Clark Hill attorney to serve as ABA President-Elect


Patricia Lee “Trish” Refo of Phoenix, a partner in the law firm Snell & Wilmer and an alumna of the University of Michigan Law School, is the 144th president of the American Bar Association.

Refo became the first ABA president to be sworn in virtually, accepting the honor by video from the porch of the Sandra Day O’Connor house in Tempe, Ariz., due to safety concerns caused by the pandemic.

From 2014 to 2016, Refo served as the ABA’s second highest-ranking elected official as chair of its policymaking House of Delegates. She has also served as chair of the ABA’s largest practice group, the Section of Litigation. Refo has held numerous leadership roles in her decades with the ABA including chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Membership, the American Jury Project, and the Association’s grassroots advocacy activity, ABA Day in Washington. Refo was also a member of the ABA Commission on Civic Education and the Separation of Powers. She is the 10th female ABA president and fifth in the past six years.

“I am honored to serve the ABA’s members and walk in the footsteps of so many legal giants,” Refo said. “This moment presents a unique opportunity to advance the ABA’s mission and lead the profession in finding new tools all attorneys can use to better serve their clients. Now, more than ever, our nation’s lawyers will step up to help solve the challenges we face.”

At Snell & Wilmer in Phoenix, Refo concentrates on complex commercial litigation and internal investigations. She chairs the firm’s Professional Liability Litigation Group.

Refo has served on the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Evidence of the United States Judicial Conference, appointed by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, and on the Arizona Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Rules of Evidence. She is a member of the American Law Institute and its Litigation Advisory Panel and is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education. Previously, Refo served as a director of the American Bar Endowment and as co-chair of the National Association of Women Lawyers Committee for the Evaluation of Supreme Court Nominees.

Among her awards and recognitions, Refo in 2007 was named to the National Law Journal’s list of The 50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America. She received the President’s Award from the State Bar of Arizona and has been inducted into the Maricopa County Bar Association Hall of Fame. She received her B.A. with high honors and high distinction and her J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan.

Reginald M. Turner of Detroit, another Michigan Law alumnus and a member of the law firm Clark Hill PLC, assumed the role of president-elect. He will serve a one-year term then become ABA president in August 2021.

Turner is a highly accomplished litigator, government affairs advocate and strategic adviser. He joined Clark Hill in 2000 and is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, Government Policy Group, and Labor and Employment Practice Group.

“Being a lawyer means conducting yourself with professionalism, service and honor,” Turner said. “As I assume a leadership role in the ABA, I will honor those values and fulfill the obligation to pursue access to justice, which is true justice.”

Turner is following in the footsteps of longtime mentor Dennis Archer Sr., who was ABA president in 2003-2004. He clerked for Archer at the Michigan Supreme Court in the late 1980s.
Turner has also held numerous leadership roles in the ABA. He served as the state delegate for Michigan in the ABA House of Delegates, and as chair of the ABA House of Delegates Rules & Calendar Committee, the Committee on Issues of Concern to the Profession, and the Committee on Credentials and Admissions. He is a past chair of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession and the Commission on the Lawyer's Role in Assuring Every Child a Quality Education. He is also a past chair of the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation.

Turner is a past president of both the National Bar Association and the State Bar of Michigan. He serves on the board of directors of Comerica Inc. and Masco Corporation, and is active in a host of public service and civic and charitable organizations, including United Way for Southeastern Michigan, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Public Safety Foundation and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

A recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, Turner is named in the peer review guides Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers®, as well as the Michigan Chronicle Power 50, DBusiness Top Lawyers, Crain’s Detroit Business Power Lawyers and Crain’s Most Connected.

He also has been identified by Michigan Lawyers Weekly and Best Lawyers as a Lawyer of the Year.


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