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Biography

Yvonne M. Renfrew completed her undergraduate work at the University of California at Berkeley, and graduated from that University’s highly regarded Boalt Hall School of Law, following which she also pursued graduate studies in criminalistics (the scientific evaluation of physical evidence, such as questioned documents), while simultaneously serving as the sole teaching assistant in a Boalt Hall pilot program designed to impart legal writing, research, and other skills to disadvantaged students including, primarily, those admitted to Boalt.

Following her admission to the State Bar of California, Ms. Renfrew worked with the Legal Aid Society of Alameda County where she litigated a number of important cases with state-wide and national implications, before becoming Assistant General Attorney of the Flying Tiger Line, Inc., where she remained until she founded her own practice.

While at Flying Tiger, Ms. Renfrew negotiated the acquisition and conversion to freighters of Boeing 747s for Tiger’s fleet, as well as public and private debt placements for the financing for those acquisitions, including one utilizing equipment trust certificates traded on the New York Stock Exchange and identified by the Wall Street Journal as a then-landmark in airline finance. During that same period, Ms. Renfrew also served as the representative of the IATA Legal Committee (and thus as the legal representative of all member airlines, both foreign and domestic) to the Restricted Articles Board, Geneva, Switzerland, for the purpose of developing the theoretical and legal framework and substantive regulations with respect to the carriage of hazardous materials, and was a participant in meetings with representatives of the United States Department of Transportation concerning the harmonization of its standards with the international standards prescribed by IATA. Ms. Renfrew also served on the ATA Committee of [Airline] Industry Litigation, participated in the industry-wide evaluation of the legal and practical implications of participation in domestic and international multi-carrier equipment pooling agreements, and was personally responsible for the identification and elimination of the potentially anti-competitive aspects of an industry-wide freightage clearinghouse. While serving at Flying Tiger, Ms. Renfrew also negotiated and drafted agreements with respect to international and domestic real property leases, lease and interchange arrangements with foreign and domestic air carriers for aircraft and other equipment, carried substantial co-responsibility with respect to the implementation of a multi-national stock purchase plan, provided advice and counsel with respect to collective bargaining and related labor matters both foreign and domestic, and actively participated in the management of a major governmental investigation leading to a highly favorable negotiated settlement.

Upon establishing her own practice, Ms. Renfrew initially combined domestic and international transactional work (such as the negotiation of aircraft acquisition contracts) with litigation at the trial court and appellate level, but gradually moved away from transactional work because of the incompatibility of the travel involved with the demands of her litigation practice, which has increasingly focused on individual rights and constitutional issues. Ms. Renfrew has represented individual and business litigants in many cases resulting in numerous published opinions, some of which have established significant new legal precedents. These include, for example , Wilcox v. Superior Court (Second Dist., 1994) 27 Cal. App. 4th 809 [33 Cal.Rptr.2d 446] (the first published appellate opinion decided under California’s anti-SLAPP law), Sehlmeyer v. Department of General Services (Second Dist. 1993) 17 Cal. App. 4th 1072 [21 Cal.Rptr.2d 840] (expanding application of the privacy provisions of the California Constitution), and ComputerXpress, Inc. v. Jackson (Fourth Dist., 2001) 93 Cal.App.4th 993 [113 Cal.Rptr.2d 625] (concerning constitutional and anti-SLAPP statute protections for internet posts).

Throughout her legal career, Ms. Renfrew has been active in local, state, and national bar association activities.

Among other local bar posts, Ms. Renfrew served for a number of years as chair of the Litigation Section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, for many years as a Governor of that Association, as a member of the Board of that Association’s Foundation, and as Chair of the Association’s Ethics Committee, Chair of its High Technology Litigation Committee, Chair of the Association’s Program Committee, and also as Chair of that Association’s delegation to the Conference of Delegates of the State Bar of California. Ms. Renfrew was also, in past years, involved and designated as a Master of the Bench in both the Complex Litigation Inn of Court (where she also served on the Executive Committee) and Los Angeles West Inn of Court. Ms. Renfrew also formerly served on the Executive Committee of the Barristers of both the Los Angeles County Bar and Beverly Hills Bar Associations.

At the state-wide level, Ms. Renfrew served for a number of years as a member of the Committee on Administration of Justice of the California State Bar, and has served also on the Resolutions Committee of the California State Bar. Ms. Renfrew also served for many years as a Delegate to the Conference of Delegates of the State Bar, first representing the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and later the Beverly Hills Bar Association. Ms. Renfrew has also been qualified and appointed as a Special Master by the State Bar of California.

At the national level, Ms. Renfrew, among other posts, has served as co-chair of a Litigation Group of the American Trial Lawyer’s Association, and as a member of its Presidential Committee on Communications, Computers and Law Office Technology, and its Presidential Committee on Legal Affairs.

Ms. Renfrew has also served as a Director and Vice President of the Boalt Hall Alumni Association.

Ms. Renfrew has also been, over the years, a frequent writer, speaker, and panelist appearing for, among others, the American Trial Lawyers Association, the California Trial Lawyers Association [now Consumer Attorneys of California], the State Bar of California, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, MALDEF, and the Rutter Group, both in areas of substantive law and with respect to the application of high technology to legal practice. She is also the author of a number of articles published by, among others, the American Trial Lawyers Association, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, and the EEOC. Ms. Renfrew was also Co-Director and principal speaker at the first National Conference with respect to tort liability of psychotherapists sponsored by the University of California at Los Angeles. She was also recognized by the California Law Revision Commission for her contributions to its work with respect to proposed revision of California’s Administrative Procedure Act. Ms. Renfrew has also testified before various committees concerning substantive law issues at the invitation of such bodies as the California Legislature and the State Bar Board of Governors.

Ms. Renfrew was requested by the Beverly Hills Municipal Court to serve as judge pro tempore in place of one of its judges who had become legally unqualified to sit, whereupon, for the next one and one-half years Ms. Renfrew served pro bono presiding over that Court’s law and motion matters while simultaneously continuing her active legal practice.

Ms. Renfrew has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the American Jurisprudence Award, an award from the California State Bar Board of Governors in recognition of her contributions to the delivery of pro bono legal services in California, the Governor’s Award of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, for distinguished and exemplary service to the Association, as well as that Association’s Distinguished Service Award for exemplary service to the community.

Ms. Renfrew has also been elected as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

In past lives before the law, Ms. Renfrew also worked as a journalist and computer programmer.

March 2, 2004 | Permalink