After graduating in the top 10 percent of his class from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1981, John E. Birk served for several years with the U.S. Army, first at Fort Knox, Kentucky, with the 194th Armored Brigade and subsequently with the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, California. He resigned his active duty commission in 1986, though he continued to serve on reserve duty until 1994. During his military service, he achieved the rank of captain in the Combat Engineers.
Mr. Birk obtained his J.D. from Indiana University School of Law in 1989. Following law school, he worked for several well-respected firms in Indianapolis before returning to his hometown of Jasper in 1995 to partner at the Law Firm of Birk and Birk. The firm in its present form was established in January 2012.