Susan M. Freeman

Susan M. Freeman

Partner vCard
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 first lawyer (and now only one of two) invited to membership 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.

Personal Approach

Susan is known for her effective writing and analytical appellate work. She prioritizes making progress and driving long term results for her clients. Susan believes in the legal system and that the rule of law matters, and strives to make it work for her clients. Susan’s expertise inspires her colleagues and clients. Offering strategic insights to assist with the toughest cases, Susan is the partner other lawyers turn to for help solving challenging legal problems.

Susan is an avid hiker and traveler. She has hiked Mount Kilimanjaro and has visited over 50 countries. Her favorite places are Spain and Peru. In her free time Susan enjoys practicing and teaching yoga.

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 reorganizing debtors, secured lenders and unsecured creditors and committees to asset purchasers, Susan has represented a wide range of clients. They come to her because of the national reputation she has built as a thoughtful, effective strategist and advocate. Susan has developed particular expertise in matters of bankruptcy ethics, and advises and represents law firms or serves as an expert witness regarding professional qualifications and duties.

  • 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, and UMB Bank as Indenture Trustee in the second Las Vegas Monorail Chapter 11 case
  • 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.

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).

Memberships & Affiliations

  • National Bankruptcy Conference, Member, 2016-present
  • American Bar Association Business Bankruptcy Committee, Chair, 2017-present, Vice-Chair 2014-2017, and previous Chair of multiple subcommittees
  • American College of Bankruptcy, Secretary, former Vice President and Director, Fellow since 1993
  • American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, President 2017, Director and/or officer 2012-18 and Fellow since 1995
  • Arizona Appellate Handbook, Committee of the State Bar of Arizona, Member since 1976, co-author of Civil Appeals chapter and bi-annual updates
  • American Law Institute ALI, Member since 1993, Advisory Committee Restatement of the Law Third, Restitution 1997-2010
  • Norton Bankruptcy Law Institutes, Faculty Member since 1988
  • Arizona Supreme Court Judicial Performance Review Conference Teams, Member, 1994-present
  • John P. Frank Memorial Lecture Steering Committee, ASU Foundation and School of Social Transformation, 2015-present
  • Arizona Bankruptcy Inn of Court, Master, 2011-15
  • ABI Advisory Committee on Executory Contracts and Leases, ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11, 2012-14, ABI National Ethics Task Force, 2011-13 and contributing author to its Final Report
  • Charter 100, Member, 1982-present
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Advisory Committee , Rules of Practice and Internal Operating Procedures, 1998-2001
  • Judge Pro Tem, Arizona Court of Appeals, 1995, 1999
  • Arizona Supreme Courts Committee on Character and Fitness, Former chair, 1990-92, 1986-92
  • 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 1985-86, 1983-86

Related News

Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie Attorneys Recognized as 2018 Southwest Super Lawyers® and Southwest Rising Stars®
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie announced 25 attorneys have been recognized as 2018 Southwest Super Lawyers® and 13 attorneys have been named as 2018 Southwest Rising Stars®.
Arizona Top 100 list includes Charles, Freeman and Van Kirk
Az Business magazine recognizes Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie attorneys
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie Named Southwest Litigation Firm of the Year by Benchmark Litigation
Nineteen of the firm's attorneys are listed as "Star" litigators in the 2018 edition
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie Earns ‘Highly Recommended' Ranking From Benchmark Litigation
20 attorneys recognized in peer-reviewed annual guide to top U.S. litigation firms
Freeman inducted as chair of ABA Business Bankruptcy Committee
Committee is largest organization of business bankruptcy lawyers in the United States
Partners honored as Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers
85 Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie attorneys in The Best Lawyers in America 2018
DeWald, Freeman share John P. Frank Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award
59 attorneys earn recognition for providing more than 50 pro bono hours in 2016
Freeman elected as Conferee to National Bankruptcy Conference
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie partner joins group advising Congress on bankruptcy and related laws
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
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
Freeman honored as one of the top women litigators in U.S.
Benchmark Litigation guide includes Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie attorney for third time
Pro bono service awards presented by Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie
Annual awards honor memory of lawyer dedicated to equal justice and professionalism
Az Business magazine recognizes Freeman, Charles, Demarchi, Hulsman
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie attorneys named in 2016 Arizona top lawyers list
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
Susan Freeman inducted into Maricopa County Bar Hall of Fame
Lewis Roca Rothgerber attorney recognized for lifetime achievements, contributions to legal profession



  • Top 100 Lawyers in Arizona - Business Bankruptcy and on Appeals of All Kinds, 2021
  • Benchmark Litigation - "Top 250 Women in Litigation 2013 & 2015" and "Local Litigation Star" in Arizona 2011-2021, 2013-2021
  • 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, 1989-2021
  • Lawdragon - Top 500 U.S. Bankruptcy and Restructuring Lawyers List, 2020
  • Southwest Super Lawyers - Top 50 in Arizona - 2007-2021, Top 25 Women Arizona Super Lawyers - 2013-2021 - Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights, 2007-2021
  • Chambers USA - Litigation, Appellate, 2020
  • 2019 Barbara Barrett Arizona Women's Education and Employment Icon Award
  • Arizona Business Magazine - Top 100 Attorneys, 2016-2019, 2021
  • Mount Holyoke College - Sarah Williston Scholar, 1972 - Mount Holyoke College Achievement Award, 2017
  • Maricopa County Bar Association - Hall of Fame, 2015
  • Martindale-Hubbell - "AV/Preeminent Attorney" Rating
  • John P. Frank Advocate for Justice Award - Commitment to pro bono service
  • New York University School of Law - Root-Tilden Scholar

Recent Presentations

  • "10 Tips in 50 Minutes" for Handling an Appeal, State Bar of Arizona - Appellate Practice Section, Webinar, September 2020
  • Chapter 11 Open Forum, and Ethical Issues in Bankruptcy Cases, The 32nd Annual Norton Bankruptcy Litigation Institute II, 2020 (and annual seminar presentations back to 1987)
  • Mulling Bankruptcy Ethics, Oklahoma Bar Association 33rd Annual Advanced Bankruptcy Seminar, Oklahoma City, OK 2019
  • Ethical Considerations in Section 363 Sales, Texas Jay Westbrook Conference, Austin, TX 2018
  • Speaker, Bank of America NA and its Aftermath, the $45 Million Sanction that Rocked the Bankruptcy World, District of Arizona Conference, Phoenix, AZ 2018
  • Can Mootness be Equitable, National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, San Antonio, TX 2018
  • Honing Appellate Oral Advocacy Skills, National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, San Antonio, TX 2018
  • Practical Effects of Supreme Court Decisions Relating to Secured Creditors, ABA Business Bankruptcy Committee, San Antonio, TX 2018
  • Limits of Sale, Plan and Equitable Mootness, American Bankruptcy Institute Southwest, Las Vegas, NV 2018
  • Equitable Issues in Bankruptcy, Arizona State Bar Convention, Phoenix, AZ 2018
  • The Most Important Bankruptcy Cases of All Time, Federal Bar Association, Phoenix, AZ 2018
  • Climbing the Peak of Appellate Victory: Best Practices Before the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, California Bankruptcy Forum, Lake Tahoe, CA 2018


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

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