James E. Ryan, Class of 1971
Former Illinois Attorney General
James Ryan served as the Attorney General of the State of Illinois for two terms, from 1995 to 2003. During his tenure, he was credited for his efforts to professionalize the Office of the Attorney General and for taking a leadership role in the war on crime. His office vigorously enforced environmental and consumer protection laws and established a healthcare bureau to protect patients’ rights. His most notable accomplishment, though, was a $9.1 billion settlement from tobacco companies, the largest public judgment in Illinois history.
Ryan began his legal career as an Assistant State’s Attorney in DuPage County before entering private practice with the law firm Ryan & Darrah for eight years. Immediately prior to becoming Attorney General, he spent ten years as the State’s Attorney for DuPage County. Ryan joined the Chicago office of Gardner, Carton & Douglas as Counsel in 2003 and currently is Of Counsel for Ryan & Ryan, a criminal defense law firm in Naperville.