John M. Ryan

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John M. Ryan

John is a senior partner with Vandeventer Black and traditionally concentrates his law practice in commercial, maritime and employment matters.  His practice focuses on the many aspects of marine terminal operations, as well as complex civil litigation before the state and federal courts.

For many years, John served as General Counsel to Virginia International Terminals, Inc., the company that operates the state’s four major maritime terminals in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News and Front Royal.  He is counsel to the Virginia Offshore Wind Coalition and a member of the Old Dominion Maritime Institute Advisory Board.

He received an A.B. from Dartmouth College and a LL.B. from the University of Virginia. John served as the President of the Virginia Bar Association (1988-89), and is an honorary member of the West Virginia Bar Association and a member of the National and Southern Conferences of Bar Presidents.  He is also a member of the Virginia Maritime Association, The Maritime Law Association of the United States (Board Member 2005-08) and the Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute.  John is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.  Further, he is a permanent member of the Judicial Conference of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and a former Trustee of the John Marshall Foundation.

John is listed in The Best Lawyers of America  in the fields of Business Litigation, Maritime Law and Labor and Employment Law.  He is a recipient of the Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association’s Eggleston-I’Anson Professionalism Award. In 2012, he was named “Lawyer of the Year” in Admiralty and Maritime Law.  In 2016, the Virginia Maritime Association presented John with its Distinguished Service Award. 

From 1966-76, John was an Adjunct Instructor at the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary, teaching a seminar in Advanced Problems in Admiralty Law.

Vandeventer Black LLP has been active in international legal matters throughout its long history. It represents underwriters and commercial marine operations in northern Europe and South America. John has provided advice to marine and logistics firms doing business in South America, Europe and the Far East.

John’s ties to the community are strong.  He serves on the board of the World Affairs Council and is a Director of the Greater Norfolk Corporation. He is a former board member of Children’s Health Services, the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia and former Commissioner and Chair of the Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission. He is a former Director of the Virginia Symphony and a former Trustee of the Norfolk Academy.  In addition, he is the Founder of the Norfolk Rugby Football Club, now the Norfolk Blues, and a member of the Virginia Rugby Hall of Fame.  John is a veteran of the United States Army. 


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