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Virginia’s Go To Lawyers – Medical Malpractice: Sean P. Byrne

Sean P. ByrneSean P. Byrne
Managing Partner
Byrne Canaan Law, Richmond


JD, magna cum laude, TC Williams School of Law at The University of Richmond
BA, The University of Richmond

Best known for:

I represent individual health care providers and their practice groups, along with institutional clients (hospitals, long-term care facilities and ambulatory surgery centers). I hope to be best known for achieving good results in the most difficult cases across the commonwealth. I also strive to be known among the plaintiff’s bar as fair, diligent and a tough adversary but a straight-shooter.

Signature case / representation:

I have represented quite a few emergency medicine providers over the years. In order to really understand the practical challenges they face, I was trained and certified as an EMT in 2005. The insights and perspective gained have really impacted how I can relate to providers from all specialties and understand the medicine of each case.

Satisfying aspect of practice:

Our cases are adversarial and I like to “win” — which is defined differently depending on the circumstances of each case. A no-pay dismissal, a negotiated favorable settlement or a good result at trial can each be really satisfying. Working closely with other members of the team, including the client, to achieve these results and bring closure to litigation is incredibly fulfilling.

Working with clients:

For most of our clients, a medical malpractice claim or a lawsuit is going to be among the worst professional experiences of their life. I try to balance zealous advocacy on their behalf with compassionate and practical advice about how to endure the stress and uncertainty of litigation. We need to treat each case like it is our only case and remember how it impacts the real people involved on all sides.


Despite being raised with an extended family full of attorneys, I was cautious about a career in law thinking that the field may be oversaturated. My grandfather encouraged me and shared that there is always room and opportunity to make a difference for another skilled and dedicated lawyer.


Post the pandemic trial delays we are seeing busy and full trial dockets across Virginia. As litigation delays increase it becomes all the more important for the attorneys to diligently work the cases through the discovery process to timely resolution. I hope and expect we will continue to try the close cases for physicians and buck the national trend of fewer civil jury trials. We will continue to see ADR increasing used to resolve complex medical malpractice cases as well.