Ryan Downer (He/Him)

Director of Litigation

As Director of Litigation, Ryan manages and oversees CRC’s active litigation docket. In addition, Ryan works directly on cases challenging the criminalization of poverty, particularly in the areas of prosecutor misconduct and wealth-based pretrial detention. Ryan’s casework at CRC has included appearances in Singleton v. Cannizzaro, challenging the New Orleans’ district attorney’s use of fake subpoenas; Briggs v. Maricopa County, challenging blatant wealth discrimination in the County’s marijuana diversion program; and CRC’s efforts to protect detainees in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ryan joined Civil Rights Corps after a decade of litigating civil rights cases at both Relman, Dane & Colfax, PLLC in Washington, D.C. and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc. (LDF) in New York. At Relman, Ryan served as lead counsel on numerous fair housing, employment, and public accommodations matters, including two of the first cases to facially challenge blanket criminal records bans imposed by private housing providers (Fortune Society v. Sandcastle Towers; Equal Rights Center v. Mid-America Apartment Communities, Inc.). As lead counsel on his cases, Ryan managed every aspect of federal litigation, appearing in district courts across the country and arguing multiple appeals in the Fifth, Sixth, and Tenth Circuits.

Ryan received his J.D. cum laude from New York University, where he was a Root Tilden Kern Scholar, an articles editor on the NYU Law Review, and a student-attorney in the Juvenile Defender Clinic. After graduation, he clerked for The Hon. Martha Craig Daughtrey of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Ryan received his undergraduate degree cum laude from Harvard College.