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Stephen L. Burns

Partner, Corporate

Stephen L. Burns is a partner in Cravath’s Corporate Department. His practice focuses on representing issuers and investment banking firms in connection with public and private offerings of securities, as well as representing various corporations on general corporate matters, including corporate governance and M&A matters. Mr. Burns was named Best Lawyers’ 2014 New York City “Lawyer of the Year” for Securities/Capital Markets Law. His work was also featured by the Financial Times in its annual FT North America Innovative Lawyers 2014 report.

Mr. Burns’s clients have included Crown Castle, Flowserve, IBM, Time Warner, Time Inc., Cox Enterprises, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan. He recently advised Crown Castle in its $7.1 billion acquisition of Lightower; its $600 million acquisition of Wilcon; its $1.5 billion acquisition of FiberNet; the $1.6 billion sale of CCAL, its Australian subsidiary, to a consortium of investors led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets; its $1 billion acquisition of Sunesys; its $9.1 billion (including purchase options) acquisition of the rights to approximately 9,700 AT&T towers; its $4.8 billion (including purchase options) acquisition of the rights to approximately 7,100 T‑Mobile towers; and on over $20 billion in debt and equity financings since 2012. Mr. Burns also advised the underwriters in connection with Actavis plc’s offerings of $30 billion of debt and equity securities in 2015. In addition, he represented the underwriters in connection with recent offerings by American Axle, Beacon Roofing, Cardtronics plc, Chesapeake Energy, Denbury Resources, Expedia, Goodyear, Petco and TeamHealth.

Mr. Burns has been repeatedly cited as one of the country’s leading practitioners in capital markets law by, among others, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business from 2007 through 2019; Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business from 2008 through 2019; The Legal 500 from 2007 through 2014 and from 2016 through 2019; IFLR1000 from 2007 through 2019; and The Best Lawyers in America from 2007 through 2020. He was also recognized by The Legal 500 for his skill in M&A: Mega‑Deals in 2008 and for his transactional work in the telecoms and broadcast industry in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2019.

Mr. Burns was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He received a B.B.A. with distinction from the University of Oklahoma in 1987 and a J.D. with honors from the University of Texas School of Law in 1990, where he was named to the Chancellor’s honor society and was an Associate Editor of the Texas Law Review. Mr. Burns currently serves as a trustee of The University of Texas Law School Foundation. He joined Cravath in 1990 and became a partner in 1998.

Mr. Burns may be reached by phone at +1‑212‑474‑1146 or by email at

Mr. Burns is admitted only in New York.

+1 (212) 474-1146
+1 (212) 474-3700