The University of Houston Law Center Faculty

Ryan   McConnell


Ryan McConnell is a partner at McConnell Sovany LLP - a boutique law firm focusing on corporate compliance, criminal defense and plaintiffs' litigation.

Before entering private practice, Ryan served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Louisiana and Houston. As part of the U.S. Attorney's office Organized Crime Strike Force in Houston, Ryan tried numerous criminal cases and conducted significant grand jury investigations of international scope on matters ranging from violations of the U.S. trade laws to complex fraud. He also regularly briefed and argued criminal appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. In addition to his trial work, Ryan participated in the planning and execution of undercover operations to enforce U.S. trade controls and was involved in some of the most significant worksite enforcement investigations in the United States. Ryan was also involved in training Department of Justice (DOJ) federal prosecutors, including preparing DOJ training materials on criminal procedure, corporate compliance, and charging. He taught a number of classes, including trial advocacy, to federal prosecutors and investigators at the DOJ National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina.

Outside of his practice, Ryan teaches international corporate compliance and criminal procedure at the University of Houston Law Center. In 2011, he was named faculty member of the year by the UH Advocates, and his corporate compliance course was recently featured on The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog. Ryan is also a columnist for Corporate Counsel magazine, writing the Risky Business column which focuses on compliance and risk issues. Ryan is a frequent speaker on criminal charging and compliance developments.

For the last two years, he has organized an Ethics and Compliance Symposium at the University of Houston Law Center that has received national attention in publications ranging from Corporate Counsel to the Wall Street Journal. In 2011, he led an empirical study that analyzed the codes of conduct of Fortune 500 companies, and in 2012 he partnered with the Ethisphere Institute to create a searchable database of publicly available provisions from those codes. Ryan is continuing to develop this database with the University of Houston Law Center.

Over the last five years, Ryan has written numerous articles discussing empirical data gathered from DOJ criminal prosecutions and addressing the DOJ's corporate charging trends, charging principles, and corporate monitors. He also assisted Ethisphere in creating a database of deferred and nonprosecution agreements. His research in this area has been cited by Congress in examining the need for legislation on deferred and nonprosecution agreements, as well as corporate monitors, and his research on corporate charging and compliance has been featured in news publications including USA Today and Corporate Counsel.

Ryan began his career as a law clerk for Judge John C. Godbold of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Before founding McConnell Sovany LLP, Ryan was a partner at two global law firms.