Ryan Smith will start in January as a New York-based correspondent and legal abcnews__130401171754-150x62analyst, complementing the work of ABC News‘s chief legal analyst and Nightline anchor Dan Abrams, ABC News president Ben Sherwood said in a memo to staff today. Ryan will also offer legal analysis on ESPN. Smith had until recently anchored HLN’s Evening Express, which was among the programs dumped last month by HLN’s new-ish GM Albie Hecht as part of a rebranding of that network. (Evening Express was, ironically, replaced by What Would You Do! — the ABC News show to which HLN bought cable TV rerun rights about a year ago. ) From Sherwood’s memo:

An engaging storyteller, Ryan joins us from HLN where he anchored the nightly news program “Evening Express” and co-hosted HLN’s primetime show “HLN After Dark.” Prior to hosting “Evening Express” Ryan was part of the team on “Morning Express with Robin Meade” and hosted “In Session” on truTV.

Ryan reported on a wide range of stories for HLN, including the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Super Storm Sandy and the 2013 Presidential Inauguration.  Plus he’s covered some of the most high-profile trials in recent memory, including those of Casey Anthony, Conrad Murray, George Zimmerman and Jodi Arias.

Ryan was raised in Philadelphia and graduated from Syracuse University with a B.A in Political Science. After earning a law degree from Columbia University, Ryan worked as a lawyer for the NFL’S Jacksonville Jaguars and practiced corporate, sports and entertainment law for years at esteemed firms in New York.

Ryan is a longtime supporter of causes that promote children’s health, fitness and education.  I’m also pleased to share that he and his wife are expecting twin boys next year.

Ryan’s ability to cover a wide range of topics from the courtroom to the classroom has forged strong connections with viewers.  I’m delighted he’ll now bring his many talents to ABC News and ESPN.

Please join me in welcoming Ryan.


Related: HLN Tosses ‘Evening Express’ For Reruns Of ‘Showbiz Tonight’, ‘What Would You Do?’