Law Office of James Burke, LLC: Not Just in the Community, of the Community

May 2012

In 1984, Jim Burke joined the then three-year-old, Peabody-based firm of Antico & Barrett, changing the name to Antico, Barrett & Burke. "Tony Antico, Charlie Barrett, and I went to law school together, and after we were admitted to the bar, Tony and Charlie opened up the office in Peabody," he says. "I practiced on the side while I taught school. My client base and case load got too heavy to both teach and practice law, so we joined forces." While the firm has changed somewhat since its inception in 1981, its general customer base continued to grow and has represented more than 3,000 clients.

Burke's own practice area has mainly encompassed representing property buyers, sellers, and lenders. "I perform the actual closing or refinance, and I've represented many businesses as well, from incorporation and annual minutes, to leases and everything in between," he states. "I also represent individuals and families in estate planning and in probate work."

A community service standard bearer  After more than three decades working as an attorney, one theme has consistently emerged in Burke's personal and professional lives: A strong focus on serving the community. On the professional side, "I think all businesses should give back to the communities in which they're located for several reasons," he avers. "It never hurts to be seen doing a good deed publicly, as your actions might be noticed by a potential client who is of a similar mind. But you don't work just to get noticed. You do it because you believe that the goals of these organizations help the entire community. And when you serve the community, every business and person is more likely to prosper to some degree."

Burke himself has been involved with the Peabody Chamber of Commerce since 1985 and has held nearly every position in the organization. In 1995, he received the Chamber's prestigious Harry Ankeles Award, which recognizes one of its members for selfless dedication to the community and strong civic leadership. He remains a force within the Chamber and currently serves on its board of directors.

Burke is also the vice chairperson of the Board of Directors of Marian Court College in Swampscott, and has been on the Peabody Education Foundation since its formation as the Peabody Education Council in 1985. As a former teacher, Burke says that, "education is very important to the overall health of any community, so I'm happy to use my business and education backgrounds to help guide the college to be the best it can be."

Finding a strong partner within the community  After more than 30 years in business, Burke, who recently hung his own shingle, under the Law Office of James J. Burke, LLC name, acknowledges the help he has had with his endeavors from another community player, Salem Five Bank. "When I joined Antico & Barrett back in 1984, we were renting a small basement office. With my arrival, we outgrew our space and let it be known that we were looking to move into other leased space or purchase an office location," he says. "Tony and Charlie had opened up our office accounts with Salem Five right from the beginning, and when we let them know we might be looking to buy some space, they came in and talked to us about the possibility of financing the purchase. After only a couple of years in business, we didn't have a great deal of money behind us, but Salem Five saw our potential and loaned us the money to purchase the condominium unit we're still in today."

"Salem Five believed in us and has helped us purchase other units in the building since then," he continues. "We still do all our business banking with Salem Five, as do many of our employees. For example, with direct deposit, our employees get many benefits from Salem Five. And I truly enjoy walking into the Salem Five branch at the Northshore Mall and being recognized by name by all who work there. And I know all their names. They bend over backwards to help us in any way they can. Now, my son and his business deal with Salem Five in Woburn, and he has very similar experiences when he goes into the branch there. As far as a community partner is concerned, Salem Five is a great 'small town' bank with 'big city' capabilities."

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