Originally from the Pacific Northwest, and with an undergraduate degree from the University of Washington (UW),
actually started law school in New York. He decided to transfer to the University of Arizona (UA) in his second year and never looked back. He recalls,
Rob Williams' course on Federal Indian Law blew my mind. This is the first time I was introduced to critical race and colonial theory, which not only shaped me as lawyer but the scope through which I viewed the world as a person."
Ryan went on to earn his JD from Arizona Law in 2009. After graduation, he clerked with Judge Kathleen Kay, U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana, and then returned to Seattle in 2011 to join the firm Galanda Broadman. He also added an LLM from the UW in 2010.
Ryan is now a partner at Galanda Broadman. The firm has offices in Seattle and Yakama, Washington and Bend, Oregon -- and several UA law alumni in addition to Ryan.
Ryan says that, while at the UA and after, Professor
Robert Hershey's ('72) mentorship impacted him profoundly.
"It was through [Bob Hershey] that I was connected with my now-law partners (and fellow UA law alumni)
Gabe Galanda ('00),
Anthony Broadman ('07), and
Joe Sexton ('06)."
With Hershey joining Galanda Broadman as of-counsel in 2018, Ryan now counts him as a colleague and friend.
Ryan with his colleagues and fellow alumni Joe Sexton,
Gabe Galanda, and Anthony Broadman.
While much of the firm's work is dedicated to serving tribal governments and businesses that work with tribes, Ryan's more recent work has focused on advocating for Native peoples' civil rights in jails, prisons, and at the hands of law enforcement. By and large, this means bringing wrongful death and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 cases to trial against states and local governments that have killed or seriously injured individuals.
In addition to this rewarding work, Ryan had a lot to say about the benefits of living in Seattle:
"My wife and I were born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. This is home. In addition, you can't find a much better place to enjoy the great outdoors. When it's raining (which is often), you can drive 45 minutes east and enjoy fresh powder. When it's sunny, you're on the ocean. And for all times in between, there's some of the best food in the country, 175 breweries, a great music scene, and a championship football team."