James P. Ryan Jr.

Rochester, Minnesota

I have strong connections with the Southeastern Minnesota area. A native of Rochester, I entered the military (United States Army) in 1967.  Following that service, I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1975 and then attended William Mitchell College of Law. After passing the Bar Examination, I moved to St Charles and began law practice there in 1979 as a solo practitioner.

My practice is trial oriented.  I have handled a large number of civil and criminal trials, representing a wide cross-section of people in the communities I serve.  My trial experiences include representing a defendant in the largest pension fund fraud case in Minnesota history and to litigating for and obtaining substantial verdicts and settlements for clients injured in car wrecks and by defective products and malpractice; to contract and property disputes.

Active in the community, I am a member of American Legion Post 190, St. Charles Moose Club, and am a former Scoutmaster for Troop 54, BSA.  I have also served as St. Charles City Attorney, and as a member of the St. Charles Economic Development Authority and the Park & Recreation Board.  I was an elected member of the St. Charles City Council from 1996 through 2000.

More recently I served as City Attorney for the City of Eyota.  I was also chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Dover-Eyota-St. Charles Sanitary District.  I served as a member of the Board of Directors of Winona ORC Industries, Inc. for some time.  I currently serve as a volunteer court appointed referee in Olmsted County and Dodge County Conciliation Courts.

My professional affiliations include memberships in the Olmsted County and Winona County Bar Associations, the Minnesota Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.

More specifically related to my trial practice, I am a member of the American Association for Justice (formerly The American Trial Lawyers Association) and I am a longtime member of the Minnesota Association for Justice (formerly Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association) where I am an emeritus member of the Board of Governors.

Areas of Practice

  • General Civil Litigation
  • Personal Injury
  • Bankruptcy
  • Criminal Defense
  • Civil and Criminal Cases

Litigation Percentage

  • 70% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Minnesota, 1979
  • U.S. District Court District of Minnesota, 1980
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit, 2013


  • William Mitchell College of Law, St Paul, Minnesota
    • J.D. – 1979
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
    • B.A. – 1975
    • Major: International Relations (Development)
    • Major: Russian
  • Rochester Community College, Rochester, Minnesota – 1972

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • American Association for Justice, Member
  • Olmsted County Bar Association
  • Winona County Bar Association
  • Minnesota Association for Justice

Past Employment Positions

  • Ryan and VanDerHeyden Law Firm, Partner, 1983 – 1987
  • Solo Practice in St. Charles, Minnesota, Attorney, 1979 – 1983
  • Better Business Bureau of Minnesota, Inc., Coordinator General Motors Arbitration Program, 1978 – 1979
  • U.S. Army, 1967 – 1970