John C. Lemaster

Legal Assistant: Brandi Kline


John has a diverse litigation practice encompassing the issues vital to business in the West. John's practice is in commercial litigation, managing and trying complex cases. His practice has emphasized condemnation and real property, water rights, NEPA and environmental issues, and business disputes. In addition, John handles insurance coverage and bad faith litigation matters, asbestos defense, and other complex litigation. John's broad base of experience has given him the opportunity to try a number of jury and non-jury trials, arbitrations, and other evidentiary disputes, and to use many alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve litigation when appropriate.

At the firm, John serves as the Litigation Practice Group Leader and as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. In addition, he heads up the firm’s eDiscovery & Managed Review practice, one of the first dedicated practice groups created to provide managed document review and eDiscovery services in litigation, investigations, and due diligence for clients and other law firms.

General Business Litigation. John has extensive litigation experience in resolving disputes for businesses ranging from breach of contract claims and defense of products liability claims, to claims arising from industrial accidents and operations, to claims arising from corporate transactions and real estate deals. Other cases have involved franchise issues, copyright and trademark and patent issues, antitrust issues, and trade secrets. John has been involved in corporate and partnership disputes, board and trustee disputes, class actions and collective actions, Ponzi schemes, and fraud.

John's practice has included litigating multi-party cases, multi-jurisdictions cases, and multi-suit cases. For example, John managed multi-million dollar litigation against corporations, governmental entities, and Indian Tribes. John has managed a case in which 122 separate condemnation cases were filed and consolidated for certain purposes and 29 asbestos cases were set for trial and dismissed in a multidistrict litigation. John has been involved in litigating class actions and collective actions and even a defendant class action representing a class of shareholders of an association.

John has obtained significant jury verdicts on behalf of clients and significant bench trial judgments. Often John has been able to settle cases on behalf of clients providing them significant benefits.

John has represented a professional sports team in a player trade grievance made by another team alleging fraud and misrepresentation. The case was settled on very favorable terms for the team just before the hearing, the terms of which included a public apology by the team filing the grievance.

Condemnation and Real Property Litigation. John has worked for large national companies seeking to expand energy operations across multi-state corridors, and has defended companies impacted by proposed condemnation proceedings. John has represented property owners in cases involving freeway takings, partial takings and even the taking of restrictive covenants in an industrial park limiting the uses of the park.

John has represented numerous clients in property disputes including breach of purchase agreements, leases, buy-outs under leases, border and survey disputes, title disputes, and restrictive covenant disputes and adverse possession.

John has sought to protect clients' interests in records of decision and rights of way granted by federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management. He has represented a large natural gas transmission company in the acquisition of more than 500 properties for an interstate pipeline.

Water Rights and Environmental Disputes. John has broad experience in representing clients in water related litigation including general adjudications both in federal and state courts. John's representation has included representing a client in a Federal lawsuit against a state engineer for violations of substantive and procedural due process. John has acted as lead trial counsel for a major claimant in the Globe Equity 59 proceeding and in the state's Gila River Adjudication. John argued the preclusive effect of the Globe Equity 59 proceeding on interlocutory appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court. In addition, John overturned a trial court judgment in excess of $1,500,000 on appeal to the Ninth Circuit where the Court directed entry of judgment in favor of his client because the Circuit Court found that the client had the ability to pump groundwater under the doctrine of reasonable use.

John has represented clients' interests in environmental suits under NEPA both before the Interior Board of Land Appeals and in Federal Court. John has represented clients in CERCLA and RCRA litigation. John has defended companies in toxic tort cases and product liability cases.


Speaking Engagements

For a number of years, John taught at Phoenix College in the Legal Assistant Program.

  • "Legal Holds and Defensible Destructions," In-House CLE, January 2020
  • "Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Profession: Ethical Issues," ABA Techshow, March 2019
  • "Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Profession: Embracing the Possibilities," Association of Corporate Counsel Arizona Chapter, February 2019
  • "Recent Developments in E-Discovery," Arizona Attorney General's Office, Civil Enforcement Division, April 2018


During the 2001-2002 fiscal year, John served as Director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Southwest Chapter, which raises money to support research and education in an attempt to find a cure for diabetes and its complications. One of John's daughters was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when she was 10 years old. Additional memberships include:

  • American Bar Association
  • Maricopa County Bar Association
  • Phoenix College's Legal Assisting Program, Former Faculty Member
  • State Bar of Arizona, Former Public Relations Committee Member
  • Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow


John has earned an AV-Preeminent attorney rating by Martindale-Hubbell. He has been named to Arizona's Finest Lawyers, to Best Lawyers in America since 2008, and to Southwest Super Lawyers since 2010. In addition, he was named to the 2021 edition of AZ Business Magazine’s Top 100 Lawyers in Arizona.

Ranking Arizona
Profile Information




  • Arizona State University, J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, 1987
  • Arizona State University, B.A., cum laude, 1983


  • Arizona, 1987
  • Colorado, 2010
  • U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, 1987
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 1989
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1995

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