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 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:

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, Immediate Past-President, President 2017, 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
  • Maricopa County Bar Association, Hall of Fame, inducted 2015
  • Norton Bankruptcy Law Institutes, Faculty Member since 1988
  • Arizona Supreme Court Judicial Performance Review Conference Teams, Member, 1994-present
  • ABI Advisory Committee on Executory Contracts and Leases, ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11, 2012-14
  • American Bankruptcy Institute, National Ethics Task Force, 2011-13
  • Charter 100, Member, 1981-present
  • Arizona Bankruptcy Inn of Court, Master, 2011-15
  • ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers, 2001-2004
  • 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 Judicial Committees Appellate Case Processing Study Committee and Implementation Committee, 1994-98
  • Ninth Circuit Judicial Council Merit Screening Committee, Bankruptcy Judges, 1992-93
  • 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



  • 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
  • Benchmark Litigation - "Top 250 Women in Litigation", 2012, 2014, 2016 and "Local Litigation Star" in Arizona, 2013-2020
  • Southwest Super Lawyers - Top 50 in Arizona - 2013, 2018-2020 Top 25 Women Arizona Super Lawyers List - 2015, 2018-2020 - Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights, 2007-2016, 2018-2020
  • Chambers USA - Litigation: Appellate, 2020
  • 2019 Barbara Barrett Arizona Women's Education and Employment Icon Award
  • Arizona Business Magazine - Top 100 Attorneys, 2017, 2018
  • Mount Holyoke College - Sarah Williston Scholar - Mount Holyoke College Achievement Award, 2017
  • AZ Business Magazine - Top 100 Lawyers - Bankruptcy, 2010, 2016
  • Maricopa County Bar Association - Hall of Fame
  • Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel - Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights, 2009, 2010
  • Martindale-Hubbell - "AV/Preeminent Attorney" Rating
  • John P. Frank Advocate for Justice Award - Commitment to pro bono service
  • Lawdragon - Top 3000 in the United States, 2010
  • New York University School of Law - Root-Tilden Scholar

Recent Presentations

  • “The Most Important Bankruptcy Cases of All Time, Federal Bar Association, February 2018
  • “Chapter 11 Open Forum” and "Ethical Issues," The 29th Annual Norton Bankruptcy Litigation Institute II, March 2017 (and annual seminar presentations back to 1987)
  • “Chapter 11 Cramdown Interest Rates: Till, Momentive and the Proper Valuation Methods,” Fourteenth Annual EBDJ Symposium, February 2017
  • “Bankruptcy Ethics: Recent Developments,” Oklahoma Bar Ass’n. 32nd Annual Advanced Bankruptcy Seminar, December 2017
  • “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
  • “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


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