“Bankruptcy is somewhat unique, in that it ties together so many different areas of the law,” says Ryan, adding, “Bankruptcy practice offers tremendous opportunities for increasing your understanding of the law; not just bankruptcy law, but the substantive law of other disciplines as well. Bankruptcy cases present obstacles that often cannot be overcome without the assistance of a broad array of legal and business professionals.”
While at Widener Law Delaware, Ryan took advantage of several opportunities to get involved and prepare himself for his legal career. He was a Research Editor on the Widener Law Review, and he also participated in the Moot Court Honor Society.
During his final year in law school, Ryan served as a Wolcott Fellow for Delaware Supreme Court Justice Henry duPont Ridgely. “The Wolcott Fellowship is an exceptional program,” he says, observing, “My time with Justice Ridgely allowed me to develop valuable skills that prepared me for a subsequent clerkship with the Delaware Superior Court, and which I use today in private practice.”
Ryan advises those considering law school, “Spend some time thinking about your decision, and make sure that law school is really the right choice for you. If it is, commit to making law school a priority, especially in your first year. It makes all the difference in the world.”
Ryan also encourages law students preparing for future legal careers to persevere, recalling his own experiences during the recruitment process in his second year and relating the story of a friend who took an unpaid six-month internship to prove her dedication and ultimately get the job she wanted.
“Be persistent. Don’t give up. You’ll get plenty of doors slammed in your face, but all you need is one yes,” he says, adding, “Try not to take the job search personally. It’s all too easy to get discouraged. And while you’re never guaranteed to get the job you want, persistence, optimism, and a little hard work will never hurt your chances.”
A big proponent of the value of networking, Ryan recommends taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the American Inns of Court, or simply reaching out to practicing attorneys.
“Attorneys, at least in Delaware, are really responsive to inquiries from law students,” he observes, before noting that many lawyers are happy to share their experiences and expertise with interested law students. “Get out there and get involved – you’ll meet some extraordinary people, and you’ll learn more from them about the law and the legal profession than anything you’ll find in one of your textbooks,” he concludes.