Brian A. Burns, Partner


  • Columbia University School of Law, J.D., 1993
  • University of Vermont, B.A., 1989
  • Phi Beta Kappa


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  • New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Federal District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. Federal District Court, Eastern District of New York


Brian A. Burns advises and represents clients in all aspects of litigation, dispute resolution, and dispute risk assessment. His clients are principally banks, investment advisors, hedge funds and their principals, individual investors, telecommunications companies, and universities. Brian is fluent in Spanish, and handles U.S.-based disputes for clients in Spain, Ecuador, and Uruguay. His recent cases include disputes about commercial mortgage-backed securities, investment advisory agreements, tax shelters, undersea fiber optic networks, and international commodity financing agreements.

Brian regularly appears in New York federal court and the New York State Court Commercial Division. He has also litigated cases in the Delaware Court of Chancery, as well as in federal and state courts across the United States. In his arbitration practice, Brian has tried cases before panels appointed by FINRA, the AAA, and the International Centre for Dispute Resolution. In his recent arbitration hearings, Brian successfully defended his clients against claims relating to synthetic auction rate securities and premium-financed life insurance. He also was part of a trial team that successfully represented a client through a 37-day arbitration hearing with claims totaling $7.65 billion, which at the time was the highest dollar value in any AAA arbitration.

Representative Matters

Financial Litigation

  • Representation of financial institution in Illinois state court action brought by individuals who participated in tax shelters relying on foreign currency transactions;
  • Representation of broker dealer in 17-day FINRA arbitration hearing against competing broker dealer claiming to have been defrauded in connection with the purchase of synthetic auction rate securities;
  • Representation of broker dealer in multiple FINRA arbitration hearings brought by individual claimants who purchased premium financed life insurance;
  • Representation of individual investor in FINRA arbitration against broker dealer who invested her funds in unsuitable securities;
  • Representation of international bank in disputes concerning investment banking services provided in Colombia and Ecuador;
  • Representation of international bank in 5-day FINRA arbitration hearing against hedge fund whose trades failed on Italian stock exchange; and
  • Representation of financial institution as plaintiff in lawsuit against software company that failed to pay required fees under syndicated financing agreement.

Real Estate Litigation

  • Representation of financial institution that issued non-binding $125 million construction financing term sheet to developer;
  • Representation of financial institution in contract dispute relating to sale of $60 million loan for multi-family development in California;
  • Representation of financial institution in commercial mortgage put back case brought by special servicer who claimed that easements for multi-family property in Minneapolis failed to provide sufficient access;
  • Representation of hedge fund in Nevada federal court case against unprofitable movie theatre tenant claiming to have been “constructively evicted” from premises;
  • Representation of financial institution in commercial mortgage put back case brought by special servicer alleging that ground lease reset provision for iconic New York skyscraper was defective; and
  • Representation of joint venture partner in contract dispute against partner for development of property in Sag Harbor, New York.

International Commercial and Other Litigation

  • Representation of Spanish telecommunications company in 37-day International Centre for Dispute Resolution arbitration hearing relating to construction and ownership of undersea fiber optic cable network encircling Latin America;
  • Representation of Spanish and Ecuadorian telecommunications companies in contract dispute with British company relating to construction and ownership of trans-Central American undersea fiber optic cable network;
  • Representation of international bank in connection with commodities purchase financing agreement with Brazilian counterparties;
  • Representation of Mexican telecommunications company in contract dispute with software provider;
  • Representation of luxury vacation club in multiple lawsuits against members in New York and Massachusetts state court; and
  • Representation of medical school and teaching hospital in false claims “whistleblower” lawsuit brought by former medical resident.

Professional History

Prior to joining Zeisler PLLC as a partner in July 2018, Brian was a partner at Duval & Stachenfeld for eleven years, counsel at LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae, and an associate at Winston & Strawn.


Brian received his undergraduate degree in Political Science magna cum laude from the University of Vermont in 1989, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his law degree from Columbia University School of Law in 1993, where he served as an Editor for the Columbia Human Rights Law Review.