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Patricia Lee Refo

Trish Refo's practice is concentrated in complex commercial litigation and internal investigations, with extensive experience in financial institutions litigation, professional malpractice defense, class actions, trade secret litigation, and commercial and business torts. She chairs the firm's Professional Liability Litigation group. Trish is a frequent speaker at international, national, state and local continuing legal education conferences, including annual meetings of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Bar Association, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the CPR Center for Dispute Resolution, the Sedona Conference, the Judicial Conferences of the Seventh and Ninth Circuits, the Western States Bar Conference and various state bar conventions.

Representative Matters

  • Obtained defense verdict for "Am Law 200" law firm on malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty claims
  • Obtained summary judgment for "Am Law 100" law firm on malpractice and related claims
  • Successfully defended major accounting firm in arbitration
  • Represented numerous clients in securities and consumer fraud class actions
  • Obtained dismissal of breach of fiduciary duty claims against large foundation and successfully defended dismissal on appeal
  • Obtained unanimous Arizona Supreme Court opinion interpreting voter referendum
  • Conducted internal investigations in pharmaceutical and defense industries


  • University of Michigan School of Law (J.D., cum laude, 1983)
  • University of Michigan (B.A., high honors and high distinction, 1980)

Court Admissions

  • Supreme Court of Arizona
  • Supreme Court of Illinois
  • United States District Court, District of Arizona
  • United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

Professional Memberships & Activities

  • United States Judicial Conference
    • Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Evidence, Member (2000-2006) (appt'd by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist)
  • Arizona Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules of Evidence (2010-present)
  • American Bar Association
    • Section of Litigation, Chair (2003-2004)
      • Executive Committee (1994-2010)
    • House of Delegates (1998-2001, 2005-present)
      • Arizona State Delegate (2010-present)
    • Standing Committee on Membership, Chair (2008-2011), Member (2008-2012)
    • Nominating Committee (2008-present)
    • American Jury Project
      • Special Consultant and member (2005-present)
      • Chair (2004-2005)
    • Commission on Civic Education and the Separation of Powers (2005-2007)
  • American Bar Endowment, Director (2009-present)
  • ALI-ABA Litigation Advisory Panel (2008-present)
  • National Association of Women Lawyers
    • Committee for the Evaluation of Supreme Court Nominees,Co-Chair (2005-present)
  • National Law Journal, Editorial Board (2004-present)
  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Editorial Board (2007-present)
  • Commercial Lending Litigation News, LRP Publications
    • Board of Advisors (1989-present)
  • Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, Co-Chair of Arizona Women Lawyers Honoring Justice O'Connor
  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education, Fellow

Representative Presentations & Publications

  • Investigation of the Case, Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts, Third Edition, West Publishing (2011)
  • A Roadmap for Trials: The Ethical Treatment of Jurors, 36 Stetson L. Rev. 821 (2007)
  • Revitalizing the Jury System, The Delaware Lawyer (Fall 2005)
  • Trial Rescue, Litigation (Summer 2004)
  • The Vanishing Trial, Litigation (Winter 2004)
  • Pinching Pennies, Squeezing Justice, Litigation (Fall 2003)
  • Training the Next Generation of Lawyers, Litigation (Summer 2003)
  • Closing Argument: A String of Pearls, Litigation (Fall 1998)
  • Class Action Controversies, Co-Author, Practicing Law Institute (1992, 1994)
  • Notice to the Class, Co-Author, Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education (1986, Supplements 1990, 1992, 1996)

Professional Recognition & Awards

  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants (2003-2014); Corporate Law (2003-2013)
    • Phoenix Legal Malpractice Law "Lawyer of the Year" (2012)
  • Southwest Super Lawyers®, Business Litigation (2007-2014)
  • Ranking Arizona: The Best of Arizona Attorneys, Commercial Litigation (2010-2011)
  • Arizona's Top Lawyers, Commercial Litigation, AzBusiness Magazine (2010, 2014)
  • Lawdragon Top 3000 Leading Lawyers in America (2010-2011)
  • ABA Jury System Impact Award (2009)
  • International Who's Who of Commercial Litigation (2008-2013)
  • Greater Phoenix Attorney at Law Magazine feature story, "The Women of Snell & Wilmer" (December 2009)
  • The 50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America, The National Law Journal (May 2007)
  • Distinguished Achievement Award, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University (2007)
  • William Reese Smith Jr. Distinguished Lecturer in Litigation Ethics, Stetson Law School (2006)

Community Involvement

  • Smithsonian American Art Museum, Council Member (Arizona Representative)
  • Stratford Hall, Director (2008-present)
    • Audit Committee, Chair
  • Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
    • Director (2005-2011)
  • Arizona Foundation for Women, Director (1999-2005)
  • Arizona Academic Decathlon Association
    • Board of Advisors (2001-present)
    • Director (1997-2001)
  • The Episcopal Parish of St. Barnabas on the Desert, Senior Warden (2008-2011)

Other Professional Experience

  • Jenner & Block, Chicago, Illinois, Partner (1990-1996), Associate (1983-1990)

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