From left: Edward D. Burke, Jr., Denise Burke O’Brien, Carol Burke, Edward D. Burke, Sr. and Joseph M. Burke
For over 50 years, Burke & Sullivan PLLC has laid down the law and supported Hamptonites all over the East End. We sat down with founder and senior law partner Edward D. Burke to talk family history, areas of practice, and much, much more.
Can you tell us a little bit about Burke & Sullivan's history?
I started the firm with John Sullivan, Esq. in 1970, but, unfortunately, he passed away in 2017. My daughter, Denise, and son, Joseph, joined the firm quite a few years ago, and although our practice has undergone a lot of changes throughout the years, the things that have remained consistent are our dedication and commitment to our clients, our reputation to get the job done efficiently and effectively, and the level of professionalism and expertise that John and I envisioned all those years ago.
How has the firm evolved with each of the different generations?
The legal profession is in our blood, and like the custodians of fine art or a superb bottle of wine, our family of legal professionals (myself; children Denise, Edward Jr. and Joseph; grandchildren attorneys Nolan O’Brien and Gavin O’Brien) have done our best to protect, cultivate and grow our brand. Since the inception of Burke & Sullivan, a Burke family member has held the prestigious position of Southampton town justice, State Superior Court justice, Suffolk district attorney, Southampton town attorney, Hempstead town attorney, Southampton town zoning board member and Southampton town architectural review board member. Grandchildren Fallon O’Brien, RN; Matthew Burke; EJ Burke; and Brendan Burke are ‘on the bench.’
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
While I consider the practice of law to be very rewarding as a whole, it brings me great pleasure when I see our clients’ gratitude, contentment and satisfaction with our services.
Painting of Burke & Sullivan’s law practice building in Southampton
How has the Hamptons community supported and responded to Burke & Sullivan's legacy?
We are, and will continue to be, local attorneys for our local courts and community. I have been practicing law for 51 years, and our firm specializes in real estate, transactional and land use, personal injury, State Liquor Authority matters, as well as trust- and estate-related matters. Some of our clients are wealthy enough to live anywhere in the world, and they often say that the East End is the most special place to them. The foundation of business and the community is so important to my family and staff.
What is your favorite part about life in the Hamptons?
I live locally in Sag Harbor and my family’s roots run very deep out here on the East End. I truly appreciate the small-town feeling of support and community. I am so lucky to have my family live close to one another and to make friends with old and new members of the community.
Anything else we can buzz for the summer?
In a resort area, the season brings back our ‘summer locals’ with a renewed energy to the community. Let’s hope we all enjoy another prosperous season!
Photography by: PHOTO COURTESY OF JULIE FISH/FISHTAIL MEDIA STUDIOS, PAINTING BY JIM GINGERICH