Ritter earned his law degree at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and joined the North Carolina State Bar in 1903. He moved to Birmingham in 1904 and joined the Alabama State Bar that year. In 1919 he was admitted to the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was elected president of the Commercial Law League of America for a one-year term.
Ritter and his wife, the former Bessie Gunter raised two children, Elizabeth and Claude Jr ("Dowd") at their residence at 726 Euclid Avenue in Crestline Heights. Three other children died in infancy. Ritter died at home in August 1948 and is buried at Elmwood Cemetery.
- "Claude D. Ritter, Sr., Longtime Attorney, Dies at Residence" (August 31, 1948) The Birmingham News
- Claude Dowd Ritter at Findagrave.com