Ryan Sullivan

Professor Ryan Sullivan

Ryan Sullivan Robert J. Kutak Distinguished Professor of Law


Professor Sullivan joined the Law College faculty in August, 2013, as a supervising attorney in the Civil Clinical Law Program. He received his B.A. from Colorado State University-Pueblo while completing his enlistment in the U.S. Army, majoring in business administration. Thereafter he attended California University of Pennsylvania where he obtained his Master’s in Health Sciences. After a career in the fitness industry, he enrolled at UNL College of Law where he served as an editor of the Nebraska Law Review, the Chair of the Moot Court Board, and a member of the National Trial Team. Following graduation, Professor Sullivan joined the law firm of Kinsey, Rowe, Becker and Kistler where he practiced in the area of general civil litigation.

As the Director of the Civil Clinic, Professor Sullivan supervises student attorneys providing legal services to veterans and underserved populations in the areas of tenant rights, debt collection defense, criminal record rehabilitation, estate planning, family law, and other civil matters.   Professor Sullivan also manages the Advance Directive Clinic (ADC) Project, wherein Civil Clinic students provide basic estate planning services to senior citizens in rural and semi-rural Communities around the State of Nebraska.  Professor Sullivan also supervises several outreach projects within the Civil Clinic, including the Clean Slate Project, the Veterans Advocacy Project, the Tenants’ Rights Project and the Family Law Project. 

He is a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Clinical Section of the Association of American Law Schools, and the Clinical Legal Education Association.

A Nebraska native, Professor Sullivan is an avid Husker fan, and enjoys cycling, woodworking and furniture restoration.

Watch to see how Professor Sullivan is providing representation for families facing eviction. 


Clinical Practice-Civil Law 798G (4-6 cr hr)
Students, under close faculty supervision, represent clients in a variety of civil legal matters, including full-service representation in the areas of estate planning and post-conviction relief (pardons, conviction set-asides, and record sealing). Students may also represent low-income clients in a limited-scope capacity in the areas of family law (divorce, custody, visitation), consumer protection, landlord-tenant, guardianships, administrative appeals, name changes, and other general civil matters. Students will also have the option of leading and/or participating in one of the Clinic’s outreach projects (Project descriptions are available at (https://law.unl.edu/civil-clinic-outreach/). Each semester at least five Clinic students will have the opportunity to participate in an Advance Directive Clinic, an off-site program where students work with senior citizens in out-state Nebraska in drafting their estate planning documents (https://law.unl.edu/civil-clinic-outreach/advance-directive-clinic/)

Priority is given to students in the Litigation Skills Program of Concentrated Study. Open only to students with senior standing. Pre- or Co-requisite: Pretrial Litigation and Legal Profession [*offered for 4 credit hours only during the summer term; may be taken for 6 credit hours in the summer with professor permission]

Estate Planning Clinic Law 767C (3 cr hr)
Students, under close faculty supervision, will represent clients in the provision of estate planning services, including the disbursing of legal advice and the drafting of basic estate planning documents, including a simple will, a power of attorney instrument, advance directives, and title documents. In addition to the direct client work, there is a classroom component (substantive seminars), and students will meet at least weekly with their faculty supervisor for case review. Class sessions, case reviews and most client meetings will take place during evening hours; client work may require some day time commitments, as scheduled by the student. Pre--requisite: Legal Profession. Open to students with senior standing only. Enrollment Limit 8

Pretrial Litigation Law 741 (3 cr hr)
This course focuses on the application of procedural rules pertaining to the bringing and defending of civil law suits, and on the consideration and application of the tactical and strategic aspects of litigation. Students will perform weekly exercises on litigation planning, pleading, motion practice and discovery.

Housing Justice Clinic Law 735 (6 cr hr)
Students, under close faculty supervision, represent tenants in eviction matters and other legal matters related to housing. The course includes a classroom component which focuses on the development of knowledge and skills necessary to represent clients in the areas of eviction defense, enforcement of tenant rights, and housing discrimination, among other housing-related legal issues. Open only to students with senior standing. Prerequisite: Legal Profession and Pre-Trial Litigation

Book Chapters

Civil Shoplifting Statutes, National Survey of State Laws (Richard A. Leiter, ed., 8th ed. 2016)


The Advance Directive Clinic, an Illustrative Guide for Developing an Advance Directive Clinic as Part of an Existing Clinical Course Association of American Law Schools, 39th Annual Conference on Clinical Legal Education, April 30, 2016

Survey of State Laws Governing Continuances and Stays in Eviction Proceedings,HUD Office of Policy Development and Research (2022)
Survey of State Laws Governing Fees Associated with Late Payment of Rent,HUD Office of Policy Development and Research (2022)
Civil Shoplifting Statutes by State Institute of Politics at Harvard University, 2021 (Contributor) (available upon request)
An Assessment of Shoplifting: Landscape, Charges, and ReformsInstitute of Politics at Harvard University, 2021

AALS Access to Justice Award  2022

ABA Pro Bono Leader Award  2021

Robert M. Spire Pro Bono Award  2021

ABA Pro Bono Leader Award  2020

Outstanding Pandemic Response Award (Civil Clinic)  2020

Friends of Legal Aid “Attorney Partner Equal Justice Award”  2020

Appleseed Good Apple Award (Tenant Assistance Project)  2020

ABA Pro Bono Leader Award  2019

ABA Pro Bono Leader Award  2018

NSBA Visionary Award  2018


Nebraska College of Law recognized nationally for Tenant Assistance Project  Andrew Wegley Jan 28, 2022, Lincoln Journal Star

White House, Attorney General recognize Nebraska Law’s Tenant Assistance Project  by Leslie Reed | University Communication, January 31, 2022 | Nebraska Today

UNL law school gets special recognition for Tenant Assistance Project  January 31, 2022 6:12 am Nathan Greve, KLKN Channel 8 News

Nebraska Tenants Gain Rights under New Housing Justice Package  National Low Income Housing Coalition, May 24, 2021

Nebraska College of Law Veterans Advocacy Project  The Nebraska Lawyer, Sept/Oct 2020

Nebraska Tenants Gain Rights under New Housing Justice Package  National Low Income Housing Commission (2021)

Stopping Shoplifting Shakedown Letters:  The CAP impact Podcast, Episode 56, January 17, 2020

Law Students Go to Work for Veterans  Lincoln Journal Star, 2015


J.D., with High Distinction, University of Nebraska College of Law, 2010
M.S., with honors, Health Sciences, California University of Pennsylvania, 2005
B.S., with honors, Colorado State University, 2002

Areas of Expertise


Professor of Law, 2023
Clinical Associate Professor of Law, 2020
Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, 2016