John Burgess

John Burgess

(617) 627-2521
Research/Areas of Interest:

-Cross-border mergers and securities
-International trade
-Law of the Sea
-Legal Protection of the Commons


  • JD, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, United States, 1976
  • BA, Yale University, New Haven, United States, 1973


John A. Burgess, Professor of Practice teaches courses on the law of the sea, and cross-border mergers and acquisitions at the Fletcher School, Tufts University. He was executive director of the School's LLM program from 2014 to 2019. Prior to his retirement in 2013, Burgess practiced law at the global law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr for 37 years, and during that time chaired the firm's corporate and international practice groups, as well as serving on its Management Committee. He represented for profit, NGO, and university clients in a range of transactions throughout Western Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. He was regularly listed in Best Lawyers in America and Massachusetts "Super Lawyers" in areas of international trade, finance, mergers and acquisitions, and securities law. At Fletcher, he has participated actively in seminars and lectures focusing on law of the sea issues, including the South China Sea, conservation of living resources, and evolving issues in the Arctic. Burgess has lectured on international mergers and securities law at the University of Iowa and Peking University School of Transnational Law, has participated in panels or seminars relating to law of the sea in Newport, Taipei and Reykjavik and is a permanent lecturer at St. Gallen University in Switzerland. He also edited the Fletcher School's online primer on law of the sea A graduate of Yale University (B.A. in history) and Harvard Law School (JD), he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Fellow of Branford College at Yale University, a member of the Board of Trustees of WBUR-FM and former President of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and former Trustee of the Roxbury Latin School. In 2021, Professor Burgess was a recipient of the Governor's Award in the Humanities from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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