Joseph L. Bierwirth

Partner

  • d 617-557-9728
  • 60 State Street
  • Boston, MA 02109

Practice Focus

Joe Bierwirth concentrates his practice in the areas of probate, trust, real property, and business litigation.  He also works with individuals and families on estate planning and probate matters. 

He has substantial experience representing trust and estate fiduciaries and beneficiaries in court proceedings and contested matters.  Joe has successfully tried cases in various courts and is often called upon to serve as a court-appointed guardian ad litem.  His practice also includes the general representation of family businesses and nonprofit entities. Joe is also a Senior Vice President of Hemenway Trust Company, a New Hampshire based private fiduciary firm.

Prior to joining Hemenway & Barnes, Joe served as a judicial law clerk to the Hon. W. Arthur Garrity, Jr. of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.  Joe has been a partner of the firm since 2006.

Representative Clients

  • A professional trustee needed help defending against claims of breach of fiduciary duty and mismanagement of trust assets.  Joe achieved a favorable settlement involving no payment by the client.
  • A branch of a family engaged Joe to help with a dispute over proper distribution of trust assets.  Joe and his client prevailed, winning on summary judgment in Probate Court.
  • Trustees were accused of conflicts of interest and breach of fiduciary duty in administration of a substantial family trust.  They engaged Joe who structured a comprehensive settlement of claims and resolution of related family real estate and trust issues.
  • Joe represented a private developer of commercial real estate, upholding the client's special permit by winning on summary judgment in Land Court.
  • A private equity firm engaged Joe to defend a tort claim arising from an acquired company's business operations.  Joe prevailed on behalf of his client, winning a defense verdict after trial.

Activities and Publications

Joe regularly writes and speaks on topics of interest to trustees, family wealth advisors, estate planners and individuals involved in charitable endeavors.

  • Presenter to the Boston Probate and Estate Planning Forum and Boston Estate Planning Council on recent developments in trust and estate law
  • Faculty member for various Continuing Legal Education seminars on litigation practices and procedures, particularly with respect to trust, probate and business disputes
  • Panel member for a seminar titled "Legal Considerations for Nonprofits in Massachusetts"

Joe has authored several published articles on trust law, estate administration, real estate permitting, and nonprofit law.  In addition, Joe is former chair of the Fiduciary Litigation Committee of the Boston Bar Association.

Community Involvement

  • Trustee of the Hingham Land Conservation Trust
  • Past Chairman of the Town of Hingham's Advisory Committee
  • Served on Hingham's Historical Commission and Community Preservation Committee
  • Member of the Board of Overseers for Epiphany School in Dorchester