Thomas Burke

Tel 215.864.8463
Fax 215.864.8999

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.

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.
  • Represented a major pharmaceutical manufacturer in a wide-ranging federal investigation into potential violations of the anti-kickback statute and False Claims Act through the use of third-party patient assistance programs. After interviewing current and former employees, the government did not pursue claims against the client.
  • Represented an investor in a federal securities fraud action brought against a publicly traded company and its IPO underwriter in the District of Arizona. The action survived motions to dismiss, and the parties thereafter settled.
  • Represented a large student loan servicer in the course of investigations into servicing practices by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, New York Attorney General, New York Department of Financial Services, and Massachusetts Attorney General. The servicer resolved the actions on favorable terms.
  • Defended a major credit card issuer in a high-stakes jury trial in the Southern District of New York. Plaintiffs’ claims were rejected at trial and the verdict and related rulings were upheld on appeal.

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)


Author, "The Tangled Web of Student Loan Servicer Licensing Laws," Cornerstone Support, Inc. blog alert, August 22, 2019

Co-author, "Rosenstein Announces New DOJ Policies to Reduce 'Piling On' and Refocus Corporate Enforcement," Ballard Spahr alert, May 9, 2018

Co-author, "Virtual Currency Is a Commodity Regulated by the CFTC, Eastern District of New York Rules," Ballard Spahr alert, March 8, 2018

Co-author, "Courts Scrutinizing Warrants for Electronic Data," Law360, October 4, 2017 

Co-author, "How McDonnell Changes Public Corruption Prosecution," Law360, June 30, 2016

Co-author, "Supreme Court Clarifies Extraterritorial Reach of RICO," Ballard Spahr alert, June 21, 2016

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

Speaker, "The Impact of Winebarger v. PHEAA," Student Loan Servicing Alliance Weekly Membership Call, August 28, 2019

Speaker, "The Impact of Nelson v. Great Lakes," Education Finance Council, Alternative Education Loan Work Group Conference Call, July 11, 2019

Speaker, "Blockchain Technology: A Guide for Beginners," NCHER Annual Conference, June 4, 2019

Panelist, "Blockchain and Cryptocurrency, The Next Big Thing?", Governor's Office of General Counsel, OGC University 2018, Harrisburg, September 14, 2018

Panelist, "Legal Considerations of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain," The Philadelphia Bar Association Business Law Section's Banking & Commercial Finance, Cyberlaw, and Securities Regulation Committees CLE, Philadelphia, June 26, 2018

Speaker, "Initial Coin Offerings: Navigating the Legal Landscape of Digital Crowdfunding Without Going to the Dark Side," New York State Bar Association's Global Law Week, New York, June 13, 2018

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

New York


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. 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