Robert S. Ryan is a member in the Firm’s Real Estate & Lending Service Team.  Mr. Ryan’s practice experience encompasses real estate, business and commercial matters, contracts, creditor’s rights, insurance, bankruptcy, and commercial litigation.

He represents clients in connection with the negotiations and preparation of contracts and leases, the development of residential communities and commercial properties, the examination and clearing of title to real property, and the closing of financing and acquisition of real estate.  Mr. Ryan also provides general legal counsel to individual and business clients and community associations, including representation of business clients in the purchase and sale of business interests and community associations with their establishment and corporate governance.  His experience includes third-party opinion letters, loan defaults, workouts, foreclosures and pre-bankruptcy counseling.  Mr. Ryan is trained as a certified mediator to conduct mediated settlement conferences and has served as a receiver and receiver’s counsel.

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  • Represented developers in the establishment of sizable condominium regimes and residential subdivisions.
  • Represented shopping center landlords in various commercial transactions including acquisition, finance development, sale and tenant related issues.
  • Assists clients with construction and real property title issues involving office, retail and residential real estate.
  • Represented landowners in sizable land sales.
  • Regularly counsels business clients with regard to contracts and general corporate matters, including formation, ownership change and ongoing governance issues.
  • Appointed receiver for real estate title company and served as receiver’s counsel for large commercial buildings in loan foreclosure.
  • Counseled clients in the acquisition and sale of business ownership interests and assets and a variety of financing transactions.
  • Represented a major church with the acquisition and development of its building site.
  • Represented major auto dealers with corporate and real estate needs.
  • Advised numerous banking institutions with loan documentation and work outs.
  • Represented community associations with their acquisition and sale of neighborhood amenities and ongoing corporate governance.
  • Assisted clients with franchise and restaurant related matters.
  • Litigated numerous sizable real estate title disputes, including for individuals, business and banking institutions.
  • Litigated significant Uniform Commercial Code related disputes.
  • Provided local counsel and third-party opinions.
  • Represented parties involved in business bankruptcy matters, including secured creditors, pre-petition suppliers of goods and services to debtors, preferential and fraudulent transfer litigaton and sales under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code.
  • Litigated legal malpractice actions relating to real estate title disputes


  • J.D., Ohio Northern University, 1979
  • B.A., University of Kentucky, departmental honors, 1976


  • Kentucky
  • North Carolina
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Kentucky Supreme Court
  • North Carolina Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit


  • Woodward/White’s The Best Lawyers in America® Lexington Litigation-Bankruptcy “Lawyer of the Year” for 2013
  • Woodward/White’s The Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships), Commercial Transactions/UCC Law, Litigation – Bankruptcy, Litigation – Real Estate, Real Estate Law, 1995-2021
  • Kentucky Super Lawyers® 2007-2010, 2013-2016
  • Highest Professional AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory


  • Fowler Bell, Lexington (former managing partner)
  • Stith & Stith, New Bern, North Carolina


  • Central Kentucky Inn of Courts, Secretary 2015-2016
  • Ohio Northern University Law Alumni Association, President, 2008-present
  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • Fayette County Bar Association


  • Board of Directors, Commerce Lexington Inc.
  • Board of Directors, Bluegrass Tomorrow
  • The Rotary Club of Lexington, President’s Cup Award, 2013
  • Rotary Director Governor for District 6470 (Eastern half of Kentucky), 2010-2011
  • The Rotary Club of Lexington, President, 2003-2004, Board of Directors, 1997-2005
  • Burning Stick Foundation, Board Member, 2007-present
  • Project Graduation, Board of Directors, 2001
  • Chair of the Rotary Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund, 2012-2013
  • Bluegrass Community Connector