Experienced criminal trial and appellate lawyer providing disciplinary defense for judges and lawyers.

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Since 2012, Attorney Ryan H. James has built a reputation in the Greater Pittsburgh area for being a thoroughly prepared, innovative, and aggressive criminal trial lawyer, capable of taking his client’s cases on appeal—and winning!

Recognizing the hopelessness and fear his clients experience when defending against accusations that jeopardize their life, liberty, and reputation, Attorney James is uniquely positioned to represent the interests of judges and lawyers similarly facing ethics complaints, which impact their reputations and livelihoods.

Disciplinary defense is a natural extension of what Attorney James does every day as a criminal trial and appellate lawyer.

Ryan James

Ryan James, Ethics and Disciplinary Defense Counsel and founder of James Law, LLC

Mentoring under longtime Pittsburgh ethics and disciplinary-defense attorney.

Attorney James began representing judges and lawyers under the guidance and mentorship of longtime, respected ethics and disciplinary-defense attorney, Craig Simpson, who has exclusively practiced in the area of ethics and disciplinary-defense for over 40 years. Attorney James began serving in an Of Counsel capacity to Attorney Simpson in 2021, and still does to this day, providing ethics advice, counsel, and representation to judges and lawyers.

Varied exposure to different practice areas.

Attorney James has practiced in every division of the court of common pleas—criminal, civil, family, and orphans’ court—as well as in federal court. His breadth of experience as a general practitioner early on in practice enables him to adapt and understand the varied practices of judges and attorneys who have sought his advice and representation.

Attorney James has advised and represented solo practitioners, associates, partners, and equity members of small, mid-sized, and large law firms practicing in the areas of criminal law, elder law, employment law, family law, personal injury, real estate, tax, and more. He’s defended the interests of three former District Attorneys, as well as judges of the court of common pleas and the minor judiciary.

  • Criminal Court
  • Civil Court
  • Family Court
  • Orphans’ Court
  • Federal Court

Recognized Ethics Expert

Attorney James has served as an ethics expert on behalf of counsel appearing in federal court and submitted an opinion and report pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(f), which a federal judge deemed to be “reliable” and appropriate for assisting the Court as the trier of fact. See Peterson v. Murrow’s Transfer, Inc., 2:23-cv-136-CCW (W.D.Pa.), ECF 98.

Track Record of Results

Attorney James has brought his track record of trial and appellate successes to the area of disciplinary defense.


He has secured the dismissal of disciplinary complaints (DB-7s) through the presentation of thorough and persuasive Statements of Position to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.


He has successfully argued for and obtained dismissal recommendations from two separate Hearing Committees, one immediately upon the conclusion of the hearing and one after the filing of briefs to the Hearing Committee.

Facing a legal ethics complaint?

Fill out the form or call 412-896-1349 to speak with Ryan James, a legal ethics and professional responsibility attorney.

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