Logo, Byrne Goldenberg & Hamilton, PLLC
(202) 857-9775


Meet Our Attorneys




John J. Byrne, Jr. has many years of experience in both civil and criminal litigation.  From 1988 through 1997, John was a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice where he tried many cases before juries presenting a broad range of criminal law issues.  In this capacity, he also frequently argued appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  As an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California, Organized Crime Strike Force Unit, John developed an innovative, collaborative, cost-effective, criminal investigation strategy that encompassed the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and Los Angeles Police Department in major cases that eradicated gang activities in targeted areas of Los Angeles.  As a result of these and other cases involving major Organized Crime figures, John won awards for sustained outstanding performance as a federal prosecutor.  John received the Federal Executive Board’s award for the Outstanding Professional Federal Employee for Los Angeles County in 1995.  He also was awarded the United States Department of Justice “Special Achievement Award” in recognition of his exceptional contributions in prosecuting Organized Crime.

In private practice, John has worked both in New York and in Washington, D.C., and has litigated extensively in the civil and business law arenas. He has both prosecuted and defended many cases involving business, financial, and fraud issues. These include general business litigation, breach of contract disputes, unfair trade practices, antitrust claims, insurance defense, financial, business and bank frauds, as well as Holocaust-era art restitution, and litigation under the federal Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.  Due to his handling of significant cases, John has appeared on international television, been quoted in the press, and has spoken regularly at conferences.

John’s experience as a business owner and counselor enable him to appreciate the legal requirements of businesses and how excessive legal fees can impair cash flow and sabotage profits.  He is a founding member of Prospect Investors, LLC in Arlington, Virginia, and has worked with this company for many years to address the gamut of challenges that all businesses confront in striving to operate profitably.  John has acted also as corporate counsel for several other companies, including small entrepreneurial start-ups seeking to develop a niche in specialized markets.  John’s experience as a business co-owner and counselor – who has worked in a “hands-on” capacity across a broad continuum of issues – helps him ensure that the services that BGH offers its clients satisfy their needs and promotes their priorities in a fair, efficient and cost-effective manner.


Yale University, B.A. summa cum laude (1976)

Elected to Yale Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa (1976)

St. Elmo's Society (Yale Secret Society)

University of Virginia Law School, J.D. (1980) 


State Bar Admissions

District of Columbia


New York


Federal Court Admissions

United States Supreme Court

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

United States District Court for the District of Columbia

United States District Court for the Southern District of  New York

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York


Membership and Activities

Phi Beta Kappa Society, Yale Chapter

Federal Bar Association

John Carroll Society 


Articles and Presentations

Speaker and Panelist, "War and Peace: Art and Cultural Heritage Law in the 21st Century," New York Symposium (2008)

Founding faculty member at first-ever Art Litigation and Dispute Resolution Institute Symposium at the New York County Lawyers' Association (2008)

Featured Speaker, "Stolen Art & Litigating Holocaust-Era Claims," Symposium in Los Angeles (2012)


Honors and Awards

Greater Los Angeles Federal Executive Board’s “Outstanding Professional Employee Award" in 1995, for developing innovative approaches for investigating criminal activity and for sustained outstanding performance as a federal prosecutor

U.S. Department of Justice, Special Achievement Award, based upon prosecution of organized crime figures

Irish Legal 100 (the 100 most influential Irish American attorneys in the U.S. in 2011) based on litigation success, including landmark art recovery case.  Schoeps v. Museum of Modern Art, 594 F.Supp.2d 461 (S.D.N.Y. 2009).



Over the years I have combined my litigation background with my tax and financial accounting training to provide both individual and business clients with a broad range of services. My tax and accounting background have enabled me to better serve clients in any litigation that presents business, financial, or tax issues. Financial accounting is the “language of business”, and being a CPA with an advanced degree in taxation has helped me to identify and deal with financial, valuation, and tax- related issues that often arise in many disputes, especially in general business, corporate, estate, and fiduciary litigation, as well as in determinations and computation of economic injury and damages. In this way I strive to provide our firm’s litigation clients with a premium value.   

I have litigated a broad range of subject matter including:

  • antitrust and unfair trade practices;
  • bankruptcy;
  • breach of contract;
  • breach of trust and fiduciary duty;
  • business torts;
  • commercial law under the Uniform Commercial Code;
  • challenging federal agency action under the Administrative Procedure Act;
  • disputes among shareholders in closely held corporations;
  • domestic relations;
  • establishing title to valuable artworks under the Uniform Commercial Code;
  • estate administration and probate;
  • fraud;
  • products liability defense;
  • plaintiff’s personal injury;
  • piercing the corporate veil for failing to adhere to requisite corporate and governmental  formalities and for fraud;
  • recovery of invaluable artworks lost as a result of Nazi predation during the Holocaust;
  • federal Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.


I have litigated in state courts of Virginia, the District of Columbia and Maryland, and in federal courts in many states including Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, New York, California, Texas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Illinois and Wisconsin. I have handled appeals of cases to the U.S. Court of Appeals of the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Circuits, as well as before the Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals.    

In addition I have represented clients in federal administrative proceedings, and counseled on a wide range of issues including estate planning, business formations and operations, taxation including small business stock transactions and tax-free exchanges of valuable artworks, probate, as well as compliance with a variety of federal regulations.

Like my law partners John J. Byrne and Lloyd P. Goldenberg, I also have co-owned and operated a business. In the 1990’s I worked with my law partner, Lloyd Goldenberg, to develop an innovative business designed to help U.S. and international art collectors to ensure that they obtain good title to works of art that they acquire in the notoriously precarious international art market where vast quantities of stolen art, looted cultural antiquities and Nazi-era paintings circulate undetected. This business – Trans-Art International LC – introduced the familiar business concept of “due diligence” to the art world. It offered art collectors as well as their estate planning attorneys, trustees, and other fiduciaries a way to identify potential defects in title to valuable artworks whether to be acquired prospectively or which already were in private collections and estates and trusts. It also helped them to secure the functional equivalent of good title to materials that potentially once may have bee stolen, and thereby to ensure that artworks in estates and trusts that had been designated to supply liquidity could perform their intended function.

Operating a business that periodically hired attorneys for discrete engagements punctuated to me the overarching importance to clients of providing efficient and effective legal services that addresses the precise needs of the client and do not serve any other agenda.


Yale University, A.B. cum laude (1976)

University of Virginia Law School, J.D. (1979)

Georgetown Law Center, Masters of Law in Taxation (1987)


Judicial Clerkship: to Justice George M. Cochran of the Supreme Court of Virginia from 1979-80.


Certified Public Accountant:

District of Columbia 1989


Bar Admissions


District of Columbia



 Court Admissions

United States Supreme Court

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

United States District Court for the District of Columbia

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

United States Tax Court


Memberships and Activities

American Association of Attorney-CPA’s

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants



“Loss of Opportunity, Realization of Liability: Stolen Artwork in an Estate or Trust”, cover article for the November/December 2001 edition of the American Banker’s Association’s Trust & Investment Magazine


Lecturer on Legal Issues Regarding Stolen Art

Panel Member and Lecturer, American Association of Museums Annual Conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 1996, seminar on stolen art and implications for U.S. museums

Panel Member and Lecturer, International Bar Association, Cultural Property Committee, Annual Meeting, Boston Massachusetts, June 1998, seminar on Nazi art looting   

Panel Member and Lecturer, American Bar Association, Committee on Real Property and Probate Litigation Subcommittee Annual Meeting, New York, N.Y. July 2000, “New Issues” seminar

Guest Lecturer, Cannon Financial Institute, Scottsdale Arizona, August 2000, Trust Class Level III, “Fiduciary Responsibilities for Stolen Art in Estates and Trusts”

Guest Lecturer, American Banker’s Association Annual Convention, Trust Professionals, Chicago Illinois, August 2001, “Fiduciary Responsibility for Stolen Art in Estates and Trusts”   

Guest Lecturer, American Bar Association, Annual Meeting of Real Property, Probate and Trust Committee, Boston Massachusetts, April 2002, “Fiduciary Duty for Stolen Art in Estates and Trusts”




I am a business and real estate lawyer with an historical background in federal securities law. I have served as a speaker on private placements under the securities law for the Northwest Center for Professional Responsibilities. I have broad experience dealing with the legal issues that arise in both commercial and residential real estate transactions, and in nearly all aspects of family owned small business and trust matters. I have protected the interests of clients in family businesses from attempts by others to wrest control and to wrongfully dispose of business assets. I have dealt frequently with business asset evaluations, the sale of business assets, and concomitant necessary due diligence precautions in business transactions. On behalf of many clients I have negotiated both office and retail leases.

 I also have independent experience as a real estate developer.  I was a principal in an international real estate and development firm with a portfolio exceeding $500,000,000.   In this capacity I acquired an acute understanding of many aspects of real estate financing and law which has enabled me to better assist clients with these same challenges.   

 My experience with due diligence in the business world (and as a private art collector) led me  - in collaboration with my law partner Tom Hamilton – to help develop an innovative business offering a comprehensive and informed due diligence investigative service for artworks acquired on the highly problematic international art market. Leading art world scholars and members of the U.S. estate planning bar applauded this initiative as helping estate attorneys and trustees discharge their professional and fiduciary duties to avoid having stolen art sabotage the planning objectives of their clients. Operating this business – which periodically engaged legal services – helped me appreciate better the perspective of business clients in dealing with attorneys, and the importance to clients of providing legal services that are disciplined,  focused, and streamlined .


University of Wisconsin, A.B.,  summa cum laude (1969)

Harvard University, J.D., magna cum laude (1972) 


Judicial Clerkship: to Honorable Orin G. Judd, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 1972-1973


Bar Admissions


District of Columbia


Memberships and Activities

Phi Beta Kappa

Vice Chair, International Cultural Property Committee of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association 2001



Co-author, “Loss of Opportunity, Realization of Liability: Stolen Artwork in an Estate or Trust”, Cover Article for November/December 2001 Edition of the American Banker’s Association’s Trusts & Investments Magazine  


Lecturer on Legal Issues Concerning Stolen Art

 Panel Member and Lecturer, American Association of Appraisers, Annual Meeting, New York, New York November 1998 “How the International Stolen Art Epidemic and Nazi-Era Looted Artworks Challenge Professional Appraisal Methodology and Reporting”

Panel Member and Lecturer, American Bar Association Annual National Meeting, International Cultural  Property Committee, Atlanta, Georgia, August 1999, Seminar on Stolen Art and Fiduciary Duties

 Panel Member and Lecturer, American Bar Association, International Law Section and Annual National Meeting, Washington, D.C. May 2001, “Legal Rights of Holocaust Victims to Recover Stolen Art”

 Panel Member and Lecturer, Planned Giving Council, Washington D.C. May 2002, Charitable Issues Involving Art and Impact of Stolen Art on Charitable Dispositions

Panel Moderator, International Bar Association Annual Meeting, Seminar by Leading Plaintiff’s Counsel Concerning the Recovery of Holocaust Looted Art, New York, N.Y. May 2002




I offer a broad range of services to clients including business law, commercial law, Constitutional law, tax planning and litigation with an emphasis on state sales and use taxes, a subject upon which I have written and lectured extensively. Since 1983 I have tried more than 170 cases before juries and a nearly equal number before courts.

My overriding goal as an attorney is to provide clients with effective and efficient legal services that address foremost their individual discrete needs. I fight hard to protect the interests of my clients and am committed to always striving to do the best job possible.

My credentials and areas of practice both complement and augment those of the principals of Byrne Goldenberg& Hamilton, PLLC, and I enjoy collaborating with them on challenging issues.

I graduated from Union College in 1976, cum laude. I obtained my juris doctorate degree from the Loyola University School of Law in 1979. I am admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Louisiana. From 1979 until 1982 I worked as an attorney for the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, D.C., where I gained a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of federal taxation law. I am based in Lafayette, Louisiana.  As a member of the Louisiana Bar for more than 30 years, I am well-versed in both civil and common law.

To learn more about my practice areas and legal capabilities please go to: www.shmlaw.net  





Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.  If you have any questions concerning attorney advertising rules, please contact:

Byrne Goldenberg & Hamilton, PLLC

1025 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.

Suite 1012

Washington, DC 20036

Tel:  1 (202) 857-9775

Fax:  1 (202) 857-9799



The information in this website has been prepared to provide you with a summary of the services Byrne Goldenberg & Hamilton, PLLC (BGH) offers its clients.  This information does not constitute, and should not be considered, legal advice.  Neither the transmission nor the receipt of this information shall create an attorney-client relationship between the transmitter and the recipient.

You are advised not to take, or refrain from taking, any action based upon information contained in this website without consulting legal counsel of your choosing.  Publication of information in this website does not imply that such information will be updated to or changed to reflect subsequent legal or other developments.

Any information sent to Byrne Goldenberg & Hamilton, PLLC via e-mail or through the website is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis.  The transmission of the BGH site, in part or in whole, and/or communication with BGH via e-mail through this website does not constitute or create an attorney-client relationship between BGH and any recipients.

The firm does not necessarily endorse, and is not responsible for, any third-party content that may be accessed through this website.

Send comments and feedback to info@bghpllc.com.