George F. Burns
Attorney at Law
Bernstein Shur

George Burns was born in Boston, Massachusetts, raised in Maine, and is admitted to practice in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York. After practicing commercial, corporate, and securities law with Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle (now Nixon Peabody) in Rochester, New York, he moved back to Maine and began his litigation practice. In 1980, George and another partner started the law firm Burns, Ray, DeLano, Macdonald, which merged with Bernstein Shur in 2001.

George's concentration is on litigation and arbitration of business and construction disputes. He is a member of the firm's Construction and Litigation Practice Groups, and its Dispute Resolution Group. For over twenty-five years, he has assisted clients in the forest products industry, and represents several trade associations devoted to that industry, including the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association, the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association, and the National Lumber and Building Materials and Dealers Association.

George's trial and appellate experience has been wide-ranging. In addition to numerous construction cases (involving schools, water and sewage treatment plants, power plants, recreational facilities, bridges, and boats), George has tried cases involving partnership and similar fiduciary duty disputes, insurance coverage issues, antitrust and securities claims. For over twenty-five years he has managed asbestos litigation in Maine for a national client.

George has contributed to the drafting of legislation in the areas of securities law and multiple defendant litigation, the latter most recently resulting in the adoption of the so-called "Pierringer" release statute (14 M.R.S.A. Section 163), which enables defendants settling with a plaintiff to achieve outright dismissal from other defendants in the cases.

His publications include "Maine Product Liability Law," National Business Institute, 1986; "Mechanic's Liens: Some Considerations for Contract Administration," Construction Claims Monthly, 1981; "In Praise of Pierringer: The Legislature Should Codify Pierringer Settlements," Maine Bar Journal, January 1996; "Securities Law in Maine After the Litigation Reform Act of 1995," Maine Lawyer's Review, December 1996; and Maine's New Business Court: The Start of Something Big?, July 2007; "Family Dynamics Consultants and Lawyer-Mediators: Early Intervention Works for Family Businesses" for ABA Dispute Resolution Magazine, Winter 2010.

He has presented numerous seminars and lectures throughout the country on construction law and practice, and on the related areas of insurance, product liability, and Article 2 (Sales) of the Uniform Commercial Code. He co-authored, with Ted Small of Bernstein Shur, the Innocent Sellers Fairness Act now pending before the U. S. Congress, a measure designed to control the liability of sellers of building products who commit no wrongdoing.

George is an experienced arbitrator and mediator of business and construction disputes. He serves as a member of the Commercial Panel of the American Arbitration Association, and the Maine Superior Court has appointed him as an arbitrator, mediator, and early neutral evaluator for its Court Alternative Dispute Service (CADRES). He recently served on Chief Justice Saufley's Business and Consumer Docket Advisory Committee.

George is recognized by Best Lawyers in America in the specialties of commercial litigation, corporate law, construction law, alternative dispute resolution, and timber law. He has been AV-rated by Martindale Hubbell for over 20 years. He is listed as a New England Super Lawyer in Construction Law.