Ryan focuses on litigation, including appellate and administrative litigation. He has an extensive governmental background. Ryan served as Executive Counsel to Governor Nathan Deal of the State of Georgia from 2011 until January 2017, and earlier as Deputy Executive Counsel for Governor Sonny Perdue. Prior to his service in state government, Ryan lived and worked in Washington, D.C. from 2007 to 2009, serving as the General Counsel to Freedom’s Watch, a 501(c)(4) issue advocacy organization of national scope.
Ryan’s experience in government provides him with broad insight into how best to interact with government, avoid, and manage conflict with regulating entities, and best present complex legal matters to the judiciary. Ryan worked closely with the Georgia Attorney General and his office in managing litigation over water disputes between Georgia and certain of its neighboring states. Ryan continues to serve as a Special Assistant Attorney General for Florida v. Georgia, a case of original jurisdiction before the Supreme Court of the United States. As Executive Counsel, Ryan also oversaw the Jasper Ocean Terminal Project, working with counsel and members of the governing board from both Georgia and South Carolina in re-negotiating the joint venture between those states. Ryan served as the lead member of Governor Nathan Deal’s Appellate Jurisdiction Review Commission which made detailed recommendations for re-aligning the jurisdictional boundaries of the Supreme Court of Georgia and the Georgia Court of Appeals. Legislation reflecting those recommendations and the expansion of the Supreme Court of Georgia to nine justices passed and became law in 2016. In addition, Ryan has drafted legislation on a wide variety of topics and worked with the legislative branch to pass numerous pieces of legislation.
Ryan is a summa cum laude graduate of Clemson University and a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, where he served on the Law Review. Ryan clerked for Chief Judge J. L. Edmondson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He has received numerous recognitions to date: the Atlanta Business Chronicle named Ryan one of the 40 Under 40 of Atlanta’s Rising Business Leaders (2013); the Fulton County Daily Report named Ryan one of the 40 Under 40 attorneys in Georgia (2012); and the University of Georgia named him one of the 40 Under 40 UGA graduates.
Ryan currently serves on the University of Georgia Board of Visitors, the Board of Directors for the Metro Atlanta YMCA, the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Chapter of the Federalist Society, and the Board of Directors for the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation.