I represent clients in matters involving real estate development, lending, economic development, and public-private partnerships.

I’m particularly experienced in delivering counsel on original loans, refinances, and restructuring; the formation of LLCs, development companies, and joint ventures; and real estate finance, acquisition, development, and disposition.  I routinely work with companies and local governments on economic development projects and public-private partnerships. 

In my 25+ years of experience practicing law, I have developed a firm belief that the difference between good and great outcomes lies at the intersection of details and business goals. My legal strategies reflect that philosophy of meticulousness combined with pursuit of practical solutions and my record further underscores my fine-tuned approach to helping clients mitigate risk and capture return.

Community & Professional

  • Board Chair, Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP) (2018-19)
  • Board Chair, Hope Valley Country Club (2017-2018)
  • Management Committee, Triangle Chapter Urban Land Institute (ULI) 2015)
  • Founder and Chair, Triangle Eagle Scout Association
  • Trustee, North Carolina Supplemental Retirement Board of Trustees (2014-2016)
  • Board Chair, Durham District of the Boy Scouts of America (2012-2013)
  • Board Chair, Duke-Durham Campaign (2012)
  • Board Chair, Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce (2009)
  • President, Braxton Craven Inn of Court (2004-2005)
  • Board Chair, Durham County Habitat for Humanity (1999-2000)
  • Board Chair, Durham County Meals on Wheels (1999-2000)
  • Fellow, American College of Mortgage Attorneys (ACMA), (2017-present)
  • Chair, Sponsor Committee, Triangle Chapter Urban Land Institute (ULI), (2015)
  • Executive Committee, Research Triangle Regional Partnership, (2014-present)
  • Executive Committee, Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, (2007-2015)
  • Legal Advisor, Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange, Chatham Counties, (2004-present)

Outside Nexsen Pruet

There's something magical about the moment I pull back on the yoke and the wheels of the plane leave the runway. In that moment there is a sense of freedom and all the possibilities of the trip to come.


  • Representation of lenders in a number of loans for acquisition, development or refinance of properties, ranging in size from $1 million to $60 million.
  • Representation of homebuilders in multiple acquisitions of raw land, ranging in size from approximately 65 to 300 acres and including assemblages that require multiple simultaneous closings, and related development activities.
  • Representation of regional and local developers in the acquisition of raw land, ranging from approximately 20 to 1,000 acres and including assemblages that require multiple simultaneous closings, related development activities and sales to regional and national homebuilders.
  • Representation of a local developer in the acquisition (which included multiple simultaneous closings), development, negotiation of public/private partnership agreements, and sales for a 500-acre business park.
  • Represent developer in development of 28 story tower with a vertical mix of uses and related condominium declaration and sub-condominium declaration.

  • Represent local government and multiple developers in connection with incentive agreements and public-private partnerships.



  • Keith Burns Discusses the Raleigh, NC Office and the Triangle's Vibrant Business and Thriving Market

    The Triangle region of North Carolina is a vibrant business market. The businesses located here routinely expand with new investments and greater employment, and new businesses arrive with regularity. The Triangle’s business climate and quality of life routinely enjoy praise in the national press. But the accolades and success of the Triangle don’t make us immune to the impacts of COVID-19. We are well positioned not only to survive, but also to thrive. Survival will take cooperation and proactive communication.


  • "Setting Policy for Loan Closings," Bank Director's Assembly, March 2, 2015.
  • North Carolina Bankers Association Management Team Conference, Oct. 20, 2013.
  • “What Now? What You Need to Know Regarding North Carolina’s New Lien Law & Bond Laws,” webinar, March 26, 2013. Economic Development Financing in North Carolina, Sept. 14, 2012.
  • "Enhancements for Public/Private Developments: How to Obtain Economic Assistance and Grants," Economic Development Financing in North Carolina, Sept. 14, 2012.
  • “Under Fire in the Trenches,” North Carolina Business Association, Feb. 9, 2012.


  • North Carolina
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