Josh J.T. Byrne

Chair, Disciplinary Board Representation

    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 an active member of the Ethics Committee. He is also Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Professional Responsibility Committee, 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.


    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 In an unpublished opinion, the judge writing for the Commonwealth Court agreed with the arguments presented by myself and the client.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 15, 2023

    Cyber Exposures: Best Practices for Protecting Against, Preparing for & Responding to Cyber-Attacks, Lackawanna Bench Bar Conference, October 22, 2021

    Attorney Wellness & Well-Being, Pennsylvania Bar Association Large Law Firm Committee and Pennsylvania Bar Institute, October 6, 2021

    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

    "Why Your Mental Health Matters to the Disciplinary Board," The Legal Intelligencer, May 16, 2023

    "Settle and Sue Your Lawyer: The Muhammad Doctrine Under Fire," Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly, January 2023

    "Sometimes You Have to Fire Your Client to Avoid Issues," The Legal Intelligencer, March 18, 2022

    "Employing a Formerly Admitted Attorney," PLUS Blog, November 1, 2021

    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

    New Jersey
    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
    Rutgers University, Camden, NJ (J.D., 1997)
    Earlham College (B.A., 1992)
    Honors & awards
    Best Lawyers in America©, Professional Malpractice Law - Defendants
    Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Rising Star
    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, Board of Governors, 2023 - present; Co-Chair, Professional Responsibility Committee, 2022 - present; former Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Professional Guidance Committee
    Year joined