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Attorney Highlight – Samantha Ryan

My name is Samantha Ryan. I grew up in New Jersey, and I’m currently living in the suburbs of Philadelphia, out towards West Chester in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

What Is Your Background?

I have always been a litigator.  I attended law school as a night student at Widener University School of Law while working full time with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office. Through law school I volunteered with our veteran’s law clinic, interned at the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, and was a member of Moe Levine.  I sat for the New Jersey and Pennsylvania bars immediately after law school and am now practicing in both states.  I took a position with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office handling cases as simple as harassment through child sexual assault cases. I ran the internship program, was a member of the forfeiture unit, taught a practical trial skill course for local officers, and acted as a liaison for a local department.  

Before leaving the DA’s Office I took the Louisiana Bar on a whim to try and move to New Orleans.  I passed and am barred there, but do not practice in that jurisdiction. 

I left the DA’s Office to work with what is now MacMain and Connell, LLC.  My primary focus there was defending civil rights claims against municipalities, prisons, and police departments.  I did a smattering of employment law and personal injury defense. 

Since I’ve joined MSZLM, I’ve focused mainly on civil defense working under some fantastic partners in Philadelphia.

I grew up a New Jersey beach kid, spending all summer long soaking up the sun.  I played a million sports, attended as many concerts as I could afford, and disappeared on long hikes.   For undergrad, I moved to North Jersey where I found my love of cities because I was so close to New York. It gave me the travel bug and I’m working on visiting all fifty-states. 

Eventually, I moved to Pennsylvania to be closer to family, which is very important to me.  I met my wife during COVID, and we were married this past March.  We have three dogs, Maggie, Lucci, and Enzo who are spoiled rotten. I still attend concerts, hike, and horseback ride, but also enjoy more quiet pastimes such as reading a good book on the train or gardening.

What Areas of Practice Do You Focus On?

I focus on civil litigation and was formerly involved in civil rights litigation. So when this becomes apparent, I try to take part as often as possible.

What Is Your Favorite or Most Memorable Case?

Not my favorite, but hardest case I have ever dealt with was an Equal Protections case involving a class action of female inmates.  It was a very intensive case involving preliminary injunctions, appeals to the Third Circuit, motions practice on several fronts, a week-long trial, and post-trial motions.  It was the most challenging case I have had in my career thus far and a total whirlwind learning experience.  I’ve used all of the skills obtained in that trial throughout the rest of my legal career to help receive positive outcomes for my clients.

What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment?

I think the best accomplishment of my legal career has been passing the Louisiana bar. It’s the only bar in the United States that practices the Napoleonic Code. I was already barred in Jersey and Pennsylvania and working full time as a DA. I worked a full caseload and then studied at night. So getting the news that I had passed my third bar exam was pretty exciting, especially because of the jurisdiction that it was in.

What Do You Like About Being an Attorney?

The challenge.  The law is ever evolving.  You need to be on top of the newest case law, court rules, and unique facts of each case you handle.  No two matters are entirely the same, and working through them to achieve your client’s goals is rewarding.

Second to that is writing.  I am a bit of a research nerd.  There is nothing better than finding that one case specifically on point to your issue to cite in a memorandum.  It’s even more exciting when a judge rules in your favor and quotes some of your reasoning.  It’s an honor to read those types of opinions.

What Do You Like About Living in Philadelphia?

Living just outside Philadelphia is the best of both worlds.  A quick train ride and you’re in the midst of Philadelphia and its culture and events.  A short car ride in the opposite direction and I’m in the rolling hills of Chester County or surrounded by woods in some of the local preserves.  It is the best of both worlds.

What Is A Fun Fact About You? 

I used to play roller derby with Brandywine Roller Derby. My name was Rogue Rage.  It was an amazing community that I was so grateful to be a part of.

I once hiked 27 miles in a day by mistake from Warwick County Park to Valley Forge.  It was, to say the least, quite an adventure.