Mr. Burdett concentrates his practice in commercial, probate, and free speech litigation in Michigan and across the country.

He has tailored his practice to meet the needs of his diverse clientele. Be it private arbitration in Detroit, New York, Washington, D.C., or Chicago, high-stakes emergency injunctive actions to protect confidential trade secrets, or precedent-setting appellate cases, Mr. Burdett understands the impact of a strong litigation strategy in obtaining the best business results for his clients.

Mr. Burdett also recognizes that sometimes the best business result for his clients does not involve litigation at all. He has experience representing members in closely-held corporations in the negotiation and sale of their membership interests. He has also represented numerous developers on all aspects of projects throughout Detroit, and has advised his clients on standard business terms and conditions necessary to best protect their interests.

In the field of probate litigation, Mr. Burdett has represented both trustees and beneficiaries in contested trust actions for private estates valued in the tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars. He has also assisted trustees in the negotiation and disposition of complicated estates often requiring creative solutions and significant judicial oversight.

Mr. Burdett is also highly skilled in the area of defamation law in Michigan. He has been involved in every case developing the standards for anonymous online defamation lawsuits in the Michigan Court of Appeals. Mr. Burdett has represented defendants in state and federal constitutional lawsuits regarding defamation, and he has worked with national litigation teams to defend and uphold Constitutional freedoms.

Mr. Burdett received his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 2001 and his B.A. from Yale University in 1998. He is the Chair of the Board for the Greening of Detroit and was previously on the Board of Directors of the Detroit Institute of Arts. Mr. Burdett is licensed to practice in the State of Michigan and before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth, Third and Federal Circuits. He is also admitted to the United States District Courts in the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan and the Central District of Illinois, as well as the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
  • Practice Areas

  • Education

    • University of Michigan Law School, 2001
      • J.D.
    • Yale University, 1998
      • B.A.
  • Admissions

    • Michigan, 2001
    • United States Court of Appeals – Third Circuit, 2013
    • United States Court of Appeals – Federal Circuit, 2012
    • United States District Court – Central District of Illinois, 2010
    • United States Court of Appeals – Sixth Circuit, 2002
    • United States District Court – Western District of Michigan, 2002
    • United States District Court – Eastern District of Michigan, 2001
    • United States Bankruptcy Court – Eastern District of Michigan
  • Professional Accomplishments

    • dBusiness "Top Lawyers," 2013
  • Memberships

    • Detroit Institute of Arts - Board of Directors, 2011 - 2017
    • Greening of Detroit - Board Chair, January 1, 2016 - Present
    • Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association - Probate Litigation Section Chair, 2017 - Present
  • Representative Matters

    • Represented the trustees assigned to negotiate, litigate, and resolve a billion-dollar claim pool in the bankruptcy and liquidation of a tier-one automotive supplier.
    • Obtained emergency injunctive relief to prevent $100 million sale of automotive supplier on behalf of a financial advisor to ensure payment of earned fees.
    • Reversed premature dismissal of multi-million-dollar silent fraud claim in Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
    • Obtained published decision from the United States Federal Circuit Court of Appeals defining important jurisdictional issue that ultimately led to a reversal of summary judgment in the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
    • Represented large steel supplier in successfully defending EEOC investigation regarding alleged discriminatory practices.
    • Represented the borrower in negotiations for the refinancing of two mixed-use skyscrapers in downtown Detroit.
    • Represented developer in negotiations with the City of Detroit for a multi-acre residential development along the Detroit Riverfront.
    • Negotiated on behalf of the purchaser for the sale and development of a multi-million dollar building in downtown Detroit.
    • Represented a trust beneficiary in the disputed removal and replacement of a trustee over a trust valued in excess of $30 million.
    • Represented charitable beneficiary from a multi-million trust where the testator had created a significant ambiguity in the trust to ensure appropriate distribution of proceeds.
    • Defined a significant area of on-line defamation law in Michigan through a series of published appellate decisions:
      • Thomas M. Cooley Law Sch. v. Doe, 833 N.W.2d 331 (Mich. Ct. App. 2013) (amicus).
      • Ghanam v. Does, 845 N.W.2d 128 (Mich. Ct. App. 2014).
      • Sarkar v. Doe, ___ N.W.2d ___ (Mich. Ct. App. 2016).
  • In the News

  • Press Releases

H. William Burdett, Jr.

450 West Fourth Street
Royal Oak, MI 48067-2557
Office: (248) 723-0381
Cell: (313) 318-9203
Fax: (248) 645-1568