Chris Byrnes, the outgoing General Counsel of The Heritage Foundation, will be joining the religion law firm Nelson Madden Black LLP as a partner as of September 1, 2023.
Mr. Byrnes will be launching the Washington, D.C., office of New York-based Nelson Madden Black.
For the past five years of his seven years at Heritage, Mr. Byrnes served as the organization’s chief legal officer in its senior management team, advising on and overseeing all of Heritage’s legal, regulatory, and compliance matters. Mr. Byrnes also was the legal advisor and primary liaison to Heritage’s Board of Trustees. With more than 500,000 members, The Heritage Foundation is the nation’s largest and most broadly supported conservative research and educational institution and was ranked as the No. 1 think tank in the world for “Significant Impact on Public Policy” for three years in a row.
A graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Georgetown University Law Center, where he was president of the student chapter of the Federalist Society, Mr. Byrnes previously served as in-house associate counsel for a major proprietary university headquartered in Herndon, Virginia; senior attorney-advisor at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; attorney-advisor at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights; and attorney at Defenders of Property Rights. He is an active member of Alliance Defending Freedom’s Allied Attorney Network.
Barry Black, a partner in Nelson Madden Black, said, “Chris’s arrival speaks volumes about how far Nelson Madden Black has come since we opened our doors seven years ago. Chris brings a whole new level of organizational advocacy to our firm as well as a wide network of contacts in Washington, D.C., and throughout the nation. We look forward to continuing to expand our religion law practice in New York and Washington, as well as nationally.”
Commenting on his new role as a partner in Nelson Madden Black, Mr. Byrnes said, “I have devoted my career to mission-oriented clients, and I look forward to focusing on religious clients and causes, defending those facing religious persecution, and protecting the First Amendment rights of individual and organizational clients.”
Nelson Madden Black, whose practice is limited to religion law, represents religious institutions and associations, municipalities, universities, clergy and other clients in a variety of disputes ranging from governance, property, and employment matters to religious liberty and other First Amendment claims.