Thomas Burke

Partner He / Him / His
Philadelphia

Thomas F. Burke represents clients in complex commercial litigation, internal investigations, and enforcement actions brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and state attorneys general. Tom has litigated, arbitrated, and tried cases in civil forums around the country, and tried fourteen felony cases to verdict at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Tom frequently speaks and writes on cutting-edge issues including student loan servicing regulation, blockchain and cryptocurrency, and developments in federal criminal law. Before joining Ballard Spahr, Tom was a law clerk to the Hon. Harvey J. Bartle III of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and to the Hon. Thomas I. Vanaskie of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Experience 

Representative Matters

  • Represented a large student loan servicer challenging the legality of Connecticut’s student loan servicer licensing requirements in the District of Connecticut. In a decision of first impression in the Second Circuit, the federal district court granted summary judgment in the servicer’s favor, finding the state licensing requirements preempted as applied to federal Direct Loan servicing.
  • Defended a major pharmaceutical manufacturer in a high-stakes licensing dispute. After a month-long arbitration before a three-judge panel in Wilmington, DE, plaintiff’s damages claims were overwhelmingly rejected.
  • Defended a large federal student loan servicer in multiple class actions across the country concerning the administration of federal borrower programs under the oversight of the U.S. Department of Education. Several such actions have been dismissed with prejudice.

Professional Highlights

Pro Bono Experience

Tom maintains an active pro bono practice that focuses on litigation assistance to indigent defendants at all levels of Pennsylvania state court. He currently represents an incarcerated defendant in a PCRA records-access matter pending before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Tom has also advised institutional non-profit clients on constitutional, statutory, and regulatory compliance issues.

Judicial Clerkships

Hon. Thomas I. Vanaskie, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (2013-15)

Hon. Harvey J. Bartle III, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (2007-09)

Speaking Engagements

Speaker, "State, Legal, and Regulatory Developments for Student Loan Servicers," Education Finance Council, Membership Call, May 14, 2020

Speaker, "Preemption Update – Lawson-Ross v. Great Lakes," National Council of Higher Education Loan Resources, Membership Call, April 28, 2020

Speaker, "Student Loan Servicing Laws," National Council of Higher Education Loan Resources, March 2020 Legal Meeting, March 12, 2020

Credentials 

Education

Harvard Law School (J.D., cum laude, 2007)
Supervising Editor, The Journal on Legislation

Pennsylvania State University (B.A., magna cum laude, 2004)
Phi Beta Kappa

Admissions

New York

Pennsylvania

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois