklin Street Properties Corp. closed an underwritten public offering of its common stock on August 16, 2016.

Speaking Engagements

Professional Activities

Mr. Burke is a member of the American Bar Association's Section on Taxation and serves on its Committee on Partnerships and Subcommittee on Partnership Allocations. He is also a past member of the Subcommittee on Partnerships with Tax-Exempt Partners. Mr. Burke has taught numerous courses on taxation of venture capital funds and real estate transactions, including courses for the Practicing Law Institute, the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education program and the Institute for International Research. He is a past co-chairperson of the seminar Private Equity Tax Practices, sponsored by the Institute for International Research, and has been a guest lecturer at the MIT Center for Real Estate.


Skip Navigation Links.


LLM, Boston University School of Law, 1984

JD, magna cum laude, Cornell Law School, 1980, Order of the Coif

BA, magna cum laude, Williams College, 1976, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions


Skip Navigation Links.