David Burke

Special Counsel

David is pro bono counsel in Lander & Rogers' national Pro Bono, Community and Environment practice.


David joined Lander & Rogers from the Human Rights Law Centre, where he was Legal Director and Principal Solicitor. He brings ten years' experience working on protecting fundamental human rights. His work has focused on promoting the rights of people seeking asylum and refugees in a variety of contexts including litigation, individual casework, program building and academic publication. His areas of expertise include litigation - with a focus on administrative law, torts law, human rights and migration law - and coordination of pro bono resources.

David first joined Lander & Rogers in 2014, where he founded the Asylum Seeker Program before leaving for the Human Rights Law Centre. He returned to the firm in April 2022.

Career highlights

David's experience includes:

  • high-profile public interest litigation in federal and state courts including challenges to immigration detention during the COVID-19 pandemic and novel tort law claims
  • advising leading government and environmental organisations on litigation and statutory duties
  • coordinating law firms, barristers, medical experts and social workers in strategic litigation that led to the transfer of more than 150 refugees and people seeking asylum in need of urgent medical treatment from offshore detention to Australia
  • strategy, advocacy and political engagement in large-scale campaigns, such as the #KidsOffNauru campaign and the successful passing of the Medevac laws
  • organisational design and strategic planning for not-for-profits
  • creating a virtual training program in partnership with Victoria Legal Aid and the Legacy Caseload working group that has trained hundreds of pro bono lawyers to assist with legal service delivery
  • establishing large-scale coalitions of law firms, civil society organisations, medical professionals and social workers to advise and represent refugees and people seeking asylum. This includes the creation of the Corporate Clinic Program with Refugee Legal, which has now completed thousands of visa applications using pro bono corporate assistance