Lawyer quintet launches new downtown firm

From left: Tony Cottone, Phylicia Preston, Nicole Larsh, Sean Byrne, Roxanne Millan and Davis Powell. (Byrne Legal Group)

Looking to live up to a family lineage of entrepreneurial attorneys, a veteran local health care attorney has struck out on his own after more than 20 years at the same firm. And he’s brought a group of lawyers along for the ride.

Sean Byrne and four others recently left Hancock Daniel in Henrico to launch Byrne Legal Group.

The new firm, which will focus on representing health care providers in medical malpractice cases, and other civil and criminal litigation, opened for business Oct. 2. It’s based in the new Gather coworking location at 313 E. Broad St. downtown.

In addition to Byrne, who is managing partner, the firm is made up of Phylicia Preston, Tony Cottone and Davis Powell, who all came over from Hancock Daniel, as well as Roxanne Millan, who had been with BoykoNapier.

They also brought administrator and paralegal Nicole Larsh from Hancock Daniel.

The firm’s logo.

Byrne said the move was prompted in part by an opening he saw to capture more business from health care clients than he could at a larger firm.

“In medical malpractice defense, it’s insurance carriers who drive the business and choose the law firms,” he said. “They want cost-effective, efficient and innovative thinking. As a smaller group, we can be responsive to that. It’s time to present another good option to the hospitals.”

Hancock Daniel, based in Innsbrook, has around 60 attorneys in eight offices in Virginia, South Carolina, New York and Tennessee. It expanded last year to New York via acquisition.

Byrne described the group’s Hancock Daniel exit as “friendly.”

“We’ll be friendly competitors,” he said.

A University of Richmond grad, Byrne said the new venture also is driven by his desire to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and father, who for years ran their own law firm.

“I’ve always been inspired to be a small-business person,” he said.

In going out on his own, Byrne said he had to find a group willing to take the entrepreneurial leap with him.

“We’re looking for energetic people … who want to take a little risk with a lot of reward potential,” he said.

They also took a gamble that their respective clients would stick with them. Most have, Byrne said.

“It’s a little scary when you launch a firm like this,” he said. “You take a leap of faith that your relationships are such that (clients) will follow.”

Byrne Law Group’s launch continues a steady stream in recent months of law firm moves around Richmond.

Roanoke firm Frith Anderson + Peake entered the market last month. Columbia, South Carolina-based McAngus Goudelock & Courie expanded into Richmond last month. And Ford Richardson, a year-old local firm, expanded to Hampton Roads in August.

Other recent moves were fueled by the demise of LeClairRyan and its attorneys jumping ship to other firms.

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Gabriel Rojas
Gabriel Rojas
1 year ago

Congratulations, Sean! Wishing you the very best in your new endeavor.

Sean Byrne
Sean Byrne
1 year ago
Reply to  Gabriel Rojas

Thank you Gabe!