IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law, J.D., 1999
Indiana University, B.A., 1996
Ryan Jacobson’s client roster reads like a who’s who list of leaders in the entertainment, media and hospitality industries. His loyalists cite a common theme when describing how he has become an invaluable asset to their success, and a reliable confidante when faced with challenging business decisions: He is conscientious, persuasive and a tenacious advocate for those who have placed their trust in his hands.
Hospitality: Ryan has served the restaurant, tavern and hotel industries for well over a decade. From convenience store to grocery store, hot dog stand to restaurant group, bed-and-breakfast to hotel chain, leaders in the industry rely on his team’s ability to handle transactional and risk-related issues unique to hospitality. In fact, Ryan is often appointed to act as their "outside" General Counsel charged with managing his clients’ legal needs in the areas of Corporate, Real Estate, Labor & Employment, Intellectual Property and Litigation. His team is well versed in entity formation, private placement and finance, brand and liquor licensing, commercial leasing and zoning, insurance and franchising. They also routinely draft handbooks and training guides, and will counsel management, staff and security to minimize liability and prevent harassment and discrimination claims. Ryan and his team regularly collaborate with human resources and payroll to ensure compliance with local and federal laws, as well as personnel-related challenges. If litigation is inevitable, Ryan has a proven track record and pragmatic approach with an eye toward early, cost-effective resolution.
Entertainment & Fashion: In the entertainment arena, Ryan serves the legal needs of the industry’s most creative minds so they can focus on making us laugh, cry, dance or look our best. He is often retained by authors, filmmakers, producers and talent to protect their interests and ideas. Ryan offers a unique perspective to his clients, having graduated Second City’s improvisation and acting training program, and having performed on stage, television and in film. Ryan's fashion practice involves counseling business owners and creative directors in the areas of high-end apparel, swimwear, footwear and cosmetics. He also counsels talent agencies, event planners, and advertisers relative to fashion shows and related publicity. Inspired by his mother, a fashion designer, and his father, a 40+ year veteran in apparel merchandising, Ryan has a keen understanding of what it takes to flourish in the industry.
Media & Privacy: Warren Buffet once said, “[i]t takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” As the public becomes increasingly reliant on the Internet as a primary news source, and social media for guidance on where to travel, stay, eat and with whom to do business, we are seeing an influx of defamation and commercial disparagement lawsuits. Ryan’s niche litigation practice centers on two types of clientele. The first are media clients -- such as journalists, on-air personalities and publishers -- scrutinized for inaccurate reporting. He defends the media against libel suits and subpoenas seeking disclosure of their work product and sources, and he advises his clients at the pre-publication and pre-broadcast stages to minimize risk. The balance of his practice involves representing corporations, their officers and marketing departments against reputational harm, advertising injury, right of publicity and privacy-related claims. Political figureheads, celebrities and even private individuals demand his counsel when faced with public, debilitating accusations.
- Recognized as "40 Illinois Attorney Under 40 to Watch" by the Law Bulletin in 2007
- Selected to the Illinois Super Lawyers "Rising Stars" List: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
- Selected to the Illinois Super Lawyers List: 2016, 2017
- Recipient of the Chicago-Kent College of Law 2009 Young Alumni Award
Memberships & Involvement
- Member: SmithAmundsen Diversity Committee; DRI, Retail and Hospitality Law Committee; Illinois Restaurant Association
- American Bar Association: Communications Committee; Forum on the Entertainment & Sports Industries
News & Press Releases
- SmithAmundsen, January 13, 2017
- SmithAmundsen Selected as Outside General Counsel to the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern IllinoisOctober 27, 2016
- Entertainment Lawyer Says ‘Yes, and” to Launching His Own Cinematic Career – Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Features Ryan JacobsonChicago Daily Law Bulletin, September 19, 2016
- 37 SmithAmundsen Attorneys Included on 2016 Illinois Super Lawyers and 2016 Illinois Rising Stars ListsSmithAmundsen, January 8, 2016
- June 25, 2014
- January 3, 2013
- Preserving Your Reputation in the Digital Age: How to Prevent Critics from Sabotaging Your Good NameUSLAW Magazine, Spring 2013
Presentations & Events
- Defending Dram Shop Nationwide: Investigating Claims to Minimize ExposureClient Presentation; Chicago, IL, September 23, 2016
- SmithAmundsen, Chicago, IL, July 12, 2016
- The Art of NetworkingChicago-Kent ASCK Week; Chicago, IL, February 25, 2016
- Park Hyatt, Chicago, IL, February 18, 2016
- Chicago, IL, June 25, 2015
- Chicago, IL, March 5, 2015
- 150 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 3300, Chicago IL, 60601, February 19, 2015
- Pitfalls Plaguing the Hospitality Industry: How to Avoid Liability When Paying Wages and Overtime, Tip Pooling, and Maintaining RecordsChicago, IL, June 17, 2014
- SmithAmundsen's Chicago Office, February 27, 2014
- Life After Latin: The Latin School of Chicago’s Before School Alumni PanelThe Forum, April 15, 2013