LEADERSHIP IN LAW 2018: Ryan J. Vershay

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Ryan Vershay represents some of Indiana’s largest companies in real estate and business litigation in state and federal court and has become a leader within his firm. But he’s also passionate about helping young professional succeed. He’s active with IndyHub, which brings together young professionals, especially those new to the area, for opportunities to socialize and network. 

lil-vershay-2018If you hadn’t pursued a legal career, what would you be doing instead?

I would probably be involved in real estate investing and development. I’ve always enjoyed working with real estate. The opportunity to develop property and improve the brick and mortar of a community would be fun and rewarding on many levels. It also produces tangible results. 

When did you first decide you would become a lawyer, and what motivated you?

When I was in grade school, people would often tell me I would make a great lawyer. I didn’t know any lawyers at the time, or what they saw in me that would make them say that. But I set my sights on law school at an early age, and I’m happy I made that decision. Once in law school, I realized it was a unique opportunity and I motivated myself to make the most of it each day. Which probably resulted in way too many hours spent outlining for finals. 

What was your most memorable job before becoming an attorney?

I was at a wedding in Iowa when I received a call from a friend’s father. He was on his way to Minneapolis to install school lockers. All I had was a backpack full of dress clothes, but he picked me up from the reception a few hours later. My roommates drove my car back to Michigan and I spent the next two weeks installing school lockers. 

Who is someone who inspired or mentored you, and what did you learn from them?

I didn’t realize it until I moved out for college, but I learned a sense of responsibility and work ethic from my dad. Whether it was waking up before dawn each day for a long commute or carting us around to our various baseball games and social events, he never hesitated or complained (and actually seemed to enjoy it). It was all part of earning a living and raising a family, which I can appreciate now. 

What’s been the most rewarding aspect of your practice?

Solving client problems. The broad nature of my practice has presented a variety of clients with a variety of legal issues, and very seldom are two situations alike. Finding and reaching solutions tailored to each client’s needs has been the most challenging, and rewarding, aspect of my practice. Especially when the viability of a client’s business hangs in the balance.

Tell us about your involvement in the young professionals organization IndyHub.

When I moved to Indy in 2008, I had no friends or family in the area and had to quickly build a social and professional network. IndyHub was a great resource because it connected me with a variety of other young professionals at a series of engaging events. I started the monthly IndyHub Happy Hour to provide an informal, no-obligation setting for young professionals to meet and socialize — especially those relocating to Indy and finding themselves in a similar position as me. I continued to participate in various IndyHub events and served as a founding member of its Mosaic Initiative. 

What do you most enjoy doing when you’re not in the office?

Spending time with my wife and three (soon to be four) kids. I try to prioritize my time at home as much as I prioritize my time at work (with some exceptions, of course). I believe that if I can be a successful husband and father, that will provide a solid foundation for professional success. 

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

Our kids will hopefully all be moved out by then, so I see myself traveling with my wife and catching up on some old hobbies. Professionally, I see myself right here at Lewis Wagner. The firm has provided every opportunity to build my practice and develop personal and professional relationships. I enjoy the people I work with, and the firm continues to add talented new professionals. 

You’re active in numerous bar groups. How do those associations benefit you professionally?

Participation in bar events has provided me an opportunity to interact with local attorneys in a non-litigious context, and to often meet the person behind the name on a pleading. I have also enjoyed connecting with attorneys from other cities and states, firms of all sizes and practice areas. Having a widespread network has helped serve our clients when a legal issue arises in another jurisdiction and has been a valuable source of referral work here in Indy. 

What’s something about you not many people know?

I graduated from Ave Maria College in Ypsilanti, Michigan. A year later, the school closed and moved to Florida. After graduation, I completed a year of law school at Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A year later, the school closed and moved to Florida. I finished my law degree at Notre Dame Law School. Fortunately, it did not close and did not move to Florida. For a moment I thought I was the common denominator!

What has been your most memorable case?

My most memorable case was our firm’s involvement in the litigation involving Dr. Mark Weinberger, the “nose doctor.” Sadly, his actions impacted the lives of many of his patients. But the legal and factual issues were fascinating and his disappearance and capture resembled a crime novel. 

How do you see the legal profession changing in the next decade?

I believe satisfying the changes in client needs and demands will be the driving factor for how much the profession changes during the next decade. Many businesses are tightening litigation budgets and increasingly handling other legal work in-house, and so I believe maintaining an ability to provide great service and great results at reasonable and consistent fee structures will be critical to maintaining and growing a practice during the next decade.•

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