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CCK Law’s 2020 Law School Scholarship for Veterans Winner: Michael Burten

April Donahower

August 27, 2020

Updated: November 20, 2023

CCK Law’s 2020 Law School Scholarship for Veterans Winner: Michael Burten

The team at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD is pleased to announce that the 2020 Law School Scholarship has been awarded to Michael Burten.  Each year, this scholarship is presented to one of many remarkable veterans who is currently enrolled at an accredited law school.

About Michael Burten

An aspiring prosecutor, Burten is no stranger to the dedication and discipline required to reach his goals, despite any challenges he faces along the way.

Burten served as a rifleman in the United States Marine Corps from 2003 to 2007, including two tours in Iraq.  As an infantry squad leader, Burten led patrols and conducted missions, all while ensuring the safety of his team in a combat zone and holding them to the highest ethical standards.  Throughout his service Burten retained a firm understanding of right and wrong and was keenly aware of the impact his and his team’s actions could have, as well as how these actions reflected upon the Marine Corps as a whole.

After graduating, he spent several years working as a private investigator for a risk-management firm and then a salesman for a construction company.  Ultimately, however, Burten’s strong moral compass and commitment to integrity led him to pursue his M.A. in Public Policy and embark on a career in public service.

While studying for his master’s degree and undertaking a fellowship in the office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Burten’s life came to a halt in December 2015 when he received the devastating news that his mother had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.  He put everything on hold to care for his mother full-time, doing all he could as her sole caretaker until her passing in June of 2016.  Though grieving from the most painful experience of his life, Burten found the strength and determination to continue to help as many veterans as possible.  Just ten days after his mother’s passing, he started a new job as Senator Gillibrand’s Constituent Liaison for Military and Veterans Affairs.  “By allowing me to channel my grief and heartache into helping others, this role was instrumental in assisting me navigate the darkness of bereavement and affirmed my desire to dedicate myself to public service,” Burten said.

In this new position, Burten dealt largely with issues relating to the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, assisting veterans and service members, many of whom were victims of military sexual assault, in getting the support or services they needed and deserved.  Passionate about the community of veterans and service members he was helping, Burten was motivated to do even more.  It was this role that ultimately led him to enroll in New York Law School with the goal of becoming a prosecutor to pursue justice in an impactful way.

Burten views his service and leadership experience in the Marine Corps as ideal for an aspiring prosecutor.  “Just as the Marine Corps depended on me to uphold institutional values in the absence of any immediate oversight, the state depends on prosecutors to make good decisions and pursue its best interests, and the efficacy of the criminal justice system depends largely upon the integrity and actions of individual prosecutors,” writes Burten in his scholarship-winning essay.

After completing an internship this summer with the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and, Burten remains dedicated to his unwavering and selfless pursuit of justice for veterans as he prepares for his second year of law school.

Michael Burten exemplifies integrity and fortitude, both through his military service and his journey to become a prosecutor, and Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD is proud to support him as he has supported so many of us.

CCK’s Law School Scholarship for Veterans

More information about our Law School Scholarship for Veterans is available on our scholarship page. Applications are due July 1, 2021 for our 2021 scholarship.

If you have a question about the scholarship or are interested in learning more about our firm’s services, contact us at 844-549-4500.

About the Author

Bio photo of April Donahower

April joined Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick in August of 2016 as an Associate Attorney. She currently serves as the Appellate Supervisor in our Veterans Law practice. April’s practice focuses on representing disabled veterans before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

See more about April