HARRISBURG, Pa. (Legal Newsline) - William H. Ryan Jr. became Pennsylvania's acting attorney general after Tom Corbett, the outgoing attorney general, took the oath of office as governor Tuesday.
Under the state's Commonwealth Attorneys Act, Ryan, as First Deputy Attorney General, assumes all of the powers and duties of Attorney General upon a vacancy in the office.
He will continue to serve until such time as Corbett nominates and the Pennsylvania Senate confirms a person who will fill the position for the balance of the unexpired term. The current term for attorney general runs through January 2013.
"The hard working men and women of the Attorney General's Office have dedicated their careers to making Pennsylvania a safer place to live and work," Ryan said in a statement.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to lead this fine organization and continue our important mission."
According to a statement released on the state's new top lawyer, Ryan "brings a wealth of experience."
As a career prosecutor, he has worked to protect citizens of the Keystone State for nearly three decades and, since 1997, he has offered advice and guidance to three Pennsylvania attorneys general.
Most recently, he was appointed First Deputy Attorney General by both Corbett and former Attorney General Jerry Pappert, overseeing legal and administrative matters for the office.
Prior to that, Ryan headed the Criminal Law Division under Attorney General Mike Fisher, directing investigations involving organized crime, narcotics trafficking and other public safety matters.
Before joining the Attorney General's Office in 1997, Ryan was twice elected the District Attorney of Delaware County. In fact, he began his legal career with the district attorney's office in 1972, working as a legal intern while in law school.
He eventually rose to the position of First Assistant District Attorney in 1981, a post he held until first being elected District Attorney in 1987.
Ryan graduated from St. Joseph's University and Villanova Law School, and lives in Delaware County with his wife, Debra. They have two sons, Dan and Chris.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.