Ryan represents esports players, influencers, content creators, and other stakeholders in negotiating and drafting contracts, structuring licensing deals, developing brand protection strategies, addressing corporate matters, and more. Ryan is an industry leader in representing top Twitch streamers as well as competitive players across Valorant, CS:GO, League of Legends, Dota 2, Fortnite, the fighting game community, and others. His passion for esports derives from being a lifelong gamer who plays many of the games at the forefront of esports. Ryan understands the esports and video game influencer ecospheres and their dynamics, and he leverages this understanding and his legal expertise to help his clients address any challenge they might face.

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Ryan counsels clients on a variety of intellectual property matters, including copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. He works with companies and individuals to properly identify and protect their intellectual property rights. Ryan also litigates intellectual property infringement and trade secrets misappropriation lawsuits in state and federal courts when necessary.

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Ryan represents businesses of all sizes in a wide range of corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, financing transactions, and lending transactions. He drafts and negotiates relevant contracts and organizational documents. He also works with start-up companies on entity formation and venture capital financing.

Ryan also represents domestic and international companies on cross-border transactional issues, such as regulatory compliance, intellectual property matters, and tax liability. He is an avid traveler and has a deep appreciation for international cultures and commerce.

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A former district court law clerk, Ryan knows the federal court system inside and out. He represents clients in a wide range of complex business, intellectual property, white-collar criminal, and constitutional matters.

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Attorney Editor-in-Chief, Esports Bar Association's Publications (2019-present)

Co-Chair, North Carolina Bar Association Sports & Entertainment Law Section Ethics Committee (2019-present)

Member, North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center Advisory Board (2018-present)

Member, Board of Directors, Children's Museum of Wilmington (2017-2019)

Member, WHQR Community Advisory Board (2017-2019)

Member, Board of Directors, Young Professionals Committee, A Safe Place (2017-2018)

Presenter, "Esports Law and the Future," Game Gym Winter Games, Dec. 5, 2020

Panelist, "Esports Litigation Update," Esports Bar Association Oct. 21, 2020

Co-presenter, "The Past, Present and Future of Esports Law," North Carolina Bar Association Expert Series Continuing Legal Education, June 2020

Presenter, "Esports: Player Contracts and Disputes," North Carolina Bar Association Continuing Legal Education February Finale: Esports, February 2020

Co-presenter, "Esports: Emerging Legal Issues in an Exploding Industry” (co-presenting with Brandon Huffman of Odin Law & Media), UNC School of Law Festival of Legal Learning, February 2020

Panelist, Outside Counsel Panel, Sports Lawyers Association Event, Durham, NC, November 16, 2019

Presenter, "Legal Basic for FGC Players: Contracts, Intellectual Property, and Entity Formation," CEO 2019 Fighting Game Tournament, Daytona, FL, June 28, 2019

Panelist, "Governance, Player Unions, and Dispute Resolution," Esports Bar Association Conference, Los Angeles, CA, June 2019

Presenter, "What Every Lawyer Should Know About Esports," UNC School of Law Festival of Legal Learning, February 2019

Panelist, "The Ecosports Ecosystem," Cardozo School of Law Esports Bar Association CLE, New York, NY, November 7, 2018

Panelist, "An Introduction to Esports," Minnesota State Bar Association Arts & Entertainment Law Section Annual Meeting & CLE, Minneapolis, MN, June 2018

Moderator, "Building a Career in Esports Law," Esports Bar Association Conference, Los Angeles, CA, June 2018

Co-author (with Melissa Bailey), "The Business of Being a Pro Gamer: Four Ways to Protect Your Value," Esports Observer, February 2018

Co-author (with Charles Baldwin), "Contracts and Dispute Resolution in Sales of Goods to US Customers," GGI Insider , November 2017

Giving Away the Playbook: How North Carolina’s Public Records Law Can Be Used to Harass, Intimidate, and Spy, 91 N.C. L. Rev. 2117 (2013)

Co-author, Regarding Municipal, Quasi-Judicial Proceedings – Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies, and Applying Collateral Estoppel to Defeat Collateral Attacks (August 2013) (co-written with Keith Johnson of Poyner Spruill)

When Can a Hacker Start a War?, Pacific Standard Magazine, Feb. 26, 2015

Ryan’s varied interests in the law derive from his varied interests outside of it. A double major in Economics and Spanish Translation, Ryan has found that diverse inputs and an open mind lead to cross-discipline connections and creative solutions to complex problems.

Ryan and his wife, Angie, are experienced and seasoned travelers. They have lived on four continents, working in different industries on each one, and traveled a fifth. Their most recent trip, a tour of Mexico, Peru, and the Galapagos Islands, was a chance to get their sons hooked on the travel bug.

The first item Ryan ever saved his allowance for was a Sega Genesis console system. His first job was at a mini-golf and arcade where he played fighting games against some of the top players in the world. He has built gaming PCs and continues to pursue his love of gaming as part of his practice of law.

When at home, Ryan can often be found spending time outside with his family, reading a book, watching or playing video games, or riding the waves.


Recent Publications & Media

Speaking Engagements

November 18, 2020

Ryan Fairchild Presents on Esports Law

Brooks Pierce attorney Ryan Fairchild will present at the Game Gym Winter Games on Dec. 5 at 2:15 p.m. The presentation, “Esports Law and the Future,” will discuss the current esports landscape and courtroom trends related to the industry. Fairchild’s diverse practice includes an emphasis on the...Read more
October 7, 2020

Ryan Fairchild Presents Esports Litigation Updates

Brooks Pierce attorney Ryan Fairchild will present on a panel providing litigation updates for the Esports Bar Association on Oct. 21. The panel will focus on the dynamics of recent and current cases related to esports, what attorneys can take away from these cases and how these cases will likely...Read more
June 4, 2020

Ryan Fairchild Participates in NCBA Expert Series CLE

Brooks Pierce attorney Ryan Fairchild recently participated in the North Carolina Bar Association’s (NCBA) Expert Series Continuing Legal Education (CLE). The Expert Series CLE entitled, “The Past, Present and Future of Esports Law,” discussed what the esports industry looks like, the legal...Read more
October 29, 2019

Ryan Fairchild to Serve on Panel at Sports Lawyers Association Event

Brooks Pierce attorney Ryan Fairchild will participate in the Outside Counsel panel at the Sports Lawyers Association event on Nov. 16 at North Carolina Central University Law School. The panel will discuss how outside counsel works with in-house counsel at schools, with sports teams and with...Read more

Recent Publications & Media