Meet Bobby Burchfield

Bobby R. Burchfield is an adjunct Professor of Law at George Washington Law School, community leader, philanthropist, and former courtroom lawyer. Before retiring from the practice of law in early 2021, Bobby tried cases to judges and juries and argued appeals throughout the country. He argued two important First Amendment cases in the Supreme Court of the United States. As a senior partner at three highly-rated law firms, most recently at the international law firm King & Spalding LLP, Bobby served as lead counsel in C-suite and Board level disputes involving antitrust, class action, and other complex commercial issues. He also represented officeholders, candidates, and political parties in cases involving constitutional and other issues. In a career spanning more than four decades, Bobby never lost a jury trial.

World Class Lawyer

During his time in private practice, Chambers and Partners rated Bobby highly for General Commercial Litigation in Washington, D.C. and nationally for expertise in Political Law. In reviews, clients described Bobby as “performing with the highest degree of skill and expertise,” and as “brilliant,” commenting that “his legal skills, his strong business acumen and his responsiveness to clients are stellar.”

Benchmark Litigation deemed him a “National Litigation Star,” as well as one of its five nominees for its national 2016 “General Commercial Litigator of the Year.” BTI selected him three times as a “Client Service All-Star.” Best Lawyers in America listed him for over 20 years. In 1992, he served as General Counsel for President George H.W. Bush’s re-election campaign, and from 2005 to 2007, by appointment of President George W. Bush, as a member of the Antitrust Modernization Commission. At the request of President Trump, Bobby served as the Independent Ethics Advisor to the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, which held the President Trump’s business assets.

A graduate (with high honors) of George Washington Law School, at which he served as Editor-in- Chief of the Law Review, Bobby clerked for the Hon. Ruggero J. Aldisert of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Among his numerous awards are the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from George Washington University, the Jacob Burns Award for Service to the George Washington Law School, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Wake Forest University, from which he graduated with Honors in Economics and Political Theory, and the Lawyer of the Year Good Scout Award and Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

The two Supreme Court cases Bobby argued – McConnell v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC – are now studied in law school constitutional law courses.

Adjunct Professor of Law

As part of his commitment to Free Speech, during the Spring Semester of 2022 Bobby taught a seminar at The George Washington Law School entitled “Fundamentals of Free Speech as Applied to Contemporary Issues.” Bobby created a unique syllabus for the course, collecting and assigning readings from great thinkers and important judicial decisions addressing free speech issues.

Students reviewed arguments for both free and unrestricted speech, and for imposing certain restrictions on speech. The first two of the seven sessions featured readings from history’s leading advocates for free speech, including John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty (chapter 2 on Free Speech), James Madison’s “Report on the Virginia Resolutions” in opposition to the Alien and Seditions Act, excerpts from Alexis De Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (chapter XI entitled “Liberty of the Press in the United States”). In the third and fourth sessions, students read arguments for restricting speech, including Herbert Marcuse’s essay “Repressive Tolerance,” excerpts from Jeremy Waldron’s book The Harm in Hate Speech, and Professor Louis Michael Seidman’s article, “Can Free Speech Be Progressive.” Session 5 reviewed case law addressing hate speech, Session 6 reviewed cases and other materials relating to academic freedom and speech on campus, and Session 7 reviewed cases on disruptive speech.

Throughout the course, students engaged in vigorous, but always civil and respectful, discussion. The students report coming away from the course with a better appreciation for the power of free speech, its central and unique role in the American character, and the difficulty of constructing workable restrictions on categories of speech.

Community Leader

Bobby has continued to give back to his alma maters, George Washington University and Wake Forest University, through his board service, including delivering George Washington Law School’s 2015 commencement address. He is serving his fourth four-year term on the Board of Trustees of Wake Forest University, including several years in the role of Vice Chair. Bobby was a charter member of the George Washington Law School’s Dean’s Advisory Board, on which he continues to serve.

Bobby serves as Chairman of Crossroads GPS, an independent political committee formed by Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie, and Steven Law. In addition, he chaired the Lawyers Have Heart 10K in 2011 and 2012. He previously served on the board of Georgetown Pediatric Center. By appointment of President George W. Bush, he served as a member of the Antitrust Modernization Commission, which issued its report and recommendations in April 2007. During 1992, he served as General Counsel to President George H.W. Bush’s reelection campaign. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, Bobby served as a volunteer international election observer in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania, and Russia, and served as a mediator of election procedural disputes among multiple political parties in Albania.

In 2021, Bobby joined the Executive Board of the National Capitol Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and currently serves as Vice President for Finance.

Philanthropist

In addition to his board service at Wake Forest and George Washington Law School, Bobby has endowed scholarships at both. These endowments have so far helped more than a dozen students pursue their undergraduate and legal educations. He also endowed the Burchfield Presidential Chair of Political Economy at Wake Forest. Through the Burchfield Family Charitable Foundation, Bobby has committed to endow a Professorship of First Amendment Law and Free Speech, the first fully endowed professorship in the Law School’s history. Bobby has also served as President of the Wake Forest Alumni Association, Chair of the Wake Forest College Fund, and Chair of the Wake Forest Fund, as well as Co-Chair of the Wake Will Campaign Council of Chairs.

Directly and through the Burchfield Family Charitable Foundation, which he founded in 2006 and leads, Bobby supports a number of important charitable causes in addition to Wake Forest and George Washington Law School, including the Georgetown Pediatric Center (where he Co-Chaired the 2008 Gala), the American Heart Association, the National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and the Hirschberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

Bobby In The News