LEGAL BACKGROUND - KEVIN BURKE
My Legal Background:
My Legal Background: When I moved from Florida to the UK in 1999 I was already a US lawyer in the states of Ohio (1992) and Florida (1994). I passed the QLTT exam and was added to the roll of solicitors in England & Wales. I subsequently joined Bennetts Solicitors in Wrington, Bristol. I passed the exams required for me to become a Florida civil law notary in 2004. In 2008, after completing the required two-year course at Cambridge University, I was appointed as an English notary public. I handled court cases in both Florida and in England & Wales. In 2009, I became a partner at Bennetts Solicitors, Attorneys, & Notaries.
As a qualified lawyer i
To become a lawyer in the USA takes seven years of higher education. After receiving the required four-year bachelor's degree in something other than law (psychology in my case), I graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio in 1989. In 1992, after three years of studying law at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, I was awarded my Juris Doctorate and thereafter passed the Ohio Bar exam. In 1994, I passed the Florida Bar Exam and became a member of the Florida Bar. In 1995, I became a member of the Florida Federal Middle District Court in Fort Myers, Florida, which entitled me to practice in the federal courts.
In 1999, I moved to the United Kingdom after passing the UK's Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test" (QLTT) to become an English solicitor and be admitted to the roll of solicitors. I then found a position as both a solicitor and a US attorney with Bennetts Solicitors, Attorneys & Notaries in Wrington, Bristol.
In 2006, I decided to become an English notary public and began the difficult English notary public course at Cambridge University I was one of the 25% of us who made it through the two-year course, papers, and exams to be appointed as an English notary and be able to assist private and commercial clients in the notarisation of documents for use in nations all over the world
while at Bennetts Solicitors I handled both US and UK matters and appeared as counsel in the Florida state and federal courts as well as in matters before the UK courts. Many of my legal matters were purely English matters but many of them had elements of both US and UK law and dealt with international commercial disputes, drafting US and UK wills, US trusts, US/UK family law matters, estate planning, providing legal opinions, filing suits brought against Florida developers and timeshare companies, providing US legal opinions, etc.
In 2010, after having been at Bennetts for 11 years and having become a partner, I decided to set up this firm and to no longer act as a solicitor.
In my capacity as an English notary public,
I am a qualified lawyer in England & Wales by virtue of currently practising as an English notary public. I did practise law as an English solicitor for 11 years (1999 to 2010
, and became a full member of STEP before deciding to set up this law firm.
Compared to the USA which only has one form of lawyer, it has been very different practising in the United Kingdom where there are seven forms of lawyer. I am also an American lawyer qualified to practice law in both Florida and Ohio.
How am I entitled to practice as a lawyer in both the USA and UK?
The internet has of course made it much easier to practice US law from my offices in the UK as has the online court filing of proceedings. We can also now file notarised property deeds in pdf form with any Florida county courthouse online and such can often be completed in minutes after uploading.
Being international in outlook, we provide our personal attention to our British, Irish, US, and other multinational individual and corporate clients in both domestic and cross-border matters between the US and the UK. These matters include various “inbound” British law matters and “outbound” US matters. By way of example, we help British and other European businesses who wish to set up in the US, in purchasing property or businesses in Florida. Depending on the particular US state, we can help in the incorporation of a new US business, deal with disputes and assist in ensuring the necessary documentation is executed, completed correctly, and notarised where required so as to be accepted in the US. In all our matters, we seek to provide a pragmatic approach and utilise our extensive experience to create solutions. For many of our professional legal colleagues in the US and UK, because of our ability to provide legal services of both jurisdictions, we are often the first port of call for transactions involving US and UK entities.
Differences Discovered between USA and UK legal and notarial practice:
What many people do not know in the UK is that the US only has one form of lawyer and does not have multiple legal professions. The terms "attorney", "attorney-at-law", and "counselor-at-law" all mean the exact same profession.
I was quite surprised when I moved to the UK and became a solicitor (1999 - 2010) to discover that the UK actually has a number of legal professions beyond solicitors and barristers. Other forms of UK lawyers include Legal Executives, Licensed conveyancers, Patent attorneys, Trade mark attorneys, Costs lawyers, Chartered Accountants, and "Notaries". Fellow Americans please take note that in the United Kingdom and many nations around the world, notaries are lawyers. In England & Wales, I had to first become a solicitor and then take a difficult two year course to obtain a post-graduate degree at Cambridge University to become a notary. Only 25% of us completed the course and passed the exams. Interestingly, as the successors to the Roman Catholic Church's control of notaries in England, the Church of England's Master of the Faculties for the Archbishop of Canterbury to this day remains the regulator of notary lawyers like myself in the United Kingdom
I became an Ohio lawyer in 1992 after obtaining my "juris doctorate" at Cleveland Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University and passing the Ohio bar exam. In 1994, I also passed the Florida bar exam and became a Florida attorney with the right to bring claims in the Florida state courts. In 1995, I was admitted to the Florida Middle District Federal Court. This has allowed me to bring and/or defend claims in federal court.
I moved to the United Kingdom in 1999 and was admitted to the roll of solicitors. I became employed as both an English solicitor and an American attorney by Bennetts Solicitors in Wrington, Bristol. While employed at Bennetts I handled many types of cases in the English courts many of which had both a US and UK element.
In 2004, I became a "Florida International Notary" (also known as a Florida Civil Law Notary) which further to Chapter 118 of Florida Statutes and F.S. 695.03, permits such a notary to notarise documents from both within and outside of the state of Florida.
This is very different from the US notary public who is rarely ever an attorney and who has very little training especially in relation to international documents. They basically need to be U.S. citizens (18 or older) who have a clean criminal record and who complete a three-hour course with the state.
Based in the village of Wrington in North Somerset, about 13 miles southwest of the city of Bristol, I, Kevin Michael Burke, am both an Irish and US citizen, and a qualified lawyer in both the USA and the UK. Broadly, I offer a number of different US and UK legal and notary services, as well as provide assistance to non-US citizens in seeking USA ITIN numbers.
In the provision of U.S. legal and notarial services, my firm, Kevin Michael Burke, Attorney & Notary trades as "American Attorney Services".
In the USA, I am a qualified and practising attorney in Ohio (1992) and in Florida (1994). In 1995, I was admitted to practice before the Federal Middle District Court In Florida.
In 1999, after seven years of practice in Florida and Ohio, I moved to the United Kingdom. After passing the UK's Qualified Lawyer's Transfer Test (QLT), I became a solicitor in England & Wales and joined Bennetts Solicitors in Wrington, Bristol. In 2004, after passing the required exams required by the Florida Department of State, I was appointed as a Florida International Notary (also known as a Florida Civil Law Notary) which, further to Florida Statute 695.03, allows me to notarise documents outside of the United States. Other US areas of practice include estate planning (addressing the use of revocable living trusts under the Finance Act 2006), Florida formal summary and other ancillary forms of probate, transnational litigation, E-2 Investment visas, and international family law issues. where there is a Florida element. I continue to have an active Florida legal practice handling such matters as representing buyers or sellers in Florida property transactions, contract litigation, providing legal opinions, handling treaty-based US Estate & Gift Tax returns of deceased US, UK and other nations. As of 2020, I am now also a Certifying Acceptance Agent in assisting people with seeking Individual Tax Identification (ITIN) numbers from the IRS.
In 2004, Kevin became a "Florida international notary" (also known as a Florida civil law notary), which unlike the Florida notary public, may under Florida Statutes notarise documents outside of the state of Florida. In 2008, after completing the required two-year course at Cambridge University to obtain a post graduate diploma in notarial studies, Kevin was appointed as a notary public in England in Wales, being a form of qualified lawyer in the UK. In 2009, Kevin became a partner at Bennetts. In 2010, Kevin left Bennetts, and set up this firm, Kevin Michael Burke, Attorney & Notary. In the provision of US or UK legal services, Kevin registered his legal & notarial practice under the d/b/a "American Attorney Services" with the state of Florida. In 2011 became a full member of STEP and in 2011 Kevin was awarded the STEP Advanced Certificate in Will Preparation in England & Wales. Kevin became an IRS Certifying Acceptance Agent.
Attorney and Notary, offers UK and US legal and notary services to our individual and corporate clients. Contact us with any questions you may have regarding our services.