Susan M. Freeman

Susan M. Freeman

Partner
sfreeman@lrrc.com vCard
602.262.5756 office
602.734.3824 fax
201 East Washington Street
Suite 1200
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Susan Freeman is a partner who concentrates her practice on business bankruptcy and on appeals of all kinds. She is the only lawyer invited to membership (and leadership) in both the American College of Bankruptcy and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. Susan has briefed and argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, and she is frequently invited to present materials and speak at seminars in Arizona and nationally.

Business Bankruptcy. Susan is certified by the Arizona State Bar Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in bankruptcy law. With experience serving as individual counsel and as co-counsel, she helps in all aspects of business bankruptcy cases. From trustees to secured lenders to asset purchasers, Susan has represented a range of clients, including:

  • Purchasers of assets, including Pivotal Global Capacity as acquirer of a telecommunications and logistics business in the Global Capacity Chapter 11 case in Delaware, and James Balsillie and PSE Sports & Entertainment as proposed buyer of the Phoenix Coyotes NHL hockey team in its Chapter 11 case in Phoenix.
  • Indenture Trustees, including Wells Fargo Bank as Indenture Trustee for $450 million of senior industrial revenue bondholders, the principal secured creditors in the Las Vegas Monorail Chapter 11 case in Las Vegas, and also as Indenture Trustee for $75 million of Community Facilities District bondholders in the SunCor Development Company Chapter 11 cases.
  • Litigants in Chapter 11 disputes, including Neil Gaiman in his copyright claims against Todd McFarlane Productions.
  • Creditors Committees, including in the USA Commercial Mortgage case in Las Vegas and the Eurofresh and MicroAge cases in Phoenix.
  • Secured creditors, including the principal lender owed $9.7 million by a sports memorabilia Chapter 11 debtor, CDC Mortgage Capital owed $20.5 million by a shopping center Chapter 11 debtor, $486 million of noteholders and bank lenders in the Crown Pacific Chapter 11 cases, and a life insurance company owed over $150 million in the Chapter 11 cases filed by 51 Trammell Crow entities.
  • Debtor-in-possession lenders, including Pivotal Finance, LLC in the Utah 7000 cases in Salt Lake City (also the equity owner/management company).
  • Debtors-in-possession including in the A-Title case of the largest Prudential Real Estate franchisee brokerage company in Las Vegas, and the All Star Gas multi-state propane company, in both of which successful reorganization plans were confirmed, and Mondrian TTL, LLC, where disputes between the owner of an apartment complex and its principal creditor were satisfactorily settled.
  • Trustees and Liquidating Trustees, including the Liquidating Trustees in the USA Commercial Mortgage case in Las Vegas and the Nelson Bunker Hunt and William Herbert Hunt bankruptcy cases in Dallas. Ms. Freeman personally served as the Liquidating Trustee in the Oregon Arena Corporation Chapter 11 case in Portland.
  • Aircraft lessors and secured lenders in airline bankruptcy cases, having represented 14 aircraft financiers in the America West Airlines Chapter 11 case in Arizona and aircraft lessors in the Great American Airways Chapter 11 case in Nevada and the Western Pacific Airlines case in Colorado, where she took the lead role in appeals of Code section 1110 rulings, and CIT, Boullioun and Sunrock in the National Airlines case in Nevada.

Susan has also served as the mediator in complex bankruptcy disputes and as an expert witness on behalf of professionals or trustees in Chapter 11 cases, including disputes over professionals’ actions and qualifications.

All Types of Civil Appeals. In the area of appeals, Susan has briefed over 300 appeals and argued over 100 of them, primarily in Arizona appellate courts and the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, but also in other jurisdictions across the country. She is listed as counsel of record in over 150 reported decisions, including complex bankruptcy cases, commercial, tort, ERISA, tax and employment cases. Some of those appellate cases include:

  • Metzler v. BCI Coca-Cola Bottlilng Co., 235 Ariz. 141, 239 P.3d 1043 (2014); oral argument may be viewed at http://supremestateaz.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=1423
  • In re ProAlert, LLC, 314 B.R. 436 (9th Cir. BAP 2004)
  • Gunnell v. Arizona Public Service Co., 202 Ariz. 388, 46 P.3d 399 (2002)
  • Jinro America Inc. v. Secure Invs., 266 F.3d 993 (9th Cir. 2001)

Susan often assists counsel from other firms who were responsible for litigation at the trial level, and has presented the views of many entities as amicus curiae. She has served as a judge pro tem on the Arizona Court of Appeals and a faculty member of the Arizona and National Appellate Practice Institutes. In addition, Susan has assisted clients by observing and advising other lawyers during trial to present and preserve arguments for potential appeals.

U.S. Supreme Court Experience. Combining her expertise in appeals and bankruptcy, Susan represented prominent law professors as amici in presenting persuasive arguments to the Supreme Court in the Hood and Katz cases concerning sovereign immunity in bankruptcy.  She petitioned for certiorari, briefed and argued Hall v. United States, 132 S.Ct. 1882 (2012).  

Related News

11/29/2016
Freeman elected as Conferee to National Bankruptcy Conference
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie partner joins group advising Congress on bankruptcy and related laws
10/10/2016
Benchmark Litigation affirms ‘Highly Recommended' ranking for multiple Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie offices
22 individual attorneys included in peer-reviewed annual guide of top U.S. litigation firms
08/15/2016
83 Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie attorneys named in ‘Best Lawyers'
11 partners also honored as ‘Lawyer of the Year' in The Best Lawyers in America® 2017
08/05/2016
Freeman honored as one of the top women litigators in U.S.
Benchmark Litigation guide includes Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie attorney for third time
04/12/2016
Arizona, New Mexico attorneys selected as Southwest Super Lawyers
Annual listings reflect peer recognition and professional achievement
03/22/2016
Pro bono service awards presented by Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie
Annual awards honor memory of lawyer dedicated to equal justice and professionalism
03/17/2016
Az Business magazine recognizes Freeman, Charles, Demarchi, Hulsman
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie attorneys named in 2016 Arizona top lawyers list
10/29/2015
Lewis Roca Rothgerber earns accolades in Benchmark Litigation rankings
Law firm ‘Highly Recommended' with 20 ‘Star' attorneys in guide of top U.S. litigation firms
10/27/2015
Susan Freeman inducted into Maricopa County Bar Hall of Fame
Lewis Roca Rothgerber attorney recognized for lifetime achievements, contributions to legal profession
8/26/2015

Presentations

  • “To Tell the Truth: Bankruptcy Ethics Are Complicated” National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, October 2016
  • “Bankruptcy Appeals: Does the Bench Matter?” ABA Business Bankruptcy Committee, October 2016
  • “Wellness and Post-Stern Jurisdictional Issues” State Bar of Arizona - Bar Convention, June 2015
  • “Guarding the Gates: the Expanding Liability of Gatekeepers of Insolvent Entities” International Bar Association, May 2015
  • “Chapter 11 Open Forum” and “Ethical Issues,” Norton Bankruptcy Law Institutes, February 2016 (and annual seminar presentations back to 1987)
  • “Working with the Court of Appeals” State Bar of Arizona, November 2014
  • “Ethical Pitfalls for Bankruptcy Practitioners” State Bar of Arizona, October 2014
  • “Administrative Appeals” State Bar of Arizona Bar Convention, June 2014
  • “Bankruptcy Appeals” District Court Conference” U.S. District Court for District of Arizona, March 2014
  • “Valuation: Challenging Legal and Factual Issues” ABA Business Bankruptcy Committee, November 2013
  •  “Bankruptcy Appeals,” American Bankruptcy Institute Spring Meeting, April 2013
  • “Revisiting RadLAX and Hall: Legal and Practical Impact of the Decisions,” American Bankruptcy Institute Winter Leadership Conference, November 2012 and webinar, February 2013 

Related Publications

  • Author, "Ethical Responsibilities," Chapter 172 of the Norton Bankruptcy Law Practice Treatise (3rd ed. Thompson West)
  • Co-Author, Civil Appeals Chapter, Arizona Appellate Handbook, 1976 and bi-annual supplements to present (State Bar of Arizona)
  • Co-Author, chapters on Duties of Counsel for a DIP as Fiduciary and Responsibilities to the Estate and The Use of Conflicts Counsel in Business Reorganization Cases in Lupica and Rapoport, Final Report of the ABI National Ethics Task Force (American Bankruptcy Institute 2013)
  • Co-Author, "Bankruptcy: An Opportunity to Settle FINRA Member-Employee Disputes," October 2013
  • Co-Author, "Lower Bucks Hospital: Requirements for Indenture Trustee Settlements in Bankruptcy Cases," American Bankers Association Trust Letter, January 2013
  • Author, "Disclosure Flaws Fatal to Planned Indenture Trustee Release," ABI Journal, September 2012
  • Author, "Supreme Court's Hall v. United States Ruling Has Significant Impact," Bloomberg BNA, June 2012
  • Co-Author, "Debtors in Distress: When Can You Sue for Emotional Injury?," Norton's Annual Survey of Bankruptcy Law, 2011 Edition
  • Author, "Are DIP and Committee Counsel Fiduciaries for Their Client's Constituents or the Bankruptcy Estate? What is a Fiduciary Anyway?" 17 American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review291, Winter 2009
  • Author, “The Scope of Bankruptcy Ancillary Jurisdiction After Katz as Informed by Pre-Katz Ancillary Jurisdiction Cases,” 15 American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review 155, Spring 2007Author, "Current Developments in Federal Appellate Practice," The Federal Lawyer, October 2002
  • Author, “Section 1110 is Amended on Its Own,” Norton Bankruptcy Law Advisor, July 2000

Distinctions

  • Maricopa County Bar Association - Hall of Fame
  • The Best Lawyers in America - 2012, 2015 "Lawyer of the Year" Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; 2013 "Lawyer of the Year" Bankruptcy Litigation - Appellate Law, Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights Law, Insolvency and Reorganization Law, and Bankruptcy Litigation, 1989-2017
  • Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel - Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights, 2009, 2010
  • Southwest Super Lawyers - Top 50 in Arizona; 2013, 2015 Top 25 Female Attorney - Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights, 2007-2016
  • Martindale-Hubbell - "AV/Preeminent Attorney" Rating
  • John P. Frank Advocate for Justice Award - Commitment to pro bono service
  • Benchmark Litigation - 2014 "Local Litigation Star" in Arizona - 2012 Top 250 Women in Litigation, 2012, 2014, 2016
  • AZ Business Magazine - Top 100 Lawyers - Bankruptcy, 2010, 2016
  • Lawdragon - Top 3000 in the United States, 2010
  • New York University School of Law - Root-Tilden Scholar
  • Mount Holyoke College - Sarah Williston Scholar

Other Info

Education

J.D., New York University School of Law, 1975
B.A., Mount Holyoke College, 1972
Study Abroad, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1970-1971

Bar Admissions

Arizona, 1975

Court Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court
Arizona Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
U.S. District Court, Colorado

Memberships & Affiliations

  • City of Phoenix Committee appointed by the Mayor and City Council, Chair, Commission and the civil rights ordinances it enforces, 1984-1985
  • City of Phoenix Human Relations Commission, Vice chair
  • Charter 100, Member, 2012-2013 Director, 1981-present
  • Arizona Supreme Courts Committee on Character and Fitness, Former chair
  • Arizona Judicial Committees Appellate Case Processing Study Committee and Implementation Committee
  • Ninth Circuit Rules Advisory Committee
  • Ninth Circuit Judicial Council Merit Screening Committee, Bankruptcy Judges
  • ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers, Previous member and former Director
  • Arizona Supreme Court Judicial Performance Review Conference Teams, Member, 1994-present
  • Arizona Bankruptcy Inn of Court, Master
  • Norton Bankruptcy Law Institutes, Faculty Member
  • Arizona Appellate Handbook, Co-author, Civil Appeals section, 1978
  • ABI Advisory Committee on Executory Contracts and Leases, former member, ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11
  • American Bankruptcy Institute, former member, ABI National Ethics Task Force, 2011-13
  • American Law Institute ALI, Member since 1993, Restatement of the Law Third, Restitution 1997-2010
  • American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, President-Elect, and Fellow since 1995
  • American College of Bankruptcy, Secretary, former Vice President and Director, Fellow since 1993
  • Professional Ethics Subcommittee, Former Chair
  • Chapter 11 Subcommittee and the Programs Subcommittee, Former Co-Chair
  • American Bar Association Business Bankruptcy Committee, Vice-Chair/incoming Chair, and previous Chair of multiple Subcommittees
  • Maricopa County Bar Association, Hall of Fame
  • Arizona Appellate Handbook Committee of the State Bar of Arizona, Member since 1976
  • National Bankruptcy Conference, Member