William Burnham

William Burnham

Professor of Law Emeritus

William Burnham

  • Biography

    Professor William Burnham's international specialties are Comparative Law and Russian Law. Comparative Law is part of his regular teaching load at Wayne State and he has taught the Russian Law course at the University of Michigan Law School. In addition, he has taught foreign LL.M. students the introductory course on U.S. constitutional law at Michigan. He has taught at several foreign university law departments. Principal among them are the University of Utrecht and University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, Moscow State University, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, St. Petersburg State University, and Urals State Law Academy in Ekaterinburg, Russia. He was the recipient of two Fulbright awards, one for teaching in Moscow in 1991 and the other as the Distinguished Chair in Comparative Law at the University of Trento Law Department in Italy in 2001.

    He is the author of a book on U.S. law for foreign lawyers, Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States, 6th ed. (West 2061) (843 pp.) that is used in several leading universities in the United States to introduce foreign LL.M. law students to the U.S. legal system. It has been published in Russian, Ukrainian and Chinese. He is also the principal author of Law and Legal System of the Russian Federation, 6th ed. (Juris Publishing 2015) (674 pp.) (with Peter B. Maggs and Olga Schwartz), a text for a course in Russian Law and a reference work for lawyers, legal scholars and Russian area specialists. Professor Burnham also has several legal publications in Russian, among them the book, Sudebnaya Advokatura [Trial Advocacy] (St. Petersburg U. Press 1996) (with Proshlyakov and Reshetnikova), the first book on trial advocacy techniques for Russian lawyers.

    In addition to his scholarly and teaching interests, Professor Burnham has been actively involved in law reform activities in Russia. In 1992-1993 he served as a consultant to the Russian government on legislation introducing the first jury trials in Russia since the advent of Soviet power and was privileged to be an official American observer at the first such trial, held in Saratov in December 1993. In 1997, he was a consultant for the World Bank, producing an analysis of the problems in Russian legal education and a grants program implementing needed reforms. In 2000-02, he consulted with the Russian State Duma's Committee on Legislation through the U.S. Department of Justice on the drafting and implementation of Russia's new Criminal Procedure Code. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, he participated as a teacher, consultant or expert for the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Federal Judicial Center, the Center for Constitutional and Legislative Policy, the American Bar Association's Central and East European Law Initiative, the Soros Foundation, the Open Society Institute and the International Law Institute. He also served as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Justice, working with the drafting group in Georgia responsible for drafting a new Criminal Procedure Code and working with the Russian Duma Committee on Legislation and the Federal Chamber of Advocates on amendments to the 2001 Russian Criminal Procedure Code. His projects in 2011 and 2012 involved him as a consultant for the British Council and the U.N. Development Programme on issues of criminal procedure reform in Vietnam.

    Professor Burnham's U.S. law specialties are Civil Rights Litigation, Civil Procedure, Federal Courts and Trial Advocacy. He has written several articles in these areas and has argued two federal civil rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Degrees and Certifications

    J.D., Indiana University School of Law
    A.B., B.S., Indiana University

  • Selected publications

    Chapter 4, "Criminal Procedure in the Russian Federation," in Marco Fabri, Ed., Four Criminal Procedure Case Studies in Comparative Perspective: China-Italy-Russia-U.S.A. (Nomos, Baden-Baden 2014).

    Russian Criminal Procedure Code, English Translation, Volume 33, American Series of Foreign Penal Codes (Hein & Co. 2007) with annotations

    Russia’s War Between the Courts, 55 Am. J. of Comparative Law (2007) (with Alexei Trochev)

    Russia’s Criminal Procedure Code Five Years Out, Review of Central and East European Law (2007) (with Jeffrey Kahn)

    Suing State and Local Government Actors in Michigan — Immunity Issues, 86 Mich. Bar Journal 28 (February 2007)

    Book review of Feldbrugge & Sharlet, Public Policy and Law in Russia: In Search of a Unified Legal and Political Space, 54 Am. J. of Comparative Law 679-687 (2007)

    Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States, 4th edition (Thomson-West 2006) text for foreign lawyers and law students; published in Russian (2006), Chinese (2003), and Ukrainian (2000)

    Criminal Procedure Code of the Russian Federation (as amended through June 29, 2004), English translation with commentary, Statutes & Decisions of the USSR and Successor States, Vol. 40, Nos. 1-4 (2004) (389 pp.)

    Russian Federation Criminal Procedure Code/Уголовно-процессуальный Кодекс Российской Федерации, Eurasia Division of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Overseas Prosecution Development and Training (2004) Side-by-Side Russian and English translation of Criminal Procedure Code with Annotations (translator, editor and annotator) (362 pp.) (2d ed. forthcoming 2007)

    The Legal Context and Contributions of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, 100 Michigan Law Review 1227-1248 (2002)

    The New Russian Criminal Code: A Window Onto Democratic Russia, 26 Review of  Central and East European LAaw 365-424 (2001) (University of Leiden, Netherlands)

    A Peek into the Future of U.S. Legal Education: Any Lessons for Japan? 15 Kwansei Gakuin L. Rev. 37-53 (2001)

    Book review: Bobotov and Zhigachev, Introduction to the Legal System of the USA, Государство и Право [State and Law] (Journal of the Institute of State and Law, Russian Academy of Sciences), 1997, No. 10, p. 117 (in Russian)

    “Beam Me Up, There’s No Intelligent Life Here”: A Dialog on the 11th Amendment with Lawyers from Mars, 75 Nebraska L. Rev. 551 (1996)

    СУДЕБНАЯ РЕФОРМА: ПРОБЛЕМЫ ГРАЖДАНСКОГО СУДОПРОИЗВОДСТВА [“Judicial Reform: Problems of Civil Procedure”], Chapter 5 Class Actions and Chapter 6 Enforcement of Judgments (Ekaterinburg Humanities U. Press 1996) (with Reshetnikova) (in Russian)

    СУДЕБНАЯ АДВОКАТУРА [Trial Advocacy] (St. Petersburg State University Press 1996) (with Reshetnikova and Proshlyakov) Russian and U.S. trial techniques and teaching methodology, comparative analysis of U.S. and Russian jury trials (in Russian)

    СУД ПРИСЯЖНЫХ ЗАСЕДАТЕЛЕЙ [Jury Trials] (UNESCO Comm. for Human Rights and Democracy and Moscow Independent International Law Institute 1995) U.S. jury trial procedure and trial advocacy techniques (in Russian)

    American legal consultant for СУД ПРИСЯЖНЫХ: ПОСОБИЕ ДЛЯ СУДЕЙ [Jury Trials: Judges’ Bench Book] (ABA-CEELI and Russian Law Academy, Ministry of Justice, Moscow 1994) (in Russian)

    The State as a “Non-Person” Under Section 1983: Some Comments on the Will Case and Suggestions for the Future, 70 Oregon L. Rev. 1-56 (1991) (with Fayz)

    Taming the Eleventh Amendment Without Overruling Hans v. Louisiana, 40 Case Western Res. L. Rev. 931-995 (1990)

    Separating Constitutional and Common Law Torts: A Critique and a Proposed Constitutional Theory of Duty, 73 Minn. L. Rev. 515-581 (1989)

    Injury for Standing Purposes When Constitutional Right Are Violated: Common Law Public Value Adjudication at Work, 13 Hastings Const. L. Q. 57-118 (1986)

    Aspirational and Existential Interests of Social Reform Organizations: A New Role For The Ideological Plaintiff, 20 Harv. Civ. Rts.-Civ. Lib. L. Rev. 153-209 (1985)

    Federal Court Remedies for Past Misconduct of State Officials: The Legacy of Quern v. Jordan, 34 Am. U. L. Rev. 53-106 (1984)


  • Books

    Law and Legal System of the Russian Federation (Juris Publishing Inc., 6th Edition) 2015 co-authored with Peter B. Maggs and Olga Schwartz

    This book is a detailed treatment of the substantive and procedural law, the legal profession and court systems of Russia written especially for English-speaking lawyers and law students. It has the basic characteristics of a casebook in that it sets out key decisions of the Russian Constitutional Court, Supreme Court and Supreme Arbitrazh (Commercial) Court, followed by notes and questions. But it also contains substantial analytical and explanatory text and other materials, thus making it ideal for use as a reference book..