Linda Ryan

Of Counsel, Jackson Lewis LLP

2004 | Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Valley State University | Psychology

“The relatively small class sizes [at MSU Law] offered opportunities for students to get to know their professors well. It also prevented students from getting lost in the crowd.”

Linda Ryan is "of counsel" for the national labor and employment law firm Jackson Lewis LLP.  “Our motto is ‘All we do is work,’” she said.  “What that means is that we specialize in workplace law.” Linda represents employers in defending against Title VII, ELCRA, FMLA, and discrimination and retaliation cases.

“I am a litigator, however, I would say that my time is equally divided between litigation and litigation avoidance activities. For example, I assist employers in evaluating job descriptions, employee handbooks, etc. in order to identify weaknesses and ensure they are fully compliant with applicable law,” Linda said.            

For her, the client contact is the most rewarding aspect of her job.  “Most of the time, I see clients when they are facing a lawsuit. It is a stressful time for them. Being able to explain what to expect and to meet their needs is rewarding to me.” She adds, “Winning, of course, is the most rewarding.”             

Linda said her experience at MSU College of Law was a fantastic one, and that contracts and labor classes were the most helpful classes for her current position. “I knew when I went to law school that I wanted to specialize in employment and labor law, so I geared my education around that as much as I could,” she said.   

In addition, Law Review instilled in her attention to detail and gave her an edge in the interview process.  “Also, being able to clerk for a judge during school was also extremely useful in that I was able to see lawyers at work in court, and read their briefs and pleadings, and listen to oral arguments. I was exposed to both good and extremely poor writing, and learned from the onset of my career how important it is to frame your argument well.”             

Linda said the strengths of MSU College of Law are numerous.  “The relatively small class sizes offered opportunities for students to get to know their professors well. It also prevented students from getting lost in the crowd,” she said. “The professors are available and responsive to students. I have even contacted professors long after law school when a particularly thorny issue has come up, and I have needed a sounding board in their areas of expertise.”

Unlike stories Linda has heard of other law schools, she found a camaraderie at MSU Law that helped her get through it all. “Some of the people I met in law school are my closest friends now. Because we all work in firms across the state, I now have a wide network of contacts and referral sources. Additionally, the scholarship programs offered at the law college are generous, a fact that should not be discounted, as a law school education is an expensive investment. To the extent you can lower that cost, you should do so.”