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Thomas C. Ryan

Fax +1.412.355.6501
Thomas Ryan is a trial lawyer who represents clients under scrutiny for allegations of misconduct that cover the gamut of enforcement actions brought by state, federal, and international agencies. As a former federal prosecutor focused on complex white collar criminal cases, Mr. Ryan brings the courtroom perspective to the defense of every single enforcement action from the outset. Mr. Ryan is also routinely entrusted with clients’ most sensitive issues to conduct internal investigations, often involving whistleblowers or C-Suite implications. Most recently, Mr. Ryan was recognized in Legal 500 for his work in this area relating to conducting cross-border investigations and defense of government enforcement actions.

Mr. Ryan complements his criminal practice with a complex commercial litigation practice, focused primarily on the energy and health care industries. In the energy space, he routinely represents upstream and midstream members of the unconventional gas industry active in the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations lying under Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.

In the health care sector, Mr. Ryan is also an active member of the firm’s Health Care Fraud Task Force, a cross-practice collaboration between the firm’s internationally recognized health care and investigations, enforcement and white collar practice groups. As part of that group, Mr. Ryan actively defends a broad spectrum of health care providers in various forms of qui tam actions, involving allegations of violations of the False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Statute, and Stark Law.

In addition to representing clients, Mr. Ryan also serves as an assistant general counsel to the firm, where, among other things, he serves on the firm’s ISO27001-certified Information Security Management Systems Committee, which coordinates the firm’s ongoing commitment to the highest global standards of data privacy, management, and security.

Professional Background

After dabbling in politics before law school, Mr. Ryan began his legal career with K&L Gates, where he gained broad international experience representing clients on a variety of commercial litigation matters, highlighted by a year-long secondment at an international construction client collaborating with an Italian joint-venture partner to design and construct an offshore gas-to-liquids facility in the Niger Delta, which provided a tremendous professional growth opportunity, as he was consistently called upon to provide sharp legal analysis under unrelenting time constraints.

After several successful years with the firm, Mr. Ryan served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the white collar crime section for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Mr. Ryan tried numerous cases to jury verdict and argued a number of appeals before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Ryan focused his efforts on political and business corruption, ranging from the conviction of several elected officials in a voter-fraud conspiracy to a coal company executive involved in a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme. Having tried the full spectrum of federal crimes, including Titles 18, 21, 26, and 31 of the U.S. Code, Mr. Ryan returned to private practice at K&L Gates in 2014.

In 2015, Mr. Ryan had the privilege of being appointed Special Counsel to the Pennsylvania State Senate’s bipartisan Special Committee on Senate Address, which was constituted to consider the removal of then-Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a historical constitutional moment in the commonwealth’s history.

Further, in 2018, Mr. Ryan was entrusted by the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia to represent the institution in coordinating its cooperation with multiple federal grand jury investigations and overlapping impeachment proceedings involving alleged misconduct of certain sitting members of the court.

Mr. Ryan also devotes a substantial amount of his time to many of the firm’s worthy pro bono efforts, including serving on the Criminal Justice Act Panel for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and also as an independent director on the board of PLEA Agency, Inc., a nonprofit organization committed to educating and improving the quality of life for individuals of all ages with behavioral or developmental disabilities.


  • Listed in Chambers USA for Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations in Pennsylvania, 2020

Professional/Civic Activities

  • 2016 Fast Tracker, Pittsburgh Business Times
  • WDPA Criminal Justice Act Panel member
  • American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section member
  • Allegheny County Bar Association, Federal Court Section member
  • Republican National Lawyers Association member
  • West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association Government Relations Committee member
  • Energy & Mineral Law Foundation Strategic Planning Committee member
  • Independent Director of PLEA Agency, Inc.
  • The Federalist Society member
  • McCandless Township Republican Executive Committee member
  • Five-time recipient of U.S. Attorney’s Award for Exemplary Service (2008–2014)
  • 2012 March of Dimes West Virginia Chapter Ambassador Family of the Year

Speaking Engagements

  • Thomas C. Ryan, et al., Considerations for What Your Lease Doesn’t Say: An Update on Implied Covenants in the Appalachian Basin, Energy & Mineral Law Foundation 40th Annual Institute, Washington, D.C., June 9–11, 2019.
  • Thomas C. Ryan et al., What You Don’t Know Can’t Hurt You, Right? Resolving the Inherent Tension Between the Yates Memo and the Collective Knowledge Doctrine in Environmental Criminal Enforcement Actions, Energy & Mineral Law Foundation 39th Annual Institute, Nashville, TN, June 17–19, 2018.
  • Thomas C. Ryan and Katherine Gafner, Minimizing the Intrusion of an Enforcement Action, In-House Counsel Presentation, October 6, 2017.
  • Thomas C. Ryan et al., Phases and Considerations of a Government Investigation, section presentation, “The Criminalization of Environmental Regulation: How to Respond and Isthere More to Come?,” K&L Gates CLE Program, Houston, TX, February 28, 2017.
  • Thomas C. Ryan et al., Corporate Responses to Investigative Requests by the Federal Government, Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, November 1, 2016.
  • Thomas C. Ryan, The Life Cycle of a Complex Federal Financial Crime: FinCEN Coming Full Circle?, West Virginia Bankers’ Association Annual BSA/AML School, October 20, 2016.
  • Thomas C. Ryan et al., Law Firm Beware: Environmental Due Diligence in Corporate Transactions, September 26, 2016, K&L Gates Firmwide training seminar.
  • Thomas C. Ryan, Federal Rule Changes Affecting e-Discovery Are Here - What are the Implications?; section presentation, “The Interplay of the Ethics Rules," K&L Gates CLE Program, Pittsburgh, PA, December 3, 2015.
  • Thomas C. Ryan and Nicholas J. Ranjan, Ethical Considerations Arising In Depositions, K&L Gates Associate Training Program, Pittsburgh, PA, September 3, 2015.
  • Thomas C. Ryan, Money Laundering Concerns in M&A Transactions, Pennsylvania Bar Institute Ethics CLE Program: “Mergers and Acquisitions: Developments and Practice Tips,” Pittsburgh, PA, June 18, 2015.
  • Thomas C. Ryan and Mark A. Rush, A Guide to the Development of a Cyber Data Breach Action Plan, K&L Gates CLE Program: Cybersecurity: Minimizing Risk and Managing Consequences, Pittsburgh, PA, December 9, 2014.
  • Thomas C. Ryan and Allison L. Burdette, Tracking the Trends in BSA Prosecutions and AML Regulatory Compliance, CNB Bank, Inc. Bank Secrecy Act employee training program, Berkeley Springs, WV, October 28, 2014.
  • Thomas C. Ryan, Bankruptcy Fraud and Criminal Prosecution, West Virginia State Bar, CLE Program, May 26, 2011.
Government Enforcement Experience
  • Represented the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia in cooperating with multiple federal grand jury investigations and overlapping impeachment proceedings involving alleged misconduct by certain sitting members of the court.
  • Defended an energy client in a parallel investigation conducted by U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) focused on allegations of securities fraud related to the abandonment of a first-of-a-kind construction project.
  • Obtained declination for a midstream gas company following yearlong investigation by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and DOJ involving allegations of criminal Clean Air Act violations.
  • Defended a specialty metals manufacturer in an investigation by the criminal enforcement division of the U.S. Department of Transportation and DOJ Main Justice involving an allegation of the illegal, cross-country transportation of a hazardous material.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 company cooperating with multiple simultaneous federal grand jury investigations focused on violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and other international fraud and anti-money laundering related allegations.
  • Defended a couple alleged to have been involved in an insider trading scheme involving a sitting member of Congress.
  • Represented a multinational energy company in an SEC investigation focused on potential securities fraud violations related to revenue recognition manipulation by the parent company.
  • Represented members of the oil and gas industry responding to inquiries initiated by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Antitrust Section and Bureau of Consumer Protection.
  • Represented a private provider of drug and alcohol rehabilitation services in a Pennsylvania statewide grand jury investigation involving unique issues of confidentiality under both state law and 42 C.F.R. Part 2.
  • Defended high-net-worth individual charged in multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme.
Internal Investigation-Related Experience
  • Conducted a year-long, cross-border internal investigation involving allegations of accounting fraud that required the collection of evidence from the United States and Japan for a client in the energy sector as a result of a US$6 billion cost overrun on a first-of-a-kind construction project.
  • Represented a multinational company in assisting a DOJ and Internal Revenue Service investigation and prosecution of a former employee who embezzled nearly US$15 million.
  • Conducted a cross-border internal investigation involving evidence in the United States and France for a client in the energy sector arising out of a whistleblower complaint of management’s alleged failure to timely recognize costs in its estimate to complete a construction project for a state-owned utility.
  • Investigated allegations of systemic sexual harassment by a mid-level manager of an energy client.
  • Conducted a cross-border internal investigation involving allegations of workplace and financial misconduct by the manager of a U.S.-based energy client’s Korean subsidiary.
  • Investigated allegations of a multimillion-dollar fraud related to an international engineering firm’s compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles as they related to a financial position taken on certain construction claims.
  • Conducted an internal compliance investigation for a client in the energy sector arising out of an ethics hotline complaint alleging the chief operations officer was authorizing improper promotions and salary increases based on a sexual relationship.
  • Conducted an investigation into allegations of employee sexual misconduct on behalf of a nonprofit client who services the adult mentally handicapped community.
  • Advised a nonprofit that provides mental health services to youth in Western Pennsylvania in responding to inquiries regarding alleged fraudulent billing practices initiated by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
  • Conducted an internal investigation for a national engineering firm arising out of an ethics hotline complaint involving allegations of fraudulent billing practices.
Energy and Construction Practice Experience
  • Obtained dismissal of multiple royalty class actions for several Marcellus Shale gas play producers by strategically invoking arbitration provision and defeating class status.
  • Defended multi-plaintiff litigation challenging a producer’s approach to royalty calculation under West Virginia’s seminal cases of Wellman v. Energy Res., Inc., 557 S.E.2d 254, 256 (W. Va. 2001) and Estate of Tawney v. Columbia Natural Resources, L.L.C., 633 S.E.2d 22 (W. Va. 2006).
  • Defended a producer in a lessor litigation alleging a breach of a duty to further explore.
  • Defended a producer in an alleged “washout” case brought by an overriding royalty interest holder.
  • Represented a midstream company in pursuing a US$20 million claim for defective design and construction of one of the largest retaining walls in the eastern United States.
  • Represented a pipeline company in dismissing mechanic’s lien filed by terminated contractor on US$10 million pipeline project.
  • Represented a natural spring water production company at trial involving a quiet title and ejectment action in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
  • Defended a midstream company in a right-of-way dispute.
  • Defended a gas fractionation facility in a series of nuisance claims.
Health Care Fraud Practice Experience
  • Defended a community-based hospital system in a federal grand jury investigation focused on alleged violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1347 involving the performance of medically unnecessary procedures in the cardiology program.
  • Defended a community-based hospital system in the defense of a qui tam action that included allegations of Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Law violations related to physician practice acquisitions, as well as False Claims Act violations arising out of the facility’s “Incident to” billing procedures.
  • Defended a former claims manager executive accused of arranging a ghost employee to defraud the health care provider employer.
Other Representative Experience
  • Appointed as Special Counsel to the Pennsylvania State Senate’s bipartisan Special Committee on Senate Address to consider the removal of then-Attorney General Kathleen Kane.
  • Represented candidate for the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia in the appeal of two rulings by the West Virginia State Election Commission to provide public campaign financing to candidates for the Supreme Court in the May 2016 election.
  • Prosecuted a financial institution through the use of a deferred prosecution agreement for failing to file Suspicious Activity Reports and Currency Transaction Reports and other willful violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and coordinated settlement with DOJ Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. United States v. Bank of Mingo, No. 2:15-00129.
  • Prosecuted one of the only “internal cyberattack” cases involving a former information technology network engineer for an exploration and production company, who was convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 1030, the federal cybercrime statute, for crashing the company’s data storage area network server and backup systems after he learned of his imminent termination. United States v. Ricky Joe Mitchell, No. 2:13-00201.
  • Prosecuted a criminal trademark infringement case involving an equipment repair shop owner, who was convicted of an intellectual property crime under 18 U.S.C. § 2320 arising out of the misuse of counterfeit labels affixed to refurbished electrical breakers, which had originally been manufactured specifically to heightened standards for use in the coal mining industry. United States v. Freddie Dean Ball, Jr., No. 2:13-00212.