Thursday, May 23, 2013

DW Women in Law Profile – Maureen Burke

It’s been 31 years, since Dickinson Wright Attorney Maureen Burke joined the firm after clerking for the Honorable Ralph M. Freeman, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan and she has enjoyed every minute of working for the firm.

Maureen chose to go to law school after receiving her B.A. and A.M.L.S. from the University of Michigan and working as a Librarian at the Detroit Public Library’s Main Branch, right across from the Detroit Institute of Arts.

“I chose law school because my brother and best friend were in law school at the time and I thought, I can do that!” says Maureen as we talked in her office at the firm’s Troy location. “The skills you needed for law school were right up my alley.”

After her clerkship she chose Dickinson Wright, not only for the quality of the firm, but for the rotation the firm had in place for its young attorneys. The rotation was a way for young attorneys to learn about different practice areas and find the practice that best suited them and their career path. While Maureen was in the Banking Practice Group, she fell in love with the idea of drafting and transaction work. She eventually joined the Real Estate Practice Group where she became what they call a “Dirt Lawyer”, focusing on deals and transactions while still providing lending assistance when needed.

“Making a deal happen and being a part of the transaction, especially since real estate is a tangible product – when it’s done you can see the building and people using it – in that way it’s gratifying to see the deal come together,” says Maureen. “It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

Maureen has worked with a lot of great clients on a number of interesting cases. One involved the LaFarge Cement Terminal in Detroit, moving the location of the terminal from Atwater Street in downtown Detroit to a brownfield site next to Zug Island. Maureen says that the transaction was essentially a land swap, but now the new site is part of the area where the New International Trade Crossing bridge is to be built and she expects there will be more to negotiate on behalf of LaFarge in connection with the new bridge.

Another transaction that is close to Maureen’s heart is a high-end residential development that is planned for Harsens Island. The project has been ten years in the making but was sidelined by the economy and is now coming back on line. Maureen use to go to Harsens Island as a child so she is excited to see this project come to fruition.

When she is not busy helping clients complete their real estate deals and transactions, this globe-trotter is busy planning for her next excursion. Some of Maureen’s favorite travels have been to Tanzania, China, Morocco, and cooking school in Italy, just to name a few.

For 31 years, Maureen Burke has helped clients complete transactions that have a tangible impact on Detroit’s landscape. To read more about Maureen Burke, check out her complete bio here.