Josh J.T. Byrne
Areas of Practice
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 In an unpublished opinion, the judge writing for the Commonwealth Court agreed with the arguments presented by myself and the client.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.
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
"When Disciplinary Counsel Knocks on Your Door, How Do You Respond?" The Legal Intelligencer, March 20, 2023
"Settle and Sue Your Lawyer: The Muhammad Doctrine Under Fire," Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly, January 2023
"What to Think About When Deciding on Legal Malpractice Insurance," PLUS Blog, September 12, 2022
"Legal Malpractice: Taking a Mistake and Making It a Fiasco," The Legal Intelligencer, May 17, 2022
"Sometimes You Have to Fire Your Client to Avoid Issues," The Legal Intelligencer, March 18, 2022
"Remorse and Acceptance, Lessons From the Disbarments and Suspensions of 2021," The Legal Intelligencer, November 19, 2021
"Employing a Formerly Admitted Attorney," PLUS Blog, November 1, 2021
"Considerations in Purchasing Legal Malpractice Insurance, Part II: Coverages," The Legal Intelligencer, September 20, 2021
"Preparing for the Worst: Considerations in Purchasing Legal Malpractice Insurance—Part I," The Legal Intelligencer, July 19, 2021
"How Are You Incorrectly Using Your IOLTA Account (Part II)?" The Legal Intelligencer, May 18, 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
“Legal Malpractice and COVID-19: The Devil Is in the Details and Follow the Money,” The Legal Intelligencer, March 27, 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
"'They'll Get Theirs': Attorneys Strategize When Depositions Get Heated," The Legal Intelligencer, January 13, 2023
"You Have to Battle When it Should be a Walk in the Park: Ethics Lawyers Say Attorney Discipline has Gotten Tougher," The Legal Intelligencer, September 1, 2022
"Three Takeaways From Pa. High Court Decision on Dragonetti Act," Law360, February 1, 2021