Senior Counsel

David D. Burnett


David Burnett applies more than a decade of experience in finance and plaintiffs-side commercial litigation to investigate complex economic and scientific issues. 

David is a part of Motley Rice’s team representing dozens of governmental entities, including states, counties, cities, towns, and townships in litigation arising from the nationwide opioid crisis. Among other work, he works closely with experts on written reports, depositions, and trial testimony, including epidemiologists who quantify abatement needs and economists who quantify harms and abatement costs. David is part of the trial team in the opioids MDL trial on behalf of the City of Huntington and Cabell County, W.Va. 

David also represents investors in complex securities fraud litigation. In Motley Rice’s case against NYSE, Nasdaq, and BATS, alleging that the stock exchanges enabled high-frequency traders’ manipulation of the markets, David deposed the President of NYSE, wrote an order of proof, and drafts briefs and letters to court.

David worked with victims of September 11 terrorist attacks on documenting their harms at Ground Zero. He has also performed detailed contractual and liability analyses in Motley Rice’s Proton Pump Inhibitor litigation against major pharmaceutical companies. 

Prior to joining Motley Rice, David served as a vice president of underwriting at Burford Capital, where he evaluated the legal and economic merits of 50 potential investments in lawsuits, up to nine figures in value each, and monitored dozens of active litigation investments. He gained experience in evaluating the cost-benefits of litigation and structuring financing terms commensurate with legal risks. 

Prior to Burford, David worked for 11 years as an associate and Of Counsel at Quinn Emanuel in New York, where he represented institutional investors as plaintiffs in litigation arising from losses on mortgage-backed securities and CDOs following the 2008 financial crisis. He recovered hundreds of millions of dollars* in dozens of favorable settlements for plaintiffs in residential mortgage-backed securities litigation, including settlements reached on his own for a client he originated. 

While completing his law degree at the University of Virginia, David clerked for an international corporate law firm in New York and a plaintiffs’ asbestos firm in Washington, D.C. During law school David was selected as a Hardy Cross Dillard Fellow (a teaching assistant in Legal Research and Writing), worked with law professors as a journal editor, and published two journal articles. 

Outside of work, David serves on the Board of Advisors of the Appalachian Mountain Club. Before law school, among other roles, David worked with at-risk youths for Outward Bound and bicycled across the country for charity.

* Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.


J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 2007

M.A., University of Texas at Austin, 2002

B.A. with high honors and distinction, University of Virginia, 1999

Licensed In

  • District of Columbia
  • New York

Admitted to Practice Before

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York