Growing up in Chandler, Arizona, Tom knew from a young age that he wanted to help people in his close knit community by becoming an attorney. Tom's enthusiasm for reading and history coupled with his compassion and keen sense of justice spurred him to pursue his dream.
As number five in a family of eleven children, getting to college was no easy task. Tom's hard work earned him the Regent's Scholar and Baird's Scholar distinction affording him attendance to the University of Arizona. Upon graduating in 1979 with a major in History and a minor in Accounting, Tom entered the Arizona State University College of Law.
He distinguished himself early on as a motivated student and ardent leader. Tom became the Student Bar Association President at a time when the Dean and administration were going to change requirements that would greatly impact many students ability to graduate. Tom's diligent research, command of the facts and persuasive appeal ultimately gained a successful outcome for the Student Bar.
In law school, Tom not only Co-Founded the Canby Cup Competition and the Moot Court Board, he competed regionally on the Moot Court Team and became a Canby Cup Finalist. As a result of his success in Moot Court, Tom received the Order of Barristers for "having exhibited excellence and attained high honors through the art of courtroom advocacy." During second year of law school, Tom received Dean's Awards for the Student Bar Association and the Moot Court Board. Ten years later, in 1991, he was honored by the ASU College of Law Moot court Board as a Founding Member. Tom worked during law school as a clerk for the Law Firm of Andersen & Schatz and by third year he was Bailiff/Law Clerk for the Honorable Jeffery S. Cates of the Maricopa County Superior Court.
Tom was admitted to the State Bar of Arizona and the U.S. District Court of Arizona in 1983. True to his dream, Tom came back to Chandler to practice law. Within his first year of practice, Tom appeared in front of the Arizona Supreme Court defending a capital murder case.
By 1988, the Law Office of Thomas M. Ryan was founded on Chandler Boulevard. During this time Tom served as the President of the East Valley Bar Association, and was on the Board of Directors for the St. Thomas Moore Society, the Chandler Regional Hospital and the East Valley Regional Health System. In 1998 he became Chairman of the Board for the East Valley Regional Health System and ultimately secured the merger between Catholic Healthcare West and Chandler Regional Hospital. Tom's negotiations helped create the growth of the East Valley healthcare through creation of the ASIC wing at Chandler Regional Hospital and Mercy Gilbert Hospital in the southeast valley.
Throughout the 1980's and 1990's, Tom became well respected for his professionalism, fairness and integrity. He became the recipient of the 1993 Arizona Bar Foundation Pro Bono Service Award and the 1994 National Catholic Educational Association Distinguished Graduate Award. In 2003, Tom received the Legislative Co-Chair Award and Acknowledgment for "outstanding contribution at the legislature on behalf of consumers and injured victims."
For over two decades, Tom has been asked to lecture for the Maricopa County Bar Association, the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the Montana Trial Lawyers Association, the National Association of Counsel for Children, the National Business Institute, Professional Education Systems, and Yale University.
Tom has represented clients in the courts of Arizona, California, Florida, Kansas, South Carolina, Iowa, Illinois, and Tennessee. Many of these high profile cases have been highlighted on Court TV, Dateline NBC, 48 Hours, 20/20 and MSNBC Crime Files. He has served as a Judge Pro-Tem in the Maricopa County Justice Court and the Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Phoenix City Courts.
In 1998, Tom became a State Bar Certified Specialist in the field of injury and wrongful death. His experience in cases entailing complex medical injuries, premises liability, road design, birth trauma, personal injury, nursing home negligence and wrongful death have earned him the highest rank from Martindale Hubble - AV rating. Tom is recognized in Super Lawyers of America, Best Lawyers in America, U.S. News & World Report-Best Lawyers-Best Law Firms with a Tier 1 ranking and Arizona’s Finest Lawyers.
Tom was the recipient of the 2011-2012 Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year – Arizona Association for Justice, 2016 President’s Award - State Bar of Arizona, 2017 Lawyer of the Year – East Valley Best Lawyers, and 2019 Lifetime Advocate Award – Arizona Association for Justice
For over 35 years Tom has served his clients with the compassion and concern of an older brother.