Chris Byrnes serves as Heritage’s chief legal officer in the nonprofit think tank’s senior management team, advising on and overseeing all legal, regulatory, and compliance matters for Heritage and its related organizations. Among his responsibilities, Byrnes is the legal advisor and primary staff liaison to Heritage’s Board of Trustees.
Prior to joining Heritage, Byrnes served as an in-house associate counsel for Strayer University, a major proprietary university headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. Previously, he was a senior attorney-advisor at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, where he helped conduct the agency’s high-profile investigations into affirmative action in law schools and the alleged benefits of diversity in elementary and secondary education, among other issues. He also served as an attorney-advisor at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and as an attorney at Defenders of Property Rights, practicing constitutional and appellate litigation with a nonprofit, public interest legal foundation dedicated to protecting the rights of property owners.
Byrnes graduated cum laude from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and earned his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center, where he served as President of the student chapter of the Federalist Society.