Legal Newsline

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Burns is Alaska's new attorney general

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Dec 1, 2010


JUNEAU, Alaska (Legal Newsline) - Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell on Tuesday announced his appointment of Fairbanks attorney John J. Burns to the state's attorney general post.

Alaska is one of the few states in which the attorney general position is appointed by the governor and then confirmed by the state's Legislature.

Burns, a partner in the law firm Borgeson & Burns, will succeed Attorney General Dan Sullivan, who was picked in October to become the commissioner of the state Department of Natural Resources effective Dec. 6, Parnell's office said. Sullivan had served as the state's top lawyer since June 2009.

"John Burns is an extraordinary attorney who is committed to Alaskans' interests," Parnell said in a statement.

"With his legal experience, integrity, and understanding of legal issues at all levels, he will make an outstanding attorney general."

Burns received a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a juris doctorate from the University of Puget Sound School of Law.

He has served as an adjunct faculty member at UAF, teaching graduate and undergraduate business law courses. Prior to establishing the law firm of Borgeson & Burns in 1999, Burns worked for Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot, according to Parnell's office.

"As a lifelong Alaskan, I welcome the challenge and opportunity to serve this great state and Governor Parnell's administration," the newly appointed attorney general said in a statement.

"This is a true honor and privilege. I look forward to focusing my energy and efforts with the Department of Law in addressing the many legal issues that the state will face while securing our economic future."

The attorney general heads the state's Department of Law, advises the governor and communicates regularly with lawmakers. The Attorney General's Office has previously challenged the federal government over listings under the Endangered Species Act and a moratorium on offshore Arctic drilling.

Alaska's attorney general earns $135,000 a year, according to the state's Division of Personnel and Labor Relations.

According to the Governor's Office, Burns is a member of the board of directors of Hospice of the Tanana Valley and serves on the Chancellor's Advisory Committee for UAF. He also is a participant in the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, and is an avid sport fisherman.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

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