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William C. Burton

Founder & Chairman, The Burton Awards

William C. Burton is a partner at Sagat|Burton LLP, New York. He is the Founder and Chairman of the Burton Awards Program. He has served as a New York State Assistant Attorney General and an Assistant New York State Special Prosecutor. For fifteen years, he was the Director of Government Affairs for Continental Insurance, then one of the largest international insurance companies. He is the author of “Burton’s Legal Thesaurus,” the first and only reference book of its kind written for the legal profession. The book is now in its sixth edition. When it was published forty-one years ago, Mr. Burton was given a prestigious award by the Association of American Publishers which declared the book “One of the most Creative and Innovate Projects of the Year.” In 1999, Mr. Burton created the Burton Foundation and established the non-profit Burton Awards Program with the initial goal of encouraging clear and comprehensive legal writing and rewarding other monumental achievements in law. In 2010, Mr. Burton was awarded the prestigious Golden Pen Award by the Legal Writing Institute, the second largest organization of law professors in the United States with 3,000 members. The honor was given for his advocacy and impact on legal writing. Later in 2011, he was presented the “Blackstone Award” by the Friends of the Law Library of Congress for embodying and promoting the best ideals of the venerable institution. He was a Legal Reform Award recipient from the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform in the fall of 2017. In 2022, Mr. Burton was selected as a member of the Hofstra Law School Hall of Fame. The Law School selected its top 50 graduates on celebrating its 50th Anniversary. He is also the recipient of the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Legal Writers comprised of more than 2,700 jurists, professors and practitioners. The award was previously presented to U.S. Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Paul Stevens, and Stephen Breyer, and other prominent award winners. In 2024, Mr. Burton received the ABA Presidential Citation for visionary leadership and contributions significantly impacting the legal profession and society at large.