Matthew B. Byrne

Matthew Byrne practices in all areas of business litigation and frequently represents clients in complex commercial cases. Before coming to Vermont, Matt was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, a large Chicago law firm. He has appeared in both federal and state courts across the country.

Matt’s practice covers all facets of business litigation, including First Amendment litigation, failed merger litigation, federal securities class actions, derivative suits, federal preemption claims, insurance coverage, contract disputes, trademarks, trade secrets, non-competition, non-solicitation, technology, unfair competition, and personal injury cases. Matt has tried cases to completion before jurors, courts, and arbitration panels. Matt has also sought and received emergency relief in a number of different factual contexts and judicial forums.


  • University of Chicago Law School, J.D. 1998, with honors
  • University of Vermont, B.A. 1995, with honors


  • Listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business since 2011
  • Named as a Vermont “litigation star” in Benchmark’s Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys since 2010

Representative Matters

  • Obtained dismissal and first ever award of attorneys’ fees by a Vermont state court under Vermont’s anti-SLAPP law. A copy of the opinion is here.
  • Successfully moved to dismiss claims against expert witness who had testified in a previous case involving the plaintiff.
  • Obtained access for Vermont newspaper to video recordings of police chase and shooting.
  • Obtained access for Vermont newspaper to personnel records concerning the viewing of pornography by city employees at work. A copy of the opinion is here.
  • Obtained affirmance of trial court victory in Atomic Energy Act preemption claim. A copy of the decision is here.
  • Obtained dismissal on First Amendment grounds of claim for equal access to online streaming of newspaper’s political debate.
  • Obtained dismissal with prejudice of a 10b-5 class action brought against officers and directors of a publicly-traded company. A copy of the opinion is here.  The Second Circuit affirmed in a summary order.
  • Served as Vermont attorney for health information publishers who obtained a decision from the United States Supreme Court invalidating a Vermont statute that violated the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. A copy of the opinion is here.
  • Obtained a permanent injunction after a trial on the merits for owners of a wholesale nuclear power plant who claimed that Vermont statutes were preempted by the Atomic Energy Act and the Federal Power Act. A copy of the opinion is here.
  • Represented a captive insurance broker and obtained a decision from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals permitting our client to proceed to trial on its constructive trust claim in a federal criminal forfeiture case. A copy of the opinion is here.
  • Successfully moved to dismiss a Rule 10b-5 securities class action brought against officers and directors of a publicly traded company. A copy of the opinion is here.
  • Acquired a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction for a mechanical contractor after a number of former employees took confidential information and started a competing company. Using computer forensic evidence, we were able to recover deleted e-mails showing that the former employees had taken proprietary information and unfairly competed with their former employer.
  • Represented a locally-owned newspaper and successfully argued for the release of a search warrant executed on a Rutland City police officer.
  • Assisted a former Vermont railroad who encountered problems when an adjacent land owner started to construct a building on our client’s property. We quickly obtained a preliminary injunction barring further construction and helped our client resolve the boundary dispute with the adjacent land owner on favorable terms.
  • Recovered a $7 million printing press from a customer who had fallen behind on payments to a commercial printing manufacturer. The litigation unfolded in multiple jurisdictions at a rapid pace. To protect the value of the press, we obtained court orders allowing recovery of the press. After the customer filed for bankruptcy, we moved to enforce the order of replevin and quickly obtained a release from the stay imposed by the bankruptcy court.
  • Served as attorney for a large biotechnology company after the Department of Justice refused to approve a merger and the target company sued. The case was successfully resolved when the large biotechnology company reacquired the target on superior terms and obtained Department of Justice approval for the new deal.
  • Represented national restaurant business in trade secret misappropriation case with hundreds of millions in claimed damages. The case was resolved on favorable terms 12 hours before the start of trial.
  • Represented an industrial gas manufacturer who was involved in an accident that caused third degree burns over 40% of a victim’s body. We successfully sued a third party for indemnification and ensured that our client received payment under an applicable insurance policy.
  • Acted as an attorney for a franchisee in a preliminary injunction proceeding involving a non-competition clause. After expedited discovery and a contested evidentiary hearing, the franchisee settled on favorable terms and retained the right to sell the product in question.
  • Represented a national restaurant chain in a preliminary injunction proceeding to force a franchisee to meet quality control guidelines.
  • Served as Vermont attorney for large automobile manufacturers and local dealers in a month long trial challenging fuel economy regulations.

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Member, Chittenden County, Vermont and American Bar Associations
  • Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
  • Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs Committee and Energy Subcommittee
  • Vermont Business Roundtable


  • Robert B. Hemley and Matthew B. Byrne, Survey of Vermont Employment Libel Law, Media Law Resource Center, Inc., 2010-2014
  • Robert B. Hemley and Matthew B. Byrne, Survey of Vermont Employment Privacy Law, Media Law Resource Center, Inc., 2010-2014
  • Robert B. Hemley and Matthew B. Byrne, Survey of Vermont Libel Law, Media Law Resource Center, Inc., 2010-2014
  • Robert B. Hemley and Matthew B. Byrne, Open Records and Meeting Laws in Vermont, Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, 2010
  • Matthew B. Byrne, The Benefits of Using a Small Firm, ABA Corporate Counsel Web Site, 2010


  • Genetic Engineering and the First Amendment, Vermont Bar Association, January 2015
  • The Open Meetings Act, Lorman Education Services, June 2014
  • Vermont Public Records Act: Criminal Investigations, Lorman Education Services, June 2014
  • Discovery of Electronically-Stored Information, Vermont Bar Association, March 2014
  • Trade Secret Misappropriation, Vermont Bar Association, March 2012
  • Vermont Public Records Act, Vermont Bar Association, January 2012
  • Admissibility of Electronic Evidence, Vermont Bar Association, October 2010
  • Vermont Court Structure, Vermont Bar Association, October 2009
  • Litigation 911: A Practical Guide to Emergency Relief, Vermont Bar Association, January 2009

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois (1998)
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (1998)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (2000)
  • Vermont (2006)
  • U.S. District Court, District of Vermont (2006)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (2007)
  • U.S. Supreme Court (2010)