Josh J.T. Byrne

Chair, Disciplinary Board Representation
Shareholder

Josh J.T. Byrne is a member of the Professional Liability Department where he concentrates his practice on representing and defending professionals in a variety of professional liability matters. Josh regularly represents attorneys in legal malpractice, wrongful use of civil proceedings and disciplinary matters. He also represents many other types of professionals, including those in the health care field, in the federal and state courts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and before disciplinary boards.

Josh has devoted his legal career to the protection of professionals and is highly regarded in this arena throughout the state. He is Chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Professional Liability Committee; Co-Chair of the Amicus Curiae Brief Committee; and is an active member of the Ethics Committee. He is the former Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Professional Guidance Committee and is a former Hearing Committee Member serving the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. He serves as a Zone One delegate to the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s House of Delegates and as a Judge Pro Temp for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. 

A prolific writer, Josh publishes extensively on malpractice avoidance and authors a recurring column in The Legal Intelligencer on professional liability topics. Josh frequently presents to legal and business organizations throughout Pennsylvania on professional liability themes. 

Josh graduated with a dual major in Political Science and Japanese Studies From Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. After college, he worked for two years as a coordinator for international relations in Chiba, Japan. He then obtained his juris doctor from Rutgers University School of Law. He is rated AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating for professional competence.

Results

Assisted an attorney and his zoning board clients in having sanctions imposed by a trial court judge vacated. I helped the attorney in obtaining pre-claim assistance coverage from his insurance carrier and then worked with him to author an appellate brief challenging the sanctions. In an unpublished opinion, the judge writing for the Commonwealth Court agreed with the arguments presented by myself and the client. The Commonwealth Court found that the trial court had no jurisdiction to issue sanctions under Section 2503 of the Judicial Code. The Commonwealth Court also found there was no basis to sanction the attorney or his clients under Rule of Civil Procedure 1701, and that the trial court did not provide appropriate due process before making a finding of contempt. The trial court’s order for sanctions was vacated.

Obtained a judgment for defense on a legal malpractice claim in Dauphin County after a bench trial. Plaintiff asserted the defendant did not properly represent him in an estate matter against his sister which caused him to be evicted from his mother’s house after she passed away. Successfully argued plaintiff could not establish the client ever agreed to represent plaintiff in the estate litigation and performed all of the duties she was retained for.

Obtained summary judgment in a wrongful use of civil proceedings case in the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania. Successfully argued that client’s defense of probate action was not a “proceeding” as defined by the Dragonetti Act.

Obtained summary judgment in a legal malpractice action in the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania. Successfully argued that plaintiff could not prove that he would have succeeded in the underlying action without respect for the alleged negligence of clients. Plaintiff’s claim that, had the clients conducted additional discovery, they would have succeeded on the underlying case was belied by plaintiff’s inability to present additional evidence to support the underlying claims during the legal malpractice action. The court reiterated the position that an increased risk of harm does not apply to legal malpractice actions.

Speaking Engagements
Legal Malpractice Avoidance, Monroe County Bar Association, June 16, 2021

Avoiding Legal Malpractice, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, June 9, 2021

Legal Malpractice Avoidance in the Pandemic, Dauphin County Bar Association, April 7, 2021

Pennsylvania Bar Association Conference of County Bar Leaders 2021, February 25, 2021

Midyear Meeting 2021, Pennsylvania Bar Association, January 27, 2021

Ethics and Malpractice Avoidance, November 23, 2020

Avoiding Legal Malpractice Training 2020, Pennsylvania Bar Association, June 9, 2020

Avoiding Malpractice, May 12, 2020

Avoiding Legal Malpractice, Conference of County Bar Leaders, February 26, 2020

Essential Ethics 2019, Conference of County Bar Leaders, December 19, 2019

Ethics and Malpractice Avoidance, November 19, 2019

Avoiding Legal Malpractice, October 21, 2019

Malpractice Seminar: It's 5 O'clock Somewhere, September 12, 2019

Ethics You Can Use - Lessons From Immigration Malpractice and Discipline Cases, September 11, 2019

Ethics and Malpractice Avoidance, July 23, 2019

Avoiding Legal Malpractice, May 22, 2019

Civil Litigation Section Retreat, Pennsylvania Bar Association, May 3, 2019

Malpractice Avoidance Seminars 2019, Pennsylvania Bar Association, April 9, 2019

Ethics and Malpractice Avoidance, March 28, 2019

Valuing Antiques and Collectibles 2019, March 19, 2019

Avoiding Legal Malpractice, March 12, 2019

Avoiding Legal Malpractice, Conference of County Bar Leaders, February 25, 2019

The Use of Technology in Your Law Practice: Know Your Ethical Obligations, February 13, 2019

Published Works

Pa. Supreme Court Issues Two Major Professional Liability Opinions,” The Legal Intelligencer, March 22, 2021

How Are You Incorrectly Using Your IOLTA Account (Part I)?,” The Legal Intelligencer, November 20, 2020

Honesty and Mental Health in Disciplinary Actions,” The Legal Intelligencer, September 18, 2020

Settlement Bar to Legal Malpractice Claims Affirmed,” The Legal Intelligencer, July 17, 2020

The Dragonetti Act Is Not a Loser Pays Rule,” The Legal Intelligencer, June 25, 2020

Judicial, Judicious, Judgmental—Misconduct Makes Headlines,” The Legal Intelligencer, November 22, 2019

Statute of Limitations in Legal Malpractice Actions,” The Legal Intelligencer, September 20, 2019

Employment of a Formerly Admitted Attorney: Potential Pitfalls,” The Legal Intelligencer, July 19, 2019

A String of Big Names on Disciplinary Dockets This Spring,” The Legal Intelligencer, May 21, 2019

A Big Year (Already!) for the Dragonetti Act,” The Legal Intelligencer, March 26, 2019

The Gist of the Gist Doctrine in Legal Malpractice Actions,” The Legal Intelligencer, November 23, 2018

A Look at Recent Pennsylvania Legal Malpractice Cases,” The Legal Intelligencer, July 20, 2018

Free Resources for Attorneys Looking for Ethical Guidance,” The Legal Intelligencer, May 24, 2018

Getting In and Out of Trouble With the Disciplinary Board,” The Legal Intelligencer, March 23, 2018

Media Commentary

"Three Takeaways From Pa. High Court Decision on Dragonetti Act," Law360, February 1, 2021

Admissions
New Jersey
1998
Pennsylvania
2000
U.S. District Court of New Jersey
U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania
U.S. District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania
U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit
Education
Rutgers University, Camden, NJ (J.D., 1997)
Earlham College (B.A., 1992)
Honors & awards
Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Rising Star
2008
Associations & memberships
Pennsylvania Bar Association, Chair, Professional Liability Committee; Co-Chair, Amicus Curiae Brief Committee; Ethics Committee; Zone One Delegate, House of Delegates
Philadelphia Bar Association, former Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Professional Guidance Committee
Year joined
2021