Mary Patricia Burns's Profile Image

Mary Patricia Burns

Phone: 312-541-8600
Fax: 312-541-8603

Mary Patricia Burns is the President and a founding partner of Burke Burns & Pinelli, Ltd. Her practice focuses on governmental affairs, complex financial and real estate transactions, and complex civil litigation. Ms. Burns provides general counsel legal services, fiduciary counseling, and investment-related counseling to various State of Illinois, County of Cook, and City of Chicago multi-billion dollar pension funds and their trustees. She has also rendered legal counseling and legal opinions in sophisticated financial transactions, municipal bond transactions, and conduit financings in amounts in excess of a hundred billion dollars, variously as bond counsel, underwriter's counsel, bank counsel, issuer's counsel, and borrower's counsel.

Ms. Burns has extensive experience in fiduciary and pension law issues, as well as general representation of pension fund boards and governmental entities. She is experienced in various types of municipal law, real estate development, and commercial litigation.

Ms. Burns also has experience in civil litigation matters in both state and federal courts at the trial and appellate levels. Subject matters and issues litigated by Ms. Burns include: civil RICO claims, civil rights claims, employment and labor disputes, fiduciary duty disputes, directors and officers liabilities, lender liability claims, real estate disputes, accountancy liabilities, and anti-trust claims.

Before the founding of Burke Burns & Pinelli, Ltd., Ms. Burns was a partner in the firm of Burke & Smith Chartered. Prior to that, she served as law clerk for the Honorable James C. Murray, Chief Judge of the Chancery Court in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Since 2009, Ms. Burns has served as a judge on the Illinois Court of Claims, having been appointed to the position by then-Governor Patrick Quinn and re-appointed by Governor Bruce Rauner.

Practice Areas

  • Administrative Law
  • Banking and Commercial Lending
  • Board Governance
  • Business and Corporate
  • Employment and Labor
  • Municipal Law
  • Public Finance
  • Public Pension Law
  • Real Estate

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Illinois Supreme Court (1981)
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit


  • Loyola University of Chicago
    J.D., 1981
  • University of Notre Dame
    B.A., 1978

Professional Appointments and Memberships

  • Illinois Court of Claims
    Judge (2009 - present)
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • National Association of Bond Lawyers
  • National Association of Public Pension Attorneys

Prior Experience

  • Clerk to the Honorable Judge James C. Murray, Circuit Court of Cook County (1981-1983)
  • Partner, Burke & Smith Chartered (1983-1992)