Remembering James E. Byrne, Institute Founder and Director

Remembering James E. Byrne, Institute Founder and Director


James E. Byrne
Montgomery Village, MD

It is with profound sadness that the Institute of International Banking Law & Practice must inform of the death of James (“Jim”) Edward Byrne on 1 July 2018 at his home in Montgomery Village, Maryland, after a valiant battle against cancer. Jim was born on 6 December 1945 in Detroit, Michigan.

He was the son of the late John Francis and Grace (Peterman) Byrne. He is survived by his wife, Maria Theresa (Difato) Byrne, sons John Michael (Laura) Byrne of Tampa, FL, Michael Patrick (Dawn) Byrne of Silver Spring, MD, James Edward Byrne Jr. of Orlando, FL, daughter Mary Catherine “Katie” Cissel of Frederick, MD, grandsons Wilson James Cissel, James Robert Byrne, John Michael Byrne, and Caleb Michael Byrne.

Jim was the Director of the Institute of International Banking Law & Practice which he founded in 1987. A member of the faculty of George Mason University School of Law for over 30 years, he was known as Professor Byrne to countless students, several of whom interned with the Institute. Jim chaired and served as Reporter for the International Standby Practices (ISP98), a landmark set of rules developed under his guidance in the 1990s that serve as the world’s standard for governing use of standby letter of credit banking instruments around the globe. He was Editor of the Annual Review of International Banking Law & Practice volume, the monthly journal Letter of Credit Update until 1997, and Documentary Credit World thereafter. He wrote or edited more than 60 books and numerous articles and lectured extensively on banking law and practice, electronic commerce, and commercial and financial fraud prevention in more than 40 countries. He regularly attended meetings of the ICC Banking Commission, contributing extensively to rulemaking initiatives such as the revision of the Uniform Customs & Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP500), the drafting of the rules’ Supplement for Electronic Presentation (eUCP), and formulation of the International Standard Banking Practice (ISBP 2004). He chaired the American Bar Association/US Council on International Banking Task Force Study of the US domestic statute, the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Article 5, served as head of the US Delegation to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in drafting the 1995 UN Convention on Independent Guarantees and Standby Letters of Credit, and was a Past Chair of the American Bar Association’s Letter of Credit Subcommittee. Jim earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, a Juris Doctor degree from Stetson University College of Law, and an LL.M. from the University of Pennsylvania College of Law. He clerked for the Honorable Paul H. Roney of the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and practiced law for several years in Florida. He was a member of the Florida and Maryland bars.

A staunch adherent to the Socratic method of teaching and challenging his law students to engage in critical thinking, Jim’s teaching style reflected heavily on the manner in which he interacted with leading banking and legal practitioners in the field at conferences around the world. Jim’s energy and zeal for sharing his knowledge and insights with top specialists, enterprising young professionals, and promising students was only exceeded by his love and devotion to his family.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, 5 July. Viewing at 10:30am and 11am funeral Mass will be at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, 9000 Warfield Rd, in Gaithersburg, MD. After Mass, burial will follow.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to St. Jude ( or to the YMCA Frederick Chapter Kids Unlimited camp ( by designating “Child Care” as purpose of donation and indicating “In Honor of James E. Byrne” as how they heard about the Annual Campaign. The Institute of International Banking Law & Practice also intends to establish a James E. Byrne memorial scholarship at a future date.


Public condolences can be expressed at: 

Private condolences may be sent to the family at:

facebook twitter
1 of 3