John A. Burgess

Retired Partner

John Burgess retired as a partner on December 31, 2013 after 37 years of practice at WilmerHale. During that time, he represented clients in matters focusing on securities law, including public and private securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, licensing and strategic partnerships, as well as a range of international matters, including public and private placements for overseas issuers, inward and outward bound acquisition transactions, and distribution and licensing arrangements. He represented clients engaged in a wide range of technology sectors and handled more than 100 IPOs and follow-on offerings for both US and foreign issuers. Mr. Burgess was the co-chair of WilmerHale’s International Transactions Group and served on the firm's Management and Compensation Committees.

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Professor of Practice and Executive Director of the LLM program at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Career Highlights

  • €6 billion IPO by Infineon AG
  • $101 million IPO by Tangoe
  • $1 billion leveraged buyout of SS&C by Carlyle Group and related $250 million note placement
  • Subsequent IPO and offering by SS&C
  • $1.9 billion leveraged buyout of Kronos by Hellman & Friedman
  • $1.7 billion invested by Silver Lake in Skype Technologies S.A.
  • Cross border tender offers, including SS&C's acquisition of GlobeOp, a U.K. company, for $920 million and Kronos' acquisition of Unicru, a British Columbia company, for $150 million
  • Sale of WiderThan, Ltd., a Korean company, to RealNetworks, Inc. for $350 million
  • Sale of Arlington Tankers, a Bermuda company, to General Maritime for $870 million
  • Joint Venture between MIT and Government of Singapore
  • Establishment of Broad Institute by MIT and Harvard University

Professional Activities

Mr. Burgess is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, an adjunct professor of international law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a life member of the United States Naval Institute. He is a former chairman of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and trustee of the Roxbury Latin School; he currently is a member of the Board of Overseers of WBUR. He is also a member of the American Bar Association, the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Boston Bar Association.


  • Selected by peers for inclusion in the 2006-2015 editions of The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of international trade and finance, M&A and securities/capital markets law. In 2015, he was named the Boston Securities/Capital Markets Law "Lawyer of the Year." 
  • Listed as a leading lawyer in IT by the Legal Media Group in their Expert Guides, Guide to the World's Leading Technology, Media & Telecommunications Lawyers 3rd Edition
  • Named a "New England Super Lawyer" (formerly "Massachusetts Super Lawyer") in the 2004-2013 issues of Boston Magazine
  • Named one of the top five IPO lawyers in the US in 2000 by IPO Reporter

Insights & News


  • Education

    • JD, Harvard Law School, 1976

      cum laude
    • BA, Yale University, 1973

      summa cum laude
  • Admissions

    • Massachusetts



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