John L. Ryder


40 S. Main St., Suite 2210 
Memphis, Tennessee 38103
Phone: 901-525-1455
Email: jryder [at] harrisshelton [dot] com

John Ryder's practice is split between two divergent areas of law: commercial litigation and election law. He has significant experience representing secured lenders, unsecured creditors’ committees, trustees and debtors in the bankruptcy process. He has participated in a number of major bankruptcies including The Julien Companies (the largest bankruptcy ever filed in the Western District of Tennessee), Microwave Products, Wexner & Jacobson, Wang’s, XpertTune and Braniff, to name a few. Mr. Ryder has also served as Receiver for Beale Street Historic District, Avery Outdoors, Inc and First American Monetary Consultants.

In addition, Mr. Ryder is knowledgeable in the area of election law, having represented clients in numerous cases involving redistricting matters and election contests, as well as defending clients before the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance. Currently, he is litigation counsel for the Shelby County Election Commission. He has taught Election Law as an Adjunct Professor at Vanderbilt University School of Law.

At Harris Shelton since 2000, Mr. Ryder was previously delinquent tax attorney for Shelby County and an assistant county attorney, as well as a member of the Shelby County Home Rule Charter Commission.

He served as General Counsel to the Republican National Committee from 2013-2017 and as Chairman of the Republican National Lawyers Association from 2017-2018. In 2016, he was selected as the RNLA Lawyer of the Year.

He has been recognized by Business Tennessee Magazine as being among the 101 Best Lawyers in Tennessee and has been listed in Best Lawyers since 1987.

Mr. Ryder was nominated by President Trump and confirmed by the Senate as a member of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Along with his involvement in professional organizations, he has given back to the community through involvement as chairman of the board of trustees of Opera Memphis and as secretary of Memphis Rotary. He has previously served on the boards of the YMCA of Greater Memphis and Bridges. He serves on the Vestry of St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Professional Honors and Activities

  • 101 Best Lawyers in Tennessee, Business Tennessee Magazine
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Best Lawyers, Litigation and Bankruptcy Memphis Lawyer of the Year, 2012
  • Commercial Law League of America, member
  • Memphis Bar Association, member
  • Memphis Bar Association, Sam Myar Award Recipient
  • Bankruptcy Section, past chairman, 1985
  • Mid-South Commercial Law Institute, past director, 1989-2006
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers
  • Republican National Committee, Chairman Redistricting Committee
  • Republican National Committee, Chairman, Presidential Nominating Schedule Committee
  • Republican National Committeeman for Tennessee
  • Republican National Lawyers Association, vice president
  • Republican National Lawyer of the Year, 2016
  • Tennessee Bar Association, member
  • Tennessee Bar Association, Chairman of Commercial, Banking and Bankruptcy Section, 1986
  • Turnaround Management Association, member
  • AVVO rating – Excellent
  • Martindale Hubbell rating – AV® Preeminent™

Representative Cases

  • Rural West Tennessee African-American Affairs Council v. Sundquist, 209 F. 3d 835, 2000 Fed. App. 0134 (6th Cir. 2000) rehearing and suggestion for rehearing en banc denied (May 16, 2000)
  • Langsdson v. Millsaps, 9 F. Supp. 2d 880 (W.D. Tn. 1998), aff’d 510 U.S. 1160 (1994)
  • In the Matter of Braniff Airways, Inc., 783 F. @d 1283 (5th Cir. 1986)
  • Doulin v White, 528 F. Supp 1323 (E. D. Ark 1982)
  • Mader v. Crowell, 498 F. Supp. 226 (W.D. Tn. 1980); 506 F. Supp. 484 (W.D. Tn. 1981)
  • Sullivan v. Crowell, 444 F. Supp. 606 (W.D. Tn. 1978)
  • White v. Crowell, 434 F. Supp. 1119 (W.D. Tn. 1977)


  • Vanderbilt University, J.D., 1974
  • Wabash College, A.B., 1971

Bar Admission

  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1979
  • Tennessee, 1974