Brian Burke has been practicing law for 40 years and has been a Certified Family Law Specialist (State Bar of California) for 32 years. In addition to the normal practice of law, Brian studies the bigger picture of how attorneys and clients address the problems of marriage and divorce in the legal arena/setting. The roadblocks to stable and sustainable divorce settlements are a focus of interest, providing fodder for his fortnightly Noozhawk column, “About Your Divorce,” running since Valentine’s Day, 2012. He has been on the alternative family law front since the 1980’s, dedicating his first book to a group of family law attorneys from all over the country that met in the 1990’s to share potential solutions to the web of problems that plague the divorce industry.
Brian has collected data for six-year longitudinal studies of two comparable divorcing populations. His findings are reported in Santa Barbara Divorce: A Six-year Longitudinal Study  and “How Long Does a Santa Barbara Divorce Take?” with Professor Samuel J. Frame 52 Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 391-400 . Both reports are posted at sbdivorcearchives.com.
Brian explains why the Stage Model of Grief, now empirically supported by the work of the Yale Bereavement Study [see, Vol. 297 Journal of the American Medical Association 716-723 (Feb. 21, 2007)], is the “best fit” as an explanation for the data. This confirms the view that divorce is essentially psychological and that the legal process is secondary. The actions of divorce lawyers affect crucial aspects of their clients’ welfare – and the ethical implication are enormous.
Brian offers his protocol-based service, the Legal RoadMap Consultation, in Santa Barbara, California. The RoadMap has proven valuable to the more than two thousand divorcing clients seen during the past 25 years It is an example of how a divorce lawyer can design a service that provides legal information and counsel while honoring the ability of clients to untangle intimate family problems and to find their own solutions.
At home, Brian attempts to approach a standard set by an admired teacher who said of himself , “I’m not a busy person.” When falling short of this ideal, he is compiling a book about a stretch of beach he’s observed every morning for ten years while jogging with his wife, Alice, and their Golden Retriever, Lollipop. A member Therapy Dogs International, Lollipop visits patients at the local hospital and the rehabilitation facility for patients recovering from stroke and traumatic brain injuries; Lollipop does the work – Brian provides her transportation.
Brian’s current project for Navigate Divorce Guide is the creation of a set of cards that generate “oblique divorce strategies.”