Ryan James holding a book and smiling

About Ryan James

Since 2012, Ryan James has owned and operated James Law, LLC, a criminal-defense trial and appellate firm located in White Oak, Pennsylvania.

Ryan is a respected trial and appellate practitioner. His trial work has involved trying cases in both federal and state court to judges and juries, as well before Disciplinary Board hearing committees. He’s successfully defended everything from first-degree murder to serious sex-assault cases to DUIs in 18 different counties throughout the Commonwealth. Ryan’s proud to have been trusted by elected officials to represent their loved ones, to have advised and represented three different District Attorneys, and to have been counsel for other lawyers, judges, doctors, and countless parents who’ve trusted him to represent their children.

In his appellate practice, Ryan has briefed and argued approximately 50 cases in the Superior Court, Commonwealth Court, and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Some of his cases have set precedent in the areas of sentencing, post-conviction litigation, SORNA registration, property forfeiture, and juvenile-dependency proceedings. Ryan has also served as PCRA counsel, privately and by appointment, in nearly 100 post-conviction proceedings.

In the area of criminal defense, Ryan has consistently been recognized as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyers’ Rising Star since 2018. In 2019, he sought a seat on the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and was “Recommended” by the Allegheny County Bar Association as having “the legal ability, experience and temperament to excel as a judge” of that court.  Ryan is qualified to serve as Capital Counsel in Pennsylvania, which is a qualification reserved for attorneys who have tried, at least, eight “significant cases” to verdict before a jury.  He’s a former attendee of the National College of Capital Voir Dire in Boulder, Colorado.

Ryan is a member of the selective Criminal Justice Act (CJA) panel in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, a member of that Court’s Local Rules Advisory Committee, and an elected member of the ACBA’s Judiciary Committee.  He’s a general member of Pennsylvania Bar Association and Allegheny County Bar Association. Ryan is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, Michigan, the Supreme Court of the United States, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the U.S. District Courts for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the Eastern District of Michigan.

Ryan is a magna cum laude graduate of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he was a Managing Editor of the Law Review, and a cum laude graduate of Allegheny College.

Ryan and his wife, Kristen, have two young children and live in Pittsburgh’s south hills.

  • Pennsylvania
  • Michigan
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • Thomas M. Cooley Law School, J.D., magna cum laude
    • Law Review, Managing Assoc. Ed.; National Moot Court Team
    • Honors:
      President’s Achievement Award
      Distinguished Student Award
      John D. Voelker Award
      The Fitzgerald Award
      The Earl Dayton Award
  • Allegheny College, B.A., cum laude
    • Alden Scholar
  • Michigan Supreme Court
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Allegheny County Bar Association
    • Judiciary Committee (Elected 3-Yr. Term, 2023)
    • Solo/Small Firm Section, Fmr. Vice-Chair
  • Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Allegheny Lawyers’ Initiative for Justice
    Founding Board Member
  • Local Rules Advisory Committee, PAWD
  • Criminal Justice Act Panel, PAWD
  • 2018-2023 Super Lawyers, Pennsylvania Rising Stars List
  • 2018-2022 The National Trial Lawyers, Top 40 Under 40 Criminal Lawyers (Pennsylvania)
  • 2015 Readers’ Choice (Silver Award) Winner-“Best Attorney,” Trib Total Media
  • 2014 Readers’ Choice (Gold Award) Winner-“Best Attorney,” The Daily News
  • 2013 Pittsburgh’s 50 Finest, Whirl Magazine/Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (W.Pa.)