Philip D. Ryan

Social security disability lawyer Phillip Ryan

Philip Ryan has spent his entire career as a lawyer working in the firm his father, Patrick, established in 1984. Philip began worked at the firm in 1985, while still attending law school and formally joined the firm as a licensed attorney after getting his J.D. in 1986.

Although his Oklahoma roots run deep, Philip was born in Washington, D.C., just blocks from the White House, while his father served in the U.S. Army. After his father completed his military service, the family moved back to Oklahoma. Philip attended Oklahoma State University and received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1981.

After completing college, Philip worked in the legal division of the Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner’s office. He enjoyed the work and realized that he wanted to follow his father’s career path, so he enrolled in Oklahoma City University School of Law, where he graduated ranked fourth in his class (working during the day and attending classes in the evening).

When Philip began his career as an attorney, he handled a number of insurance receivership cases stemming from the state’s financial and oil industry downturn. He also began handling workers’ compensation claims as well as personal injury cases. Since then, however, his practice has moved away from workers’ compensation and now is overwhelmingly focused on social security disability cases.

As a social security disability attorney, Philip has built a reputation for excellence in his field. “I’m known for being prepared — knowing the file backwards and forwards, and knowing my client’s medical history top to bottom,” he says. “This is extremely important in dealing with social security cases as there is an intricate relationship between the medical documentation and the ability to obtain an award of disability.”

Contrasting his current disability practice with his earlier days as a workers’ compensation lawyer, Philip says that the nature of the cases are significantly different.

“Workers’ compensation cases tend to focus on orthopedic injuries,” he says. “While we’re certainly dealing with some orthopedic injuries and orthopedic problems in social security disability cases, we’re also dealing with cardiac problems, pulmonary problems, cancer, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, depression. As a result, I spend much of my day reading medical records and trying to learn all I can about the nature of my clients’ physical and emotional impairments.”

Philip’s commitment to a full understanding of the medical documentation and unique impairments in a particular case is part of his commitment to his clients. “When you come to my firm for a social security claim, you know who is going to be handling your case. It’s going to be me. I’m going to be the lawyer who sits next to you if we end up at a hearing. From the moment we finish the intake process to the moment we close the case, I have an active part in handling of every disability case, including 100 percent of the hearings.”

When he compares his social security disability practice with his earlier workers’ compensation practice, Philip does see one large parallel. Under his guidance, the firm has become one of the state’s most dominant in each area. While handling workers’ compensation cases, Philip was elected president of Lawyers for Working Oklahomans, a workers’ compensation organization composed of the elite workers’ compensation lawyers in Oklahoma. In 1997, Phil served on the Lieutenant Governor’s Commission on Workers; Compensation Reform. In 2010, he was appointed by Governor Henry to serve as his representative on the Task Force on Vocational Rehabilitation for Injured Workers’.

In 2017, Philip served as the chairman of the Disability Law Section of the Oklahoma Bar Association. In 2021, Philip was chosen to serve in this position again, becoming the only attorney in the history of the Disability Law Section to be elected as chairman twice. He has also authored the book “Seven Costly Mistakes that Can Ruin Your Social Security Claim (and how to avoid making them).”

Philip also serves the public in other ways. He is a member of Christ the King Catholic Church in Oklahoma City, and he has taken three mission trips to northern Peru to serve impoverished residents of a sister parish, helping to build homes and delivering food and clothing.

In his limited spare time, Philip is a devoted Oklahoma State University sports fan, an avid golfer, and a cyclist.


Areas of Practice:

Bar Admissions:

  • Oklahoma Bar Association, 1987
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Oklahoma, 1987


  • Oklahoma City University School of Law, 1987, J.D.
  • University of Central Oklahoma, 1981, B.B.A., Finance
  • Oklahoma State University, 1976-1980

Honors and Awards:

  • AV Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
  • American Jurisprudence Award, Evidence, 1985
  • Client Distinction Award, Martindale-Hubbell

Professional Associations and Memberships:

  • Oklahoma Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Oklahoma County Bar Association
  • Oklahoma Bar Foundation
  • Lawyers for Working Oklahomans (president, 2010)
  • Oklahoma Association for Justice
  • Association of Trial Lawyers of American
  • National Workplace Injury Litigation Group
  • National Organization of Social Security Claimant Representatives (Sustaining Member)

Past Employment:

  • Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner’s Office, Legal Division, 1981-1986

Classes/Seminars Taught:

  • National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Guest Instructor
  • Oklahoma Bar Association Leadership Academy, Guest Instructor, 2008, 2009
  • Death Benefits in Workers’ Compensation Cases, 1990
  • The Burden of Proof in Workers’ Compensation Appeals, 1991
  • Advanced Workers’ Compensation, 1997
  • The Nuts and Bolts of a Workers’ Compensation Case, 1998
  • Ethical Considerations in a Workers’ Compensation Case, 1999
  • Confidentiality of Medical Records in a Workers’ Compensation Case, 2000
  • Coordinating the Claimant’s Case with Medical Case Managers, 2005
  • Confidentiality of Medical Records in a Workers’ Compensation Case, 2009
  • Social Security Offsets and Medicare Set Asides, 2009
  • Basic Social Security Disability Law, 2009
  • Best Practices for Social Security Disability Hearings, 2011
  • Starting a Social Security Practice, 2013
  • Practical Guide to Social Security Law, 2013
  • Basics of Social Security Disability, 2015
  • Basics of a Social Security Legal Practice, 2015