Image of Joe Bierwirth

Joseph L. Bierwirth


  • 617-557-9728
  • 617-227-0781
  • 75 State Street
  • Boston, MA 02109

Joseph L. Bierwirth


  • 617-557-9728
  • 617-227-0781
  • 75 State Street
  • Boston, MA 02109

Practice Focus

Joe Bierwirth is the Chair of the Litigation Practice Group at Hemenway & Barnes. He concentrates his practice in the areas of probate, trust, real property, and business litigation. He also provides counsel to individuals and families on estate planning and probate matters, and serves as a trustee of private and charitable trusts.

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 asked to serve as a fiduciary, guardian ad litem or mediator in contested matters. His practice also includes the general representation of family businesses and nonprofit entities. Joe is 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 Matters

  • Joe successfully argued before the Supreme Judicial Court on behalf of his client, a cancer research scientist, to uphold a $10 million judgment in a breach of contract case. Hlatky v. Steward Health Care System, LLC, 484 Mass. 566 (2020).
  • Joe represented a charitable foundation in a major litigation matter, resulting in a favorable decision from the Supreme Judicial Court and a significant judgment for his client. Robert and Ardis James Foundation v. Meyers, 474 Mass.181 (2016).
  • Joe achieved a precedent setting victory for his client in a matter where the court declared the Massachusetts estate tax to be unconstitutional as applied to real estate located in Paris, France. Dassori v. Commissioner of Revenue
  • Joe represented the plaintiff-trustees in Dauman v. Redstone litigation regarding control of the Sumner M. Redstone National Amusements Trust.
  • Joe worked with a beneficiary of a private trust to remove a recalcitrant trustee, resolve potential tax and fiduciary issues, and now serves as an ongoing advisor and trustee for his client.
  • 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.


  • Named in the Chamber’s 2021 High Net Worth guide as a Notable Practitioner in the area of Private Wealth Disputes - Massachusetts
  • Named to the Best Lawyers in America List
  • Named to the Massachusetts Super Lawyers List

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.

  • Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC)
  • Member, The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation
  • Boston Bar Foundation, Trustee (2021-2022)
  • Moderator, Boston Probate & Estate Planning Forum 
  • 2022 Boston Bar Association Nominating Committee
  • Co-Chair, Trusts and Estates Steering Committee, Boston Bar Association
  • 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"
  • Panel member for Social Law Library webinar “19 Fiduciary Law Solutions During COVID-19” 

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

  • Member, Finance Committee, Episcopal City Mission
  • 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


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