Attorney stresses getting involved
McKeesport attorney Ryan H. James believes young professionals should make their mark by being active in their communities.
James, 29, is taking part in his second History Uncorked at the John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh's Strip District on Feb. 21.
The “Poptastic!” theme centers around artist Burton Morris, whose works will be on display throughout the center's six floors.
The celebration for guests 21 and older begins at 7 p.m. and will include DJs, bands, food and raffles.
“Each year, it's Pittsburgh's premier party for young professionals,” said James, who is on the planning committee for the 16th annual event. “I wanted to be involved, really to network and make a connection in Pittsburgh's business community. The event has a great draw among young professionals, and it makes money to support the History Center.”
James is familiar with organizing fundraisers. He was one of Whirl Magazine's “Pittsburgh's 50 Finest” young professionals in 2013, and part of his responsibility was to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Nominees from among the city's most accomplished and eligible men and women are selected based on their community outreach and career-oriented success. They seek community support and organize activities to raise at least $2,500 for the foundation, which is the leading organization in world in the search for a cure for cystic fibrosis.
“Being included in ‘Pittsburgh's 50 Finest' is one of the greatest honors of my life, for sure,” James said. “It's humbling, and I'm definitely committed to the cause.”
James' mantra is “if not you, then who?” when it comes to community service. He believes young professionals should be as active as possible in shaping their workplaces and their communities.
“This generation has a lot to offer in terms of talent and ideas,” he said. “That applies to their careers and what they can do in the community.”
James is a life-long McKeesport resident who is happy to be working in his hometown.
“I always knew I wanted to be an attorney,” he said. “The path to getting there was difficult, but I worked hard. I knew I wanted to be back in the Pittsburgh area.”
James graduated from McKeesport Area High School in 2003. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Allegheny College in 2007, and completed his studies at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2011.
He worked with a White Oak-based firm before opening his own general practice firm 18 months ago. James focuses on criminal defense and real estate litigation.
Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956.