Gillian Groarke Burns 

Special Counsel, Associate General Counsel – New York
T.+1 212 504 5696
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281 V-CARD

Gillian is a special counsel in Cadwalader’s Global Litigation Group, resident in New York. She concentrates her practice on complex commercial and securities litigation, bankruptcy litigation, and regulatory matters. Gillian’s clients include public and private companies, underwriters, lenders, professional firms, corporate directors and other individuals in a variety of industries, including financial services, insurance, energy, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, real estate and telecommunications. In the 2019 edition of The Legal 500 US, clients praise Gillian for her “consistent, strong, thoughtful and timely work product.” 

Gillian also serves as Cadwalader’s Associate General Counsel.  In that role, Gillian regularly advises the Firm and clients on ethical issues, professional responsibility, issues related to conflicts of interest and risk management. 

Gillian represents the Firm’s litigation clients in securities, derivative, bankruptcy proceedings, antitrust, SEC and stock exchange investigations and arbitrations, internal investigations, director and officer litigation, complex contract disputes, litigation involving structured financial products and investments, insurance coverage issues, and litigation arising from M&A or contests for corporate control in Delaware Chancery Court.   Gillian has significant experience in financial services litigation, including matters concerning derivatives, swaps, commodities, futures, options, structured products and securities. 

Gillian was named a 2018 Client Services All-Star by the BTI Consulting Group, which selects lawyers who “deliver outstanding legal skills” based on hundreds of in-depth, independent interviews with legal corporate counsel at the world’s leading organizations.  She has been recognized for her legal abilities by the New York Metro Edition of SuperLawyers, which has named her a Rising Star every year from 2014 through 2021. She won a 2016 Burton Award for Distinguished Legal Writing as co-author of “Assessing A Judicial Solution To Abusive Merger Litigation,” published in November of 2015 by Law360.  

Gillian currently serves on the Professional Responsibility Committee for the New York City Bar Association.  She has served as the chairwoman of the Firm’s Women’s Leadership Initiative and as a member of the Litigation Committee of the New York City Bar Association. Gillian actively participates in pro bono representation, and received a Pro service. 

She received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Duke University and her J.D., cum laude, from Fordham Law School. At Fordham, Gillian was chairperson of Fordham’s nationally ranked Dispute Resolution Society and a staff member of the International Law Journal.  During law school, she interned for Judge Richard Wesley of the United States Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit. 

Financial Services Litigation and Advice

  • An international asset manager in a series of securities class actions alleging fraud in connection with an exchange traded note.
  • A large financial institution in connection with its transition from LIBOR.
  • Global asset management company in connection with federal securities litigation.
  • A special committee of a global financial institution in connection with an internal investigation relating to alleged overcharges. 
  • An international asset manager in a securities fraud class action arising out of its role as calculation agent for an exchange traded note.
  • Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Jefferies in a securities class action arising out of a secondary offering.
  • An international mining company in connection with securities class actions and derivative lawsuits in federal and state court arising out of an acquisition and decision to award a large shareholder dividend.
  • Pfizer and its directors in federal securities and ERISA class actions and derivative litigation relating to the marketing and sale of certain drugs.
  • AK Steel’s officers and directors in a shareholder derivative litigation relating to tax treatment of executive compensation. 
  • An international mining company in connection with a books and records demand following a corporate change in control.  
  • A German asset manager in connection with its efforts to enforce rights and remedies arising from their respective municipal guaranteed investment contract (GIC) portfolio.
  • Bank of America in multiple suits in various federal courts involving trustees demands that the bank repurchase commercial loans that were sold and included in securitization trusts.  
  • Multimedia Games in derivative and class action litigation arising out of its acquisition of Pokertek.
  • Bear Stearns in a shareholder class action challenging its merger with JPMorgan Chase.
  • Morgan Stanley in securities class actions and derivative litigation relating to auction rate securities.
  • 40 companies and more than 180 individual defendants in 40 separate securities class actions that were part of the “IPO laddering” coordinated litigation.

Bankruptcy and Complex Litigation

  • Insurer in restructuring proceedings and related litigation under Title III of The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA).
  • Largest investor in one of the world’s largest offshore drilling companies seeking to restructure over $8 billion in debt in chapter 11 proceedings.    
  • Outside directors of a digital production and animation company for alleged state law violations in New York and Florida.
  • A large hedge fund in a contest for corporate control of a major sports and entertainment company.
  • A financial institution in connection with its rights and obligations under the Volcker Rule of Dodd-Frank.
  • A global manufacturing corporation regarding various insurance coverage related issues.

Energy and Commodities Investigations and Litigation

  • A global investment bank in a class action involving alleged manipulation of Brent crude oil.
  • A global financial institution in connection with a FERC investigation and lawsuit related to alleged manipulation of commodity prices.
  • A global financial institution in a class action involving alleged manipulation of precious metals benchmarks.
  • A commodities exchange in a breach of contract action.
  • An international oil company in connection with a dispute with a joint venture partner.  
  • A Norwegian oil company in connection with the implementation of a compliance program following corruption charges.


News Releases

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Clients & Friends Memos

Gillian Groarke Burns 


  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit
  • New York


  • Fordham University School of Law
    J.D., 2006, cum laude
  • Duke University
    B.A., 2003, magna cum laude