Nathaniel Burney


Nathaniel Burney has been practicing criminal law since 1996, when he defended clients as part of the Juvenile Justice Clinic of Georgetown University Law Center. After graduating with honors from Georgetown, where he was also an editor of the American Criminal Law Review, Mr. Burney served as a prosecutor in the Manhattan DA’s office under Robert Morgenthau. He spent several years as an assistant district attorney, first in the Special Narcotics office, and then in the famed Rackets Bureau. As a prosecutor, he earned a reputation for single-handedly directing large-scale, complex investigations involving organized crime, political corruption, narcotics trafficking, and financial crimes.

He founded the Burney Law Firm with the goal of putting his hard-earned experience to use, defending people facing serious charges in complex cases.

Success Stories:

As a defense attorney, Mr. Burney has gained an impressive string of victories for his clients.  See these links for representative success stories in white-collar and street-crime cases.

He has represented clients in a wide variety of matters, from high-profile federal insider trading and political corruption cases, to cases involving wiretaps and DNA evidence, to simple thefts and drug crimes.  For a more comprehensive list of offenses he has defended, see the Practice Areas page.

Writing, Speaking, Teaching:

Mr. Burney is known for his writing and speaking on the law.  In addition to his popular blog, The Criminal Lawyer, he also teaches a nationwide legal education series for West LegalEdCenter entitled “Hope for Hopeless Cases.”  He has taught courses on how to defend against wiretap evidence, DNA evidence, client confessions, and more.  His primer on international law is widely cited throughout Wikipedia and other serious websites, and has also been part of the syllabus for law school courses.  He also wrote “Understanding the Investigative Process to Better Defend Your Client” in Inside the Minds: Strategies for Defending Internet Pornography Charges (Thomson 2008).  He co-authored Antitrust Violations, 32 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 158 (1995).  He has been published in Forbes on white-collar topics.  And he is frequently quoted on current legal issues in such outlets as the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, NBC, CNN, Forbes, Crain’s, Inside Counsel, the New York Post, and once even the Onion.

When Not Defending Clients…

Mr. Burney also coaches and judges mock trials, volunteers as a small-claims arbitrator, and generally geeks out on the law.

For fun, he hikes, bikes, writes music and makes up children’s stories.  He does all his own programming, web design, and graphic design.  His manual on motorcycle riding skills has been translated into several languages around the world.  He once beat an Olympic fencer at an épée tournament, though that was a total fluke.  He has circled the globe, traveling to more countries than he can count — but he’s never been to Paris.  Or Los Angeles.

Bar Admissions:

  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • Southern District of New York
  • Eastern District of New York
  • State of New York

Community Organizations:

  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Knights of Columbus
  • Federalist Society
  • Federal Bar Council
  • Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity
  • New York City Bar Association
  • Metropolitan Republican Club