William Burke

Contact Information:

17 West Gay Street, Suite 200
West Chester, PA 19380

Phone: 610.692.1371
wburke@utbf.com

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William J. Burke, III

Bill Burke is a founding member of Unruh Turner Burke & Frees, and has been practicing real estate and business law in Chester County for more than three decades. Bill advises on commercial and other real estate transactions and development initiatives, corporate and business acquisitions, taxation, 1031 exchanges, and general business representation of closely held companies.

Bill is a trusted adviser who serves as a balanced sounding board to everyone around him. He is valued by clients and colleagues alike for his legal intellect, practical approach to problem-solving, business judgment, and skill in negotiating and closing sophisticated transactions. Bill is at his best when negotiating complicated real estate or business transactions and tackling complex real estate title problems or other challenges that might arise in a deal.

Practical and thoughtful, Bill personally cares about realizing each client’s objectives. A direct communicator, Bill tells his clients what he thinks and what he believes are reasonable expectations and outcomes for the matter at hand. As a result, clients appreciate his honesty, transparency and straight-forward approach to problem-solving.

Bill’s clients include privately held commercial real estate developers, homebuilders, land trusts, closely-held businesses, investors and individuals. He represents such clients in connection with the acquisition, sale, financing, leasing and development of commercial properties and land intended for residential, commercial and retail development. He advises clients on the structure of, and creates documents pertaining to, residential and commercial condominiums and planned communities. He represents conservation organizations as well as landowners in the negotiation, interpretation and enforcement of conservation easements. Bill also represents closely-held businesses in connection with the formation and governance of business entities, and drafting organizational documents such as partnership agreements, operating agreements and shareholder agreements, as well as in connection with business sales and acquisitions. In addition, he represents both financial institutions and borrowers in connection with the documentation and closing of construction, acquisition and other financing transactions.

Bill has been listed numerous times as a “Pennsylvania Super Lawyer” in Philadelphia Magazine, and as a “Top Lawyer” by Main Line Today Magazine. He holds a preeminent “AV” rating from Martindale Hubbell, recognizing superior legal ability as judged by his peers. Bill is also an occasional lecturer for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute on matters relating to real estate transactions.

Practice Areas

Education

  • Dickinson School of Law, J.D. (1984)
    • Member, Woolsack Honor Society
  • New York University, LL.M., Taxation (1988)
  • Dickinson College (1981)
    • B.A., Philosophy, cum laude

Admissions

  • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (1984)

Memberships

  • Chester County Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
William J. Burke, III

Rated by Super Lawyers
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Main Line Today Top Lawyer 2022

Latest From William Burke

22

Jul

Unruh Turner Burke & Frees Attorneys Named to Chester County’s Top Lawyers List for 2024

We are thrilled to announce that 21 of our attorneys have been named to the Daily Local News’ Reader’s Choice Top Lawyers of Chester County list for 2024! This is the fourth consecutive year firm attorneys have received this honor.

We would like to extend our sincere congratulations to the following attorneys for being recognized …

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17

May

Sixteen Unruh Turner Burke & Frees Attorneys Selected To The 2024 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers List

Unruh Turner Burke & Frees is proud to announce that eleven firm attorneys have been selected to the 2024 Super Lawyers list and five firm attorneys have been selected to the 2024 Pennsylvania Rising Stars list. Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas …

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17

Aug

13 Unruh Turner Burke & Frees Lawyers Recognized In The 2024 Editions Of The Best Lawyers In America® And The Best Lawyers In America: Ones To Watch®

Unruh Turner Burke & Frees is proud to have ten lawyers recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® and three in The Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America 2024 editions. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence.

Best Lawyers recognitions are compiled …

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21

Jul

Every Attorney At Unruh Turner Burke & Frees Named To The Daily Local News 2023 Top Lawyers List For The Second Consecutive Year

Daily Local News readers voted for Chester County’s Top Lawyers in the annual Top Lawyers Readers’ Choice Poll earlier this year. Readers voted online for their favorite lawyers in various practice areas.

This is the second year that every lawyer at the firm has been recognized and the third consecutive year that firm attorneys have …

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19

May

Fifteen Attorneys at Unruh Turner Burke & Frees Recognized by Pennsylvania Super Lawyers® for 2023

Unruh Turner Burke & Frees (“UTBF”) is pleased to announce that eleven attorneys have been selected to the 2023 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list and four firm attorneys have been selected to the 2023 Pennsylvania Rising Stars list. Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice …

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28

Nov

UTBF Receives National Ranking for Land Use and Zoning Law by U.S. News & World Report’s 2023 Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms in America”, and Ranks Regionally in Multiple Practice Areas

Unruh Turner Burke & Frees (UTBF) was honored to be named among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Lawyers ® “Best Law Firms in America” again for 2023. The firm earned a National “Tier 1” ranking in Land Use and Zoning Law for the second year in a row; a Metropolitan “Tier 1” ranking for Philadelphia …

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31

Aug

Eleven UTBF Attorneys Recognized By Best Lawyers In America®

Unruh Turner Burke & Frees (UTBF) is pleased to announce that eleven UTBF attorneys have been recognized in the 2023 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch™.

For more than 40 years, Best Lawyers has been recognized as a reliable and unbiased resource to identify top legal professionals. …

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12

Aug

Fourteen Attorneys at Unruh Turner Burke & Frees Named to “2022 Top Lawyers” List by Main Line Today Magazine

Unruh Turner Burke & Frees is honored to have fourteen attorneys named to Main Line Today’s “2022 Top Lawyers” list. Each year Main Line Today publishes a list of “Top Lawyers” in the region. Attorneys are nominated by their peers and vetted through the magazine’s editorial process. Main Line Today is a regional magazine focusing …

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25

Jul

Every Attorney at Unruh Turner Burke & Frees Receives the Daily Local 2022 Top Lawyers Reader’s Choice Award

Chester County has voted and the results are in. Every attorney at Unruh Turner Burke & Frees (UTBF), one of Chester County, Pennsylvania’s largest law firms, has been voted a Top Lawyer for 2022 by Daily Local readers. Unruh Turner Burke & Frees’ attorneys were recognized in the following practice areas:

Brian D. Boreman

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10

Jun

Eleven UTBF Attorneys Recognized by Pennsylvania Super Lawyers in 2022

Ten attorneys at Unruh Turner Burke & Frees have been named to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list for 2022, in addition to an attorney being named among the 2022 Pennsylvania Rising Stars. The Rising Stars list includes attorneys who are 40 years old or younger or who have been practicing law for 10 years or …

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10

Nov

UTBF Listed Among U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms in America”

Unruh Turner Burke & Frees (UTBF) was honored to be named among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Lawyers ® “Best Law Firms in America” again for 2022. The firm earned a National “Tier 1” ranking in Land Use and Zoning Law; a Metropolitan “Tier 1” ranking for Philadelphia in three practice areas: Land Use …

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9

Sep

UTBF Attorneys Recognized By Best Lawyers In America®

WEST CHESTER, PA ─ Unruh Turner Burke & Frees (UTBF) is pleased to announce that ten UTBF attorneys have been recognized by Best Lawyers in America.

In the area of Real Estate Law, partners William J. Burke, III, Theodore F. Claypoole and Donald C. Turner were named to the Best Lawyers …

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30

Jul

Main Line Today Magazine Recognizes 13 Unruh Turner Burke & Frees Attorneys as “Top Lawyers” in 2021

Unruh Turner Burke & Frees is honored to once again have multiple attorneys named to the annual “Top Lawyers” list by Main Line Today magazine. Main Line Today is a regional magazine focusing on the communities, traditions and lifestyles of Philadelphia’s western suburbs. Attorneys are nominated by their peers and vetted through the magazine’s editorial …

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16

Jul

Twenty UTBF Attorneys Named Best Lawyers in Chester County by the Daily Local News Readers Choice

Unruh Turner Burke & Frees is honored to have twenty attorneys named to the Daily Local News 2021 Best Lawyers Readers Choice list. UTBF attorneys recognized are:

Brian D. Boreman was selected in Labor & Employment and Employment Discrimination William J. Burke, III was selected in Real Estate Theodore F. Claypoole was …

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28

May

Twelve UTBF Attorneys Recognized by Pennsylvania Super Lawyers in 2021

Twelve attorneys at Unruh Turner Burke & Frees have been named to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list for 2021. Additionally, three attorneys were named among the 2021 Pennsylvania Rising Stars. The Rising Stars list includes attorneys who are 40 years old or younger or who have been practicing law for 10 years or less.

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24

Mar

UTBF Assists Brandywine Conservancy In Preserving 577 Acres In Chester County For Public Nature Preserve

West Chester, Pennsylvania: Unruh Turner Burke & Frees is pleased to have represented and assisted Brandywine Conservancy in acquiring and preserving over 577 acres of land in Lower Oxford and West Nottingham Townships, Chester County.

William Burke represented Brandywine which, with invaluable support from the Oxford Area Foundation and grant funding from the Chester …

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23

Dec

UTBF Listed Among U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms In America”

Unruh Turner Burke & Frees (UTBF) was named among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms in America” for 2021. The firm earned a Metropolitan “Tier 1” ranking for Philadelphia in Land Use and Zoning Law; a National “Tier 2” ranking in Land Use and Zoning Law; and a Metropolitan “Tier 3” …

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3

Sep

Seven UTBF Attorneys Recognized By Best Lawyers in America

Unruh Turner Burke & Frees (UTBF) is pleased to announce that six of our partners are listed among 2021’s Best Lawyers in America®. This year’s honorees include William J. Burke, III and Theodore F. Claypoole for Real Estate Law, David M. Frees, III for Trusts and Estates, Amanda J. Sundquist and …

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9

Jun

Ten UTBF Attorneys Named Among 2020 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Honorees

Eight attorneys at Unruh Turner Burke & Frees have been recognized by Pennsylvania Super Lawyers for 2020. Additionally, two attorneys were named among the 2020 Pennsylvania Rising Stars. The Rising Stars list includes attorneys who are 40 years old or younger or who have been practicing law for 10 years or less.

The UTBF attorneys …

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23

Jul

Every Partner at UTBF Named a Top Lawyer by Main Line Today Magazine

For the second year in a row, every partner at Unruh Turner Burke & Frees was named to the 2019 “Top Lawyers” list by Main Line Today magazine. Attorneys are nominated by their peers and vetted through the magazine’s editorial process. Sixteen attorneys at the firm, including all partners, were named to the list in …

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13

May

Nine UTBF Attorneys Named Among 2019 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Honorees

Eight of UTBF’s lawyers were named to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Lists for 2019. Included among this year’s Pennsylvania Super Lawyers are:

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6

Feb

William J. Burke, III Reinstalled As Solicitor To The HBA Of Chester And Delaware Counties

WEST CHESTER, PA, February 6, 2019 ─ William J. Burke, III was reinstalled as Solicitor to the Home Builders Association (“HBA”) of Chester and Delaware Counties on January 23, 2019. The HBA’s Installation of Officers and Directors dinner was held at McKenzie’s Brew Pub in Malvern. Mr. Burke is a founding member of Unruh …

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27

Jul

Every Partner at UTBF Named a 2018 Top Lawyer

The results are in…

Every partner in our firm was named among the 2018 “Top Lawyers”

We are pleased to announce that 16 attorneys at Unruh Turner Burke & Frees, including all partners, are named to Main Line Today’s “Top Lawyers” list for 2018.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Stephen P. Lagoy*

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22

May

Ten UTBF Attorneys Recognized By Super Lawyers® This Year

UTBF is pleased to announce that nearly half of the firm’s attorneys were included among this year’s “Super Lawyers” and “Rising Stars” lists.

This year’s “Super Lawyers” include:

Brian D. Boreman William J. Burke, III John K. Fiorillo David M. Frees, III Stephen P. Lagoy Andrew D.H. Rau READ MORE

31

Jul

Fifty Percent of UTBF Attorneys Named to Main Line Today’s Top Lawyers 2017

UNRUH TURNER BURKE & FREES is honored to have half the firm’s attorneys named to Main Line Today’s Top Lawyers list for 2017.

Litigation: Our litigation department concentrates on business disputes, construction claims, creditor’s rights, employment and labor disputes, estate and orphans court litigation, mortgage foreclosures, real estate contract and title disputes, and shareholder …

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24

May

William J. Burke, III Participates on Panel at CII Council Presentation

On May 17, 2017  William Burke participated as one of a panel of three experienced Chester County real estate lawyers in a presentation entitled “Contracts and Booby Traps – How to Avoid Legal Issues in CRE Brokerage” for  members of the CII Council (Chester County Commercial Industrial Investment Council).  The …

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18

May

Nearly Half of UTBF’s Attorneys Recognized by Super Lawyers in 2017

Eight of the 19 attorneys at Unruh Turner Burke & Frees have been recognized by Pennsylvania Super Lawyers for 2017. Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters rating service and publication, selects outstanding attorneys by utilizing a multi-phase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. Only 5 percent of Pennsylvania attorneys receive the …

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21

Apr

UTBF Sponsors the CII Council Annual Meeting

Unruh Turner Burke & Frees was proud to sponsor the Annual Meeting and Luncheon of the Chester County Commercial Industrial Investment Council (“CII Council”) held Thursday, April 20th at the Chester Valley Country Club in Malvern. The CII Council is a not-for-profit membership organization for professionals involved in commercial and industrial real estate in Chester …

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12

Apr

Simple Rules for Small Business (Part 1)

By: William J. Burke, III

Introduction

As business lawyers and litigators we see how business legal problems arise and play out in many varied contexts. We see how business operational issues result in legal disputes, which can then become serious financial problems. In many cases, the risk, expense and valuable …

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26

Jan

William J. Burke, III Selected as Solicitor to the HBA of Chester and Delaware Counties

William J. Burke, III was recently selected Solicitor to the Home Builders Association (“HBA”) of Chester and Delaware Counties. He was sworn in at the Construction Forecast & Installation event held at the Concord Country Club on January 18th. Mr. Burke is a founding member of Unruh Turner …

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15

Aug

Six Unruh Turner Burke & Frees Attorneys Recognized as “2016 Top Lawyers” by Main Line Today Magazine

Six Unruh Turner Burke & Frees attorneys have been named to the 2016 Top Lawyers list by Main Line Today Magazine. The annual list of top local attorneys, as chosen by their peers, appeared in the August 2016 issue of Main Line Today. Please join us in congratulating:

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25

May

Nine UTBF Attorneys Recognized by Super Lawyers

Utilizing a multi-phase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation, Super Lawyers®, a Thomson Reuters publication, has named eight Unruh Turner Burke and Frees attorneys as Pennsylvania Super Lawyers® for 2016. One attorney has been named as a 2016 Pennsylvania Rising Star. Each year only 5 percent of Pennsylvania attorneys receive the …

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21

Apr

Do I Really Need a Survey?

If you are buying a house, a lot, or any real estate for that matter, should you be getting a survey? The answer is probably yes.

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7

Apr

New HUD Guidance On Use Of Criminal Records To Evaluate Tenants, Buyers And Borrowers

By: William J. Burke

The Office of General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) has issued guidance dated April 4, 2016 addressing how improper use of criminal background information by applicants for sale, rental or financing of housing that is subject to the Fair Housing Act (“Act”) may violate …

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25

Jun

Unruh Turner Burke & Frees Attorneys Recognized as Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

Unruh Turner Burke & Frees is pleased to announce that eight of the firm’s attorneys have been selected as Pennsylvania Super Lawyers for 2015. One additional attorney was named as 2015 Pennsylvania Rising Stars.

The lists appeared in the June 2015 issues of Philadelphia magazine and Pennsylvania Super Lawyers magazine. Each year only 5 percent …

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31

Oct

Commonwealth Pipeline Coming Through Chester County?

By: William J. Burke, III

A new interstate natural gas pipeline may be coming through Chester County, Pennsylvania to transport natural gas out of northern Pennsylvania.

The Commonwealth Pipeline (http://www.commonwealthpipeline.com) is in the planning stages and may pass through several Northern Chester County Townships on its way from Lycoming County to Berks County and beyond. …

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18

Dec

Commonwealth Pipeline Coming to Chester County, Pennsylvania

By: William J. Burke, III

Commonwealth Pipeline is looking to construct an interstate natural gas pipeline from Lycoming County that is planned to pass through several northern Chester County Townships (which may include Upper Uwchlan, East Nantmeal, Warwick, and possibly others).

The timing and the route – and perhaps the pipeline itself – are …

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16

Mar

The Limits of Limited Liability

By: William J. Burke, III

Business owners form corporations, limited partnerships and limited liability companies to protect their personal assets from debts, claims and liabilities that can arise out of any business. Although the liability protection afforded by corporations, LPs and LLCs is real and worthwhile, it is far from absolute, and there …

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15

Mar

Choosing the Right Business Entity

By: William J. Burke, III

Entrepreneurs starting a new business often want to protect their personal assets and avail themselves of liability protection afforded by various types of business organizations.

But what kind of business organization? There is an “alphabet soup” of entity types from which to choose: corporations (“S” Corps or “C” Corps), …

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31

Dec

Creditor of One Spouse Gets Joint Assets

By: William J. Burke

Can the creditor of one spouse reach funds in the spouses’ joint account to satisfy the debt? A Delaware County Pennsylvania judge said “yes” in a recent case, Gross v. Laver. Although property jointly held by husband and wife as entireties property, including cash in joint bank accounts, cannot usually …

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22

Apr

Read Your Title Report!

By: William J. Burke, III

Whether you are buying a home, a lot on which you hope to build your dream home, an investment property, or land that you hope to develop, the quality of title is often the most important aspect of the transaction. Title problems, such as easements, may impact the value …

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9

Apr

Should You Get a Survey Before Buying that Property?

By: William J. Burke, III

Professional developers almost always obtain a new survey before buying property for further development, yet consumers buying homes or building lots for personal use, and casual investors buying investment properties such as existing office buildings or apartments, get a survey infrequently. What do the developers know that you don’t? …

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West Chester, PA
17 West Gay Street
P.O. BOX 515
West Chester, PA 19380
(610) 692-1371
Phoenixville, PA
120 Gay Street
P.O. Box 289
Phoenixville, PA 19460
(610) 933-8069