Three Decades of Distinguished Service

Frazer Ryan began with an idea that, for Phoenix law firms in the 1980s, was highly unconventional.

Thirty-five years ago, in the summer of 1989, Phoenix tax attorney Dave Frazer (pictured) was invited to breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton by estate planning attorney Jim Ryan to discuss the prospects of practicing law together.

Jim had a vision for a new law firm that, in contrast to many Phoenix firms at that time, would not be dependent on or vulnerable to the health of Arizona’s real estate market.

Rather, the new firm would be devoted to problem solving:

  • Helping clients identify their business, personal, financial and tax objectives;
  • Anticipating and addressing the obstacles to those objectives;
  • Developing and implementing effective planning strategies; and
  • Monitoring changes in clients’ objectives and situations and recommending plan modifications as necessary.

Dave found Jim’s vision to be a compelling one, a sentiment shared by Yale Goldberg, another tax attorney who practiced with Dave. On September 1, 1989, the law firm of Frazer, Ryan & Goldberg was formed, occupying offices at 16th Street and Missouri Avenue in Phoenix.

Not long after the firm was founded, Jim attached to every attorney’s phone this familiar quote: Clients don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care. As the firm now known as Frazer Ryan Goldberg & Arnold celebrates three decades of legal service, that commitment to putting clients’ interests first – part of the legacy of Dave Frazer, who retired in 2005 – has been a guiding principle that, combined with the preeminent skill and legal reputations of its attorneys, has long differentiated the firm in the Phoenix legal community.

Frazer Ryan Today

Today, in an atmosphere of growing threats to family and business wealth, Frazer Ryan provides valued clients with a sophisticated array of problem-solving services. Our areas of expertise include estate planningtax planningcivil and criminal tax controversyestate controversybusiness formationmergers and acquisitionsreal estate transactionsprobate and trust administrationguardianship, elder law, business law, and commercial litigation.

Our growing, 25-lawyer firm is led by our 10 senior attorneys:

  • Jim Ryan, a Certified Specialist in Estate and Trust Law (Arizona Board of Legal Specialization) and a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC). Jim is a Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America® honoree and a former Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” (Phoenix) in Trusts and Estates. A long-time community leader, Jim is a member of the Bankers Trust Company of Phoenix community board of directors; served for nine years on the Arizona Community Foundation board of directors; and is a former board member of Phoenix Country Club.
  • John Fitzpatrick, a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and Best Lawyers’ 2023 Phoenix “Lawyer of the Year” in Trust and Estate Litigation. John’s practice focuses on assisting people and financial institutions in trust and estate controversies and business and real estate litigation. John is a multi-year Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers honoree. He is a member of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys and is a past chair of the Probate and Trust Section of the State Bar of Arizona, and a 2023 “Az Business Leaders” selectee (AZ Big Media).
  • Scott Erickson, a Certified Specialist in Estate and Trust Law whose practice encompasses estate planning, asset protection planning, business succession planning, charitable gift planning, pre-marital planning, probate and trust administration, business formation, and the purchase/sale of interests in family owned entities. Scott also represents and advises fiduciaries, beneficiaries, and creditors in estate and trust matters. He is an eight-time Super Lawyers honoree and a past chair of the State Bar of Arizona’s Estate and Trust Advisory Commission.
  • T.J. Ryan, a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and a former Best Lawyers Trust Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” (Phoenix). His practice encompasses trust and estate law, from estate and business planning, to probate and trust administration, to resolving estate contests and trust disputes. T.J. is a Super Lawyers honoree, past president of the Maricopa County Bar Association, contributing author of the Arizona Estate Planning and Probate Handbook, 2013, 2023 (Thomson Reuters), and an editor of the Arizona Probate Code Practice Manual, 2014, 2022 (State Bar of Arizona).
  • Jonathon Morrison, a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law (State Bar of California) and a Best Lawyers honoree. Licensed to practice in California and Arizona, Jonathon advises and designs advanced income tax and estate tax minimization and business exit strategies and is a pioneer in the use of the Optimized Charitable Lead Annuity Trust (OCLAT). Jonathon also represents clients and serves as co-counsel to attorneys in California-specific matters, including California Prop. 13 real property tax, real property transfers, probate and trust administrations, and income tax issues.
  • Lisa Reilly Payton, who focuses her practice on estate planning, entity formation, and tax controversy, representing businesses and individuals in tax matters before the IRS and the Arizona Department of Revenue. Through her IRS offer-in-compromise settlements, Lisa has saved her clients over $20 million in federal income taxes. Lisa is a Best Lawyers honoree and a member of the Catholic Community Foundation board of directors. She has been listed by AzBusiness magazine as one of “The Most Influential Women in Arizona” and is a 2022 Phoenix magazine “Top Lawyer” (Tax Law) selectee.
  • Doug John, a Best Lawyers honoree and a state and local tax attorney with an emphasis on property tax counseling and litigation. Doug helps clients navigate complex state and local tax systems in minimizing income tax, sales and use tax, and property tax liability. Over the past nine years, Doug has reduced his clients’ property tax values by over $2 billion through a sound knowledge of property tax law, valuation theory and tax assessment practices. Lexology magazine’s exclusive Arizona contributor, Doug is admitted to practice in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Minnesota, and before the U.S. Tax Court.
  • Brandon Keim, a Certified Tax Law Specialist and CPA. Brandon’s clients benefit from his experience in a broad scope of federal tax controversies. He joined Frazer Ryan after six successful years as a senior trial attorney with the Internal Revenue Service, where he received the Chief Counsel National Award for Superior Achievement in Outstanding Litigation. Brandon holds an LL.M. in Taxation at the Georgetown University Law Center, is an Az Business Leaders 2023 selectee (AZ Big Media), and was selected by Az Business magazine as one of its “Top 100 Lawyers in Arizona for 2023.”
  • Phil Rupprecht, a Best Lawyers honoree (Trusts and Estates) whose practice emphasizes wealth, estate, and business preservation planning for high net worth clients. Phil helps clients work through financial difficulties, including debtor workouts, and Chapter 11 bankruptcy. He also is a valuable resource for other attorneys, financial planners, and tax professionals in shielding their clients’ accumulated wealth from avoidable risk, through the innovative use of domestic and offshore asset protection strategies.
  • David Cohen, whose ability to analyze complex tax issues and formulate effective strategies is invaluable to businesses, tax-exempt organizations, multi-entity clients, and high net worth individuals. David has the distinctive experience and skill to serve both the transactional and tax needs of his clients, having earned an LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center and practiced extensively in virtually all aspects of corporate and commercial law, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions. David is admitted to practice in Arizona and California.
  • Jon A. Titus, a Southwest Super Lawyers® who has handled almost everything there is to handle in securities law, from private transactions to public offerings, and from defending regulatory actions to litigating securities fraud cases. Similarly, he has broad and diverse experience in all aspects of real estate law primarily representing real estate developers and home builders. He earned his law degree at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Arizona.

These attorneys, along with partners Mike HarschCathy KnappPhil Whitaker, Alyssa Whetstine, Jimmy CoolRoger Stahl, and Jessica Dorvinen; associate attorneys Shannon KnorrIda ArayaAfsanieh RasstiMia Samartinean, Trisha Farrow, and Kelsi Lane; and of counsel Chuck Whetstine comprise an impressive group of lawyers whose sophistication in tax and estate law is consistently on a par with Arizona’s largest law firms.

In 2014, reflecting on his firm’s first quarter century, Jim Ryan wrote:

“Twenty-five years have flown by, and the many, many wonderful memo­ries of the clients we have been able to assist during that time give us all great satisfaction. We haven’t stopped to celebrate often enough the many client successes we have helped to achieve, as well as the wonderful attor­neys and staff members whose presence, over the years, has blessed our firm so greatly.

“We have set about to forge a law firm that will outlive all of us and con­tinue to be recognized for excellence in legal representation and prob­lem solving for our clients, and where clients and staff are cared for like family members.

“We are extremely grateful to every client, and to all of the individuals who consistently recommend us to others, for their trust and confidence, and we pledge to continue to provide our most efficient, effective and caring problem solving efforts for the benefit of the business and families who have entrusted their affairs to us.”