About James Burdon


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Voted as one of “The Best Lawyers in America” for criminal defense since 1989.

Since 1989, Burdon has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers of America in the specialties of Criminal Defense: Non-White-Collar and White-Collar offenses. Published biennially, The Best Lawyers in America lists the top U.S. lawyers compiled through a peer-review survey in which 3.1 million attorneys cast “votes” on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their specialties. Burdon is among a distinguished group of attorney who have received this honor for twenty(20) years or longer.

Best Lawyers has gained the respect of the legal profession, the media, and clients as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere. It has received accolades from presidents of the American Bar Association, been frequently featured in the U.S. media and excerpted in regional and metropolitan newspapers and magazines.

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American College of Trial Lawyers – Inducted in 1994


The American College of Trial Lawyers, founded in 1980, recognizes excellence among trial lawyers. The College includes members from every segment of the civil and criminal trial bar of the United States and Canada. Its purpose, in addition to identifying and recognizing outstanding trial lawyers, is to improve the standards of trial practice, the administration of justice and the ethics of the profession. Invitation to membership is extended by the Board of Regents, the governing body of the College, only after careful examination of the nominee’s experience, skill, ability and ethical standards.

Attorney James Burdon represents clients throughout Ohio, providing comprehensive representation throughout arrest, trial and appeals when facing felony or misdemeanor charges related to:

  • DUI – Drunk Driving
  • Drugs
  • Murder – Manslaughter – Vehicular Homicide
  • Sex Crimes – Rape – Sexual Assault
  • Theft – Robbery – Burglary – Shoplifting – Auto Theft
  • Gun Charges
  • Parole – Probation – Bail
  • White Collar Crimes
  • Conspiracy
  • Gambling

Education And Experience


  • The University of Akron, School of Law, Akron, Ohio (J.D.)
  • Ripon College, Ripon, Wisconsin, (B.A. Economics)
  • Summit County Secret Service Officer, Summit County, Ohio, Prosecutor’s Office
  • Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Summit County, Ohio
  • Chief Assistant Summit County Prosecutor, Criminal Division,
  • Partner, Burdon & Merlitti, present.

Civic Involvement


  • St. Vincent – St. Mary High School, Chairman of the Executive Board of Trustees.
  • St. Vincent – St. Mary High School Foundation, President.
  • Hall of Honor, Summit County Catholic Youth Organization (CYO).
  • St. Vincent Parrish, Athletic Director, 17 years.

“Akron’s premier criminal-defense lawyer… his defense is about the best money can buy.”
– Bob Dyer, Akron Beacon Journal more…

Early in his career, James Burdon earned a reputation as the “Best Criminal Lawyer” in town. A reputation supported by an impressive track record of representing the areas most notorious cases and success in the courtroom.

An experienced TRIAL lawyer, James Burdon possesses a commanding knowledge of Ohio criminal law and can defend clients at all levels of the state and Federal courts.

  • For over 30 years has practiced exclusively in criminal litigation as a prosecutor and thereafter as a partner in the law firm of Burdon & Merlitti.
  • Tried over one hundred forty cases to juries.
  • Represented thirty homicide defendants – including six jury acquittals, two not guilty by reason of insanity, three dismissals, one not charged, several resulting in lesser offenses.”
  • Has represented clients in Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Guernsey, Lake, Mahoning, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trunball, Tuscawaras, Washinton and Wayne counties.
  • Argued state criminal appeals before the 5th, 8th, 9th and 11th District Court of Appeals.
  • Argued cases before the Supreme Court of the State of Ohio.
  • Defended criminal clients in the United States district Court, Northern District of Ohio, including bank frauds, and other “white collar” offenses.
  • Prosecuted federal appeals before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Representing Clients Across Ohio


Akron criminal defense attorney, James Burdon, has been successfully representing individuals charged with criminal offenses for the past thirty years. Although based in Akron, Ohio, Mr. Burdon represents clients in the municipal, state and federal courts throughout Ohio, in Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Guernsey, Lake, Mahoning, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trunball, Tuscawaras, Washington and Wayne counties.

Voted as one of “The Best Lawyers in America”
for criminal defense since 1989.