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William F. Ryan, Jr.
Partner, Co-Chair of Litigation Department
7 Saint Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21202-1636
Phone: 410.347.8741
Fax: 410. 223-4161

An experienced trial lawyer, Mr. Ryan is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, an elective body limited to 1% of the trial lawyers in each of the states of the United States and the provinces of Canada, "who are outstanding and considered the best in a state or province."

During more than 25 years as an active trial attorney, Mr. Ryan has had a national commercial litigation practice, handling and taking to trial cases covering a broad range of business-related matters, including class actions, fiduciary duty, business disputes, corporate governance, complex accounting and auditing standards, and shareholder and partnership issues. In addition to being admitted to practice before the Maryland courts, he is admitted to the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and Fourth Circuits, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr. Ryan has represented clients in numerous state and federal courts across the United States, including courts in Alabama, California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia. A representative sampling of his cases of public record is available here.  An overview of the breadth of his practice follows:

Business Litigation

  • Obtained seven-figure result against national franchise chain in breach of contract claim
  • Defended national bank in alleged defamation and breach of contract claims
  • Represented hedge fund/financial advisory firm in business tort and breach of contract claims

Securities Litigation

  • Defense of individual and class action securities fraud claims
  • Defended national railroad transportation company, and obtained defense verdict, in stock appraisal action by minority shareholders of another railroad company following merger of those two companies

Professional Liability, including Accounting Malpractice

  • Prosecuted professional liability claims in Mississippi Federal Court against national hospital management company on behalf of Mississippi community hospital/health system
  • Defense of estate tax planning and other legal malpractice actions
  • Represented court-appointed trustee in adversary proceeding against underwriters and bondholders arising out of $200 million bond offering
  • Defense and prosecution of accounting firms regarding auditing, accounting and business valuation and purchase matters
  • Obtained seven-figure result for corporate plaintiff in legal malpractice claim arising out of antitrust counseling and advice
  • Defended and obtained defense jury verdict for orthopedic surgeon after six-week medical malpractice trial

Director & Officer Litigation

  • Prosecuted claims in Alabama state court against corporate officers, directors and accounting firm on behalf of court-appointed trustee
  • Prosecuted breach of fiduciary duty claims in Virginia state court against former directors of international consulting firm
  • Defended officers of development stage company in Delaware Chancery Court against claims of improper use of proceeds from IPO

Real Estate Litigation

  • Defended Long Island, New York, commercial property owner in civil actions by federal government and the State of New York arising out of environmental contamination
  • Represented international real estate developer in litigation concerning various construction projects in New York City, London and Barcelona, Spain
  • Represented property manager in winning injunctive proceedings regarding various commercial real estate properties in Washington D.C. metropolitan region

Intellectual Property Litigation

  • Represented New York stock exchange restaurant chain accused of trademark and trade dress infringement and unfair trade practices
  • Represented software developer in patent infringement litigation regarding pre-coding scheme for transmitting data over intersymbol-interference channels
  • Represented software users against copyright infringement claims

Class Actions

  • Currently defending class action brought in Maryland state court against national grocery store chain
  • Currently defending class action brought in Virginia federal court against credit counseling firm
  • Lead trial counsel and obtained defense verdict for City of Baltimore and Housing Authority of Baltimore City in public housing class action brought by ACLU in Maryland federal court
  • Represented national telecommunications carrier in consumer class action
  • Defended, and obtained dismissal of, consumer class action in New Jersey federal court alleging violations of federal Fair Credit Reporting Act against multi-state shoe retailer
  • Defended, and won by summary judgment, class action by 7,800 retired maritime officers

Special Counsel Services

  • Represented St. Vincent's Catholic Medical Centers of New York Litigation Trust in prosecuting professional malpractice and related claims against attorneys and management consultants in New York state and federal courts
  • Represented various court-appointed trustees in prosecuting claims involving bankrupt businesses

Alternative Dispute Resolution

  • Participated in numerous mediations and mandatory arbitrations involving business litigation and professional liability matters


  • Represented petroleum companies and commercial property owners in environmental contamination claims
  • Represented Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission and obtained defense jury verdict for multiple nuisance claims arising out of sewage sludge facility

Products Liability & Toxic Exposure

  • Defended and obtained judgments in favor of national manufacturer in product liability lawsuits seeking damages for multiple chemical sensitivity and other injuries allegedly caused by manufacturer's products
  • Defended, and won by summary judgment, declaratory judgment action by a chemical manufacturer seeking insurance coverage for $48 million judgment in underlying toxic tort suit


  • Defended and won state anti-trust and injunction claims against national trade association accused of restraining commerce
  • Defended limited partner of commercial real estate development project against breach of contract claims
  • Defended and obtained defense verdict in defamation action against child psychologist


AV Peer Review Rated: Martindale-Hubbell

Listed as a "Local Litigation Star" in Benchmark Litigation: The Definitive Guide to America's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys, 2009-2013

Listed in Baltimore's Legal Elite, 2010 - Baltimore SmartCEO Magazine

Recognized in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, published by Chambers and Partners, 2017

Listed in Maryland Super Lawyers 2007 - present, "Top 50/100 Maryland Lawyers," 2007 - 2013

Listed in Best Lawyers in America, 2005-present; Named 2014 Baltimore Litigation - Environmental "Lawyer of the Year"

Maryland's Leadership in Law Award, 2008 (The Daily Record)

2011 Baltimore County Good Scout Award, Baltimore Area Council of Boy Scouts

Publications & Presentations

"Director and Officer Duties and Insurance Coverage" Association of Corporate Counsel (2016)

"Private Company and Non-Profit D&O Claims Activity," Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) D&O Symposium, Marriott Marquis, New York, New York, February 9, 2012

"Personal Liability for Directors and Officers: The Next Wave in 'Economic Meltdown' Litigation," 2010 Spring Meeting of International Law Section, American Bar Association, New York, New York

"Know the Mine Field: Risks for Holders of Distressed Debt," Fourth Annual Global Forum on Investing in Distressed Debt, March 30-31, 2009, Los Angeles, California

Memberships & Activities

Fellow:  American College of Trial Lawyers

Chair:  Litigation Department

Former Member: Advisory Board of the Advanced Real Estate Litigation Strategies Institute, Georgetown University Law Center


  • University of Baltimore School of Law (J.D. 1979) with honors
    • Editor-In-Chief, Law Review
  • Princeton University (A.B. 1976) with honors