About Ruane Attorneys' Criminal Defense Team


Ruane Attorneys is a Criminal Defense Law Firm in Connecticut. Since founding partner James J. Ruane began practicing law in 1978 , we have been making a difference both inside and outside of the courtroom. Here’s how we do it.

Our leadership 

This company was founded by the father/son duo Jim and Jay Ruane. Both have the same vision when it comes to law – provide the best defense possible for our clients through the continued education, experience in the courtroom, and collaboration of our team. In 2006 Attorney Teresa DiNardi became a senior partner at the firm and shares the same values. Having the leadership on the same page makes the whole office focused and excited to get to work.

Our team

We only hire the best of the best. It’s really that simple. We look for employees who are passionate about the law and their clients. We hire fighters. We hire people who truly care about their clients and will do anything to represent them in the best way possible.

We give back 

Attorney Jay Ruane has spoken at multiple conferences and seminars educating lawyers and law school students on DUI defense and effective law office management, in addition to being a published author on DUI defense topics. We also sponsor events such as the 9-11 Memorial United Motorcycle Ride and donate to Connecticut based fundraisers and charities.


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James J. Ruane

Rumors seem to pop up every once in a while that senior partner Jim Ruane will be retiring any year now. But that just never seems to be the case. One employee claimed that he will never retire – he loves practicing law too much. Jim is certainly a passionate, knowledgeable, diligent attorney. He loves going to court, studying cases, and interacting with clients. And we’re not really sure what we would do if he ever decided to retire. Probably try to convince him to come back to work. We don’t think it would take much convincing.

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James O. Ruane

Jay Ruane is a founding partner of Ruane Attorneys. He is distinguished as one of the most aggressive, creative, and experienced DUI lawyers in the State…and we’re also pretty sure that he’s not human. Seriously. Every employee knows what it’s like to get an email from Jay at 10 o’clock at night….or 1 am….or 4 am. He is CONSTANTLY thinking about this firm – ways to improve customer experience, ways to win a case, ways to improve our online presence (I mean, have you seen his twitter feed? The guy is a FREAK for social media marketing). How he has time to be one of the best lawyers in the state, a marketing wiz, and a father of three young children (who are very energetic, trust us) is beyond us. His passion and energy are two of the driving forces of this firm.

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Teresa M. DiNardi

“The thing I love about being a lawyer is being able to relieve the stress of others while they are going through horrible situations.”

Attorney Teresa DiNardi has been with us since 2006 and has proven herself as a passionate, assertive, and knowledgeable attorney. Over the years, she has earned a reputation as “Lady DUI” and concentrates in DMV hearings and DUI defense. She manages our Wethersfield office, so chances are that if you visit that office for a free consultation or a meeting, you will run into her. Of course, to be able to run a whole office, you have to be pretty organized. Lucky for us, this is one of Teresa’s strong suits (otherwise, the office might fall apart, which would probably be a bad thing). When she isn’t redefining the way that female attorneys are viewed in this state, she enjoys relaxing at the beach.


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Jill M. Ruane

Attorney Jill Ruane handles our juvenile cases, and while many juvenile defense attorneys might say, “I love kids,” Jill truly practices what she preaches. The kids in her neighborhood can always count on Jill to play with them and teach them important life lessons (just ask our Director of Communications, who was one of them!) and she has three children of her own. Jill’s main passions in life are her own children and her clients. As a parent herself, she is protective of her clients and does everything in her power to ensure that they are treated fairly by the juvenile system.

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Grayson Colt Holmes

Have you ever heard of “Southern Hospitality”? It might seem odd to use that term when describing a law firm, but Attorney Grayson “Colt” Holmes definitely lends some southern warmth and charm to the group. Colt uses his southern roots to communicate conscientiously with customers. But don’t be fooled by his likability – Colt is never afraid to hold the state accountable and fight for his clients. With his experience in appellate cases, criminal cases, and pardons, Colt is one of the most well-rounded and passionate criminal defense lawyer in Connecticut. These days, when he’s not fighting for his clients, he’s running around with his dog, Tucker.

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Stephen Lebedevitch

“I chose to work in criminal defense because everyone deserves proper representation when something as important as their liberty is at stake”.

“The thing I love about being a lawyer is helping others who are unfamiliar with the judicial process”.

There are two things you should know about Stephen Lebedevich – he’s a team player, and he likes to win (did we mention that, in his spare time, he’s a competitive volleyball player?) Stephen’ s experiences on the court have made him the lawyer that he is – he knows how to work with other people to achieve a common goal, and he is willing to put in long hours and tons of effort in order to improve. His competitive nature also means that he plays to win and takes his cases extremely seriously. Of course, Stephen knows how to have fun too, and is often the one lightening the mood in the office with his mini basketball hoop and world-cup attire (he’s always the first to sport a USA jersey).

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Stephanie O’Neil

“I chose to work in criminal defense because I enjoy helping people, and I have a passion for fighting for the underdog.”

“The thing I love about being a lawyer is that its never boring.”

Attorney Stephanie O’Neil continues the tradition of athletes in our office. She played soccer in college and has recently discovered the game of golf. Years of practice and conditioning for competitive sports have made her an extremely diligent person. She will not stop until she gets an outcome that she is satisfied with. This quality makes Stephanie the kind of attorney that you want in your corner. Her passion is criminal cases, and she also works with DMV and post conviction cases.

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Patrick Paoletti

Attorney Patrick Paoletti is one of the newest members of our team. He handles DUI cases and other criminal cases ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. Patrick is an incredibly diligent attorney. His attention to detail and knowledge of the criminal justice system are qualities that caught our eye when we decided to hire him – and they will impress you as well! On the weekends, Patrick is an avid pickup basketball player. He’ll tell you that his basketball skills have dwindled over the years, but we know that that isn’t always the case.

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Kristi Thomaston

Attorney Kristi Thomaston is one of the newest members of our team, joining us after 10 years of practicing in Florida. She’s no stranger to family-based practices – she and her father were partners at a firm for 7 years before Kristi decided to move to Connecticut. Now, she’s joined our “family”, and we couldn’t be happier! Kristi works with habeas cases out of the Wethersfield office. Despite the fact that she is new to Connecticut, Kristi already has a wealth of knowledge about the cases that she handles and is eager to learn to learn more about Connecticut’s system. She is also an incredibly compassionate person that will devote all of her energy to assisting you with your case. This characteristic is reflected in her hobby outside of work – she helps promote fitness and well being in others through her role as a yoga instructor.

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Melissa Davies

We’ve found that what sets Attorney Melissa Davies apart from the crowd is her wide range of knowledge when it comes to all kinds of different legal matters. Melissa started out working in litigation and immigration law. She applies this background to her work with criminal cases. Because of Melissa’s range of experience with different types of law, she oftentimes looks at cases from a unique, creative point of view. She is always up to a challenge – whether that is working on a difficult case, learning a new language (she’s fluent in Spanish) or trying new foods.