Senior Counsel

David D. Burnett

As a part of Motley Rice’s opioid litigation team, David Burnett applies more than a decade of experience in plaintiffs-side commercial litigation and finance to investigate complex economic issues in an effort to hold opioid companies responsible for the current epidemic.


David's practice includes working on behalf of dozens of clients— cities, counties, townships and other municipalities—in the National Prescription Opiate MDL, and in separate investigations and litigation filed in state courts.  

In addition to opioids, David also represents individual and institutional investors in complex securities fraud litigation.

Prior to joining Motley Rice, David served as a vice president of underwriting at Burford Capital, the world’s largest litigation finance firm, where he evaluated potential investments in dozens of lawsuits and recovered tens of millions of dollars in entitlements for investors, among other duties. 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, where he represented institutional investors as plaintiffs in litigation and investigations arising from losses on mortgage-backed securities and CDOs following the 2007 financial crisis. He recovered hundreds of millions of dollars* in dozens of favorable settlements for plaintiffs in residential mortgage-backed securities litigation. David also recently worked as a consultant on SEC compliance matters for a Virginia wealth-management firm. 

While completing his law degree, David clerked for a plaintiffs’ asbestos firm in Washington, D.C. and an international corporate law firm in New York. During law school David was selected as a Hardy Cross Dillard Fellow, was an editor of the Journal of Law and Politics, and was a member of the Journal of Social Policy and the Law. He published an article on billboard regulation in the Journal of Law and Politics, cited by the Ninth Circuit, and an article on nutrition policy in the Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law.  

Outside of work, David is a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, the country’s oldest outdoor organization, and serves on its Board of Advisors. He is also a competitive cyclist, avid hiker, and drives a racecar on track. 

*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Open Bio


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

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