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Our History: Featured Alumni: Burks, Martin P., 1872

Over the decades our graduates have developed distinguished careers as justices, congressmen, ambassadors, educators, businessmen and women, and community leaders in many fields. This site features some of those late graduates.

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Martin Parks Burks

Judge, Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

Martin Parks Burks was born in Bedford County, Virginia in 1851. His father was Judge Edward C. Burks, who served on the Supreme Court of Appeals from 1876 to 1882. Martin Burks attended Washington & Lee University when he was only fifteen years old. He later entered the University of Virginia and graduated with a Bachelor of Law Degree. In 1872, he was admitted to the bar and began practicing law in Bedford County in partnership with his father until his father became a member of the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. The younger Burks remained in practice at Bedford until he returned to Washington & Lee in 1900 as a professor of law. Three years later, he became Dean of the law department there, where he remained until he was elected to the Supreme Court of Appeals in 1917. Judge Burks was on the court until he resigned on April 16, 1928, due to failing health. He died shortly before his resignation became effective.