James G. Ryan is the Head of the Firm’s Commercial Litigation Department and is a member of the Firm's Higher Education Practice Group. As Head of the Commercial Litigation department, Jim has extensive experience representing clients in financial services, corporate, energy, and higher education-related matters in federal and state court, before administrative agencies, and in various forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
Jim's commercial litigation practice focuses on energy-related matters, multi-party class action matters, which include a broad range of disputes in state and federal courts arising out of the transportation, distribution, and sale of natural gas. He also represents financial institutions in matters involving the defense of "lender liability" claims or other allegations of lender misconduct, check warranty claims, actions to recover unpaid obligations from principals and guarantors, and commercial foreclosure actions.
As chair of the Firm's Employment Litigation practice, Jim also regularly represents the Firm’s clients in cases involving discrimination claims, post-employment covenants (including covenants not to compete), breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, trade secret misappropriation, whistleblower allegations, theft of proprietary information, unfair business practices, hiring, promotion, termination, discipline, reductions in force, and sexual harassment. His caseload also includes matters involving the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Title VII, Title IX, HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, ERISA, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York State Labor Law. Jim also offers advice and training, including seminars and bulletins, on current employment and education law issues.
As to his representation of colleges and universities, Jim handles the full array of legal issues that confront institutions, including policy creation and enforcement, labor and employment claims, shared governance, intellectual property rights, internal investigations, student life, athletics, and fundraising. Over the years, he has addressed labor contracts, managed faculty work stoppages, negotiated real estate transactions, and developed policies and procedures for several higher education institutions. Jim has also represented colleges and universities in state and federal court and before state and federal agencies. As a result of this experience, he has been asked to lecture before the members of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) on topics such as Title IX, New York’s “Enough is Enough” law which is codified in Article 129-B of the New York State Education Law, and the proper techniques for conducting internal workplace investigations, among many others.
In 2008, Jim founded the Firm’s e-discovery practice group. This practice group provides cost-effective, expeditious, and practical solutions to even the most-challenging issues involving electronically-stored information so that clients can remain focused on their day-to-day business and operations. The eDiscovery practice group also develops or reviews document retention policies to ensure compliance with the litigation hold process, electronic discovery obligations, and statutory and regulatory requirements. As a result of his lectures on electronic discovery, in 2010 Jim was appointed to the New York State Unified Court System E-Discovery Working Group and to its education subcommittee to develop educational materials, including CLE courses and a bench book, on electronic discovery for the New York State judiciary and judicial staff.