Ryan Scarborough draws upon his deep experience in both federal and state courts across the country to advise his clients and litigate cases.  Ryan frequently defends financial institutions, law firms, corporations, and their directors and officers who are under investigation or find themselves facing litigation from government authorities, regulators, consumers, shareholders, and competitors. 

He has litigated against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and other financial regulatory agencies. Ryan is ranked by Benchmark Litigation and has been recognized by The Legal 500 for his work in handling Financial Services litigation, which describes him as an “[o]utstanding attorney and strategic thinker” and praises him for his “calming approach.”

Ryan also has extensive experience trying pharmaceutical product liability cases, having represented Wyeth and Pfizer for more than a decade in mass tort litigation involving diet drugs, vaccines, and menopausal hormone therapy. In the hormone therapy litigation, Ryan helped lead trial teams for bellwether cases and cases that were remanded from the MDL or in state court.

Ryan frequently speaks and writes about topics related to the representation of banks and their directors and officers, including regulatory and enforcement initiatives.  Last year, drawing on lessons learned from his representation of numerous banks, he published “A Litigator’s Thoughts on Protecting Financial Institutions from Enforcement Actions” in the ABA’s Business Law Today.  Ryan has also explored the contours of business judgment protections in an article in the Fordham Journal of Corporate and Financial Law discussing "Why Does the FDIC Sue Bank Officers? Exploring the Boundaries of the Business Judgment Rule in the Wake of the Great Recession," 20 Fordham J. Corp. & Fin. L. 367 (2015).  He has also published articles about the CFPB, including "The Law of Unintended Consequences: How the CFPB’s Unprecedented Legislative Authority and Enforcement Approach Has Invited Increasing Challenges," which appeared in the July 2016 edition of Banking & Financial Services Policy Report, and “Sometimes It Pays to Litigate Against the CFPB,” which appeared in the October 13, 2017 issue of Law360.

Ryan chairs the firm's Discovery Attorney Committee and leads Williams & Connolly’s Directors & Officers Practice Group.  His pro bono work includes an active role in supervising Williams & Connolly associates who represent clients in immigration/asylum matters, landlord-tenant disputes, Social Security disability cases, and historical preservation matters in Washington, D.C.  He has also served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where he taught a trial practice seminar regarding expert witnesses. 

Ryan was born and raised in Austin, Texas.  He graduated summa cum laude from Duke University in 1994 with a degree in Public Policy Studies.  Ryan then studied abroad in Japan for a year as a Fulbright Scholar at Tohoku University before entering law school.  Ryan graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1998, and served as a Primary Editor on the Harvard Law Review.  He joined Williams & Connolly in 2000 after clerking for U.S. District Court Judge Alan C. Kay in Honolulu.

Representative Experience

  • Defended two of only three lawsuits to be filed by the CFPB against banks allegedly involved in unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices
  • Defended former directors and officers of a dozen different banks in response to threatened or actual FDIC receivership lawsuits
  • Represented bank directors, officers, and institution-affiliated parties in response to threatened enforcement actions by the OCC, FDIC, and Federal Reserve Bank
  • Litigated class action lawsuits on behalf of multiple banks related to overdraft fees
  • Litigated breach of contract suits against the federal government on behalf of investors who recapitalized insolvent banks only to have the FDIC seize those banks after Congress enacted laws undoing the deals
  • Represented companies in response to CFPB enforcement investigations and actions, including appealing supervisory exam findings pursuant to the Bureau’s internal appeals process 
  • Advised banks and their directors on compliance obligations and compliance management systems to mitigate the risk of potential enforcement action or lender liability claims
  • Advised banks and their directors in response to threatened shareholder and derivative lawsuits
  • Litigated breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets case on behalf of payment processing client
  • Advised and defended major AmLaw law firm in response to threatened and actual claims
  • Defended bank in response to lender liability claims
  • Tried numerous cases on behalf of Pfizer and Wyeth involving menopausal hormone therapy medicines Prempro and Premarin 
  • Litigated breach of contract case in Delaware Chancery Court on behalf of real estate developer




"Financial Services Regulation: Banking Enforcement & Investigations (Nationwide)," Chambers USA, 2022

"Local Litigation Star," in General Commercial Litigation, Benchmark Litigation, 2020-2023

"Local Litigation Star," in Product Liability, Benchmark Litigation, 2020-2023

Selected to Super Lawyers, 2014, 2017-2019


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