Mr. John J. Bursch
Bursch Law PLLC
9339 Cherry Valley Ave SE, #78
Caledonia, MI 49316

Phone    (616) 450-4235

Type of Case: Civil
Admitted to practice:
Supreme Court
1st Circuit, 2nd Circuit, 3rd Circuit, 4th Circuit, 5th Circuit, 6th Circuit, 7th Circuit, 8th Circuit, 9th Circuit, 10th Circuit, 11th Circuit, D.C., Federal

John Bursch represents Fortune 500 companies, foreign and domestic governments, top public officials, and industry associations in high-profile cases, primarily on appeal. John has argued 12 U.S. Supreme Court cases and 35 state supreme court cases including 33 in the Michigan Supreme Court.  John has successfully litigated hundreds of cases around the country, including five with more than one-billion dollars at stake.

John has been widely recognized for his advocacy.  He is one of only seven Michigan lawyers inducted into the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, and one of only 62 Michigan attorneys serving as a Member of the American Law Institute.  John's appellate skills have resulted in repeated listings in both Michigan Super Lawyers (including a cover profile) and Best Lawyers.  John is also the principal author of the Michigan Supreme Court's Guide for Counsel, the Court's own manual for effective written and oral advocacy.  He was recently recognized as a Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year" for both Appellate Practice and Bet the Company litigation.

A recent study concluded that over the past four Terms, John was one of the most successful attorneys in the country at persuading the U.S. Supreme Court to grant petitions for certiorari.  He has also compiled a Supreme Court merits record that the National Law Journal observed "even more veteran high court advocates would envy."  John's cases have involved many of the most important public-policy issues of the past decade.


  • B.A., B.M. Western Michigan University, summa cum laude (1994)
  • J.D. University of Minnesota Law School, Order of the Coif, magna cum laude (1997)

Practice Focus:

  • Appellate
  • Commercial Litigation
  • High-Stakes Litigation
  • Public Affairs Litigation


  • Michigan Supreme Court’s Guide for Counsel
  • Co-author, Michigan chapter, ABA’s Appellate Practice Compendium
  • Chapter author, Michigan Appellate Handbook
  • Co-founder of Michigan’s leading appellate blog, the One Court of Justice Blog (
  • Many others

Representative Cases:

  • Lee v. United States, 137 S. Ct. 1958 (2017) (defendant can demonstrate Strickland prejudice when his lawyer misadvises him about the deportation consequences of a plea)
  • Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015) (constitutional definition of marriage)
  • Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community, 134 S. Ct. 2024 (2014) (granting plaintiffs the ability to file Ex Parte Young-type actions against tribal officials to circumvent tribal immunity)
  • Schuette v. Coalition to Defend, 134 S. Ct. 1623 (2014) (upholding Michigan’s constitutional ban on discrimination or the use of race- or sex-based factors in public-university admissions)
  • Burt v. Titlow, 134 S. Ct.10 (2013) (reinstating murder conviction based on failure to satisfy the burden of proof under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act)
  • McQuiggin v. Perkins, 133 S. Ct. 1924 (2013) (reversing Sixth Circuit and emphasizing the high bar to proving actual innocence for purpose of a time-barred habeas claim) Metrish v. Lancaster, 133 S. Ct. 1781 (2013) (reinstating murder conviction and holding that a Michigan Supreme Court change in common law could be applied retroactively)
  • Howes v. Walker, 132 S. Ct. 2741 (2012) (summary reversal of Sixth Circuit decision vacating murder conviction)
  • Lafler v. Cooper, 132 S. Ct. 1376 (2012) (affirming plaintiff’s Sixth Amendment right to effective counsel at the plea stage but rejecting a new-trial remedy and authorizing trial courts to refuse a convicted defendant’s attempt to accept a previously rejected plea)
  • Howes v. Fields, 132 S. Ct. 1181 (2012) (reinstating sexual-assault conviction and holding that a prisoner was not “in custody” for purposes of a Miranda warning) Stovall v. Miller, 132 S. Ct. 573 (2011) (summary reversal of Sixth Circuit decision vacating murder conviction)
  • Talk America v. Michigan Bell Tel. Co., 131 S. Ct. 2254 (2011) (reversing Sixth Circuit and holding that competitive local exchange carriers, or CLECs, are entitled to regulated rates when engaged in interconnection with customers of incumbent local exchange carriers, or ILECs)
  • More available at

Honors and Awards:

  • Fellow, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers
  • Top 100 Lawyer, Michigan Super Lawyers
  • Best Lawyers in the categories of Appellate, Bet the Company, and Commercial Litigation
  • NAAG Best Brief Award (3)
  • Cooley Law School Distinguished Brief Award (9)
  • Past Chair, ABA’s Council of Appellate Lawyers
  • Member, American Law Institute

Nature of Firm's Practice:

  • Appellate and political-affairs litigation boutique. See