Meet Ryan Griffith, Member of BASF’s Basketball Executive Committee

This column allows us to get better acquainted with some of the big-hearted people serving BASF as members or staff. When asked for “nominees,” Allison Wang, co-chair of BASF’s Minority Bar Coalition board, recommended Ryan Griffith with tremendous enthusiasm. “For basketball, I always think of Ryan Griffith, who is the heart of this program,” she says. “I am part of the Basketball Executive Committee because they needed a BASF board member and I couldn’t say no to Ryan!”

Our Basketball League—as well as our in-the-works Soccer League—lives under the umbrella of BASF’s Wellness Committee. This committee is the perfect hub for Ryan, who is an attorney and associate receiver at Bay Area Receivership Group, as well as Of Counsel to Archetype Legal PC. “Ryan’s service to our community goes much deeper,” says Allison, who references his writing and speaking openly about his almost-lethal brush with depression. (He shared his story in the Daily Journal in October 2022 and was featured in a February 2023 article.) “He has helped so many lawyers and students with his story,” she says.

Ryan graciously and thoughtfully considered our questions. From the personal to the professional to the profound, here are his answers.

BASF: What traits do you feel are necessary for someone to be a “great” attorney?

RG: Being responsive and transparent. So many things can be quickly resolved if you stay on top of them and set clear expectations.

Additionally, I think being vulnerable is a great trait for any human to have. I have written and presented extensively on my experience with suicidal depression, which was not an easy thing to do. But once I did, it was very liberating. If you can admit a mistake—in your personal or professional life—instead of trying to cover it up or explain it away, trust is built.

BASF: Who in the San Francisco legal community do you most admire?

RG: I was a huge admirer of the late Peter Keane, a former president of BASF as well as a professor at Golden Gate University Law School, who I had several classes with. His podcast on NPR about criminal defense (“Everyone Deserves Defense”) inspired me. Although I have no aspirations to be a criminal defense attorney, I thought his message was very powerful and showed how important lawyers are.

BASF: What’s the best life advice you’ve ever received?

RG: I had been accepted to a number of law schools across the country, but my ultimate goal was to live in San Francisco. A family friend told me “If you want to ultimately live in San Francisco, it is probably ideal to go to law school in San Francisco.” A simple fact and great advice. I decided to attend GGU Law School*. How simple things can be if we allow them to be.

*Ryan graduated with honors and is now a law professor at GGU School of Law and Empire College of Law where he teaches Remedies, Trial Advocacy, and Real Estate Transactions.

BASF: What’s a little-known fact about you?

RG: I am 6’7″. Now that we are coming back from the Zoom world and meeting in person, people routinely say “You did not sound or act tall on Zoom!”, which I always find humorous. Nothing wrong with it, but I do not know how to sound or act tall.

BASF: Do you have a lucky object?

RG: I have my grandfather’s watch, which I wear to important court hearings or presentations. My grandfather lived in small town in Indiana and was a custodian at an ice cream factory. He worked at the same factory for 25 years and was given this beautiful watch for his service. It reminds me of the importance of hard work and where I came from.

Join the team! Visit the BASF’s Wellness Committee page to find out how you can participate in BASF’s Basketball and Soccer Leagues.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a long-time contributor to San Francisco Attorney magazine. Previous articles include “Ripple Effects of the Supreme Court’s 2023 Decision on Affirmative Action and How to Become a Superior Court Judge