Dierdre A. Burgman is a writer and an attorney with decades of extensive legal experience. She earned her B.A. in English from Valparaiso University, her J.D. from its School of Law in the 1970s, and her Master of Laws degree (LL.M.) from Yale Law School in 1985. Ms. Burgman was first admitted in Indiana, but a few years after her admission to practice in New York in 1982, she chose not to renew her Indiana license. She was also admitted to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second and Seventh Circuits, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
After clerking for the chief judge of the Indiana Court of Appeals, Ms. Burgman returned at the invitation of her alma mater to teach for one year as a visiting assistant professor of law. She then moved to New York, where she worked as an associate for the Manhattan-based law firms Dewey Ballantine, Bushby, Palmer & Wood and Cahill Gordon & Reindel. After state government service, she was Counsel at Sullivan & Worcester and Counsel at the international firm Salans. In the private sector, she was engaged in a wide variety of work involving commercial litigation, securities litigation, and corporate governance.
In New York’s public sector, Ms. Burgman served as senior vice president and general counsel for the New York State Urban Development Corporation, where her duties included chief legal responsibility for its 42nd Street Development Project. The project included the taking by eminent domain of notoriously run-down properties to restore the street to its former status. During her tenure, multiple valuations were litigated, the New Victory Theater became the first theater to be restored, and a deal for the New Amsterdam Theater to become Disney’s flagship was negotiated and finalized. She also acted as general counsel for the subsidiary Hudson River Park Conservancy, which launched the creation of a park with bicycle and pedestrian paths along the west side of Manhattan and began commercial development of the Chelsea Piers. As well, Ms. Burgman served as a deputy Inspector General for the State of New York.
Apart from her employment, Ms. Burgman has been an active member and a leader in the larger legal community. She has held memberships and committee positions in the American Bar Association, the New York Bar Association, the New York City Bar Association and the New York County Lawyers’ Association. She was a member of the New York State Bar Association’s governing body, its House of Delegates, and a member of the Board of Directors of the New York County Lawyers’ Association and the board’s Executive Committee. She chaired that association’s Committee on the Supreme Court for three years. In 1991, she co-chaired the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the New York Supreme Court, the longest-sitting court of continuing jurisdiction in the U.S. She also conceived, edited, and oversaw the publication of the first to editions of the “Attorney’s Guide to Civil Practice in the New York County Supreme Court.
In the field of legal ethics, Ms. Burgman served as a member of the City Bar’s Committee on Professional Responsibility and its Committee on Legal Ethics. For sixteen years she was a member of the State Bar Association’s Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct, which monitors and evaluates the rules and regulations governing lawyers and the practice of law in the State of New York.
She was appointed to the City Bar Association’s Council on Judicial Administration and the County Lawyers’ Association’s Task Force on the Courts. A political Independent, she was twice appointed to serve as the County Lawyers’ representative on the New York County Democratic Committee’s Independent Screening Panel for Civil and Supreme Courts (advising on the selection of judicial candidates).
Ms. Burgman has testified before state legislature committees regarding proposed laws on civil procedure and evidence law. In addition, she testified before the Jones Commission, a body appointed by the New York Court of Appeals to make recommendations regarding rules for the imposition for frivolous conduct by attorneys in the New York State court system.
Ms. Burgman has written and lectured extensively on a variety of business law and litigation topics. She has authored and co-authored on a number of articles in law journals and contributed books on legal topics. One of these articles, “Reappraising the Role of the Shareholder in the Modern Public Corporation: Weinberger’s Procedural Approach to Fairness in Freezeouts,” 1984 Wis. L. Rev. 593-665, co-authored with Paul Cox, was reprinted as the lead article in Corporate Counsel’s Annual (1985). She has also published articles directed at a non-lawyer audience, explaining the legal issues of special concern to the public. She has been a speaker or panelist for a member of bar association programs, chiefly in the areas of corporate governance, evidence law, and civil litigation.
Ms. Burgman chaired the Board of Visitors of Valparaiso University School of Law from 1989 to 1992 and was a member of the board from 1986 to 1995. She served as a member of the school’s National Council from 2001 to 2006.
An injury to her spine has disabled Ms. Burgman from continuing an everyday office practice. She now advises on contracts and other legal matters on a limited basis. She is also researching the life of an early American statesman as the basis for a planned biography.
In light of her accomplishments, Ms. Burgman was chosen to be featured in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who in the East, and Who’s Who in Finance and Industry.