Ralph J. Blake
Ralph Blake, the founder of Blake Law Firm, has been practicing law in Arizona for over 45 years. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame and obtaining his law degree, he worked for the Legal Aid Society, representing low-income clients who could not afford an attorney. A case he handled as a young lawyer has been designated by Arizona Attorney magazine as one of the most important legal cases in Arizona’s first 100 years of statehood. The case involved a $670 sewing machine that had been repossessed. His client owned and ran a small business called Louise Draperies. Louise had recently purchased an industrial-size sewing machine, but after making the first few payments it stopped working. She became late on the next $110 installment payment because she could not afford it. But just as she was getting caught up and ready to make the payment, sheriff deputies came to her store and had her sewing machine hauled away.
This was not the kind of case most lawyers would ever consider taking. It was the story of the little person against a large well-funded industry. One way or the other, the case would affect every bank, lending institution and big law firm in the state. Louise came to Mr. Blake and he agreed to represent her. When the Arizona Supreme Court finally entered its ruling in the case, Mr. Blake did not know the Court’s decision until he picked up the newspaper off his driveway on his way to work one day. That is when he learned that the Supreme Court had ruled in Louise’s favor and held that Arizona law must be changed so that people like Louise could not have their property repossessed without first having the opportunity to explain in court why payment had not been made. The result was so unsettling to the commercial banking world that the Arizona Republic made it a front page headline. It was the first and only time in the newspaper’s history that a headline was put in red ink!
Mr. Blake’s family has been in Arizona for over 100 years. He was born in Phoenix and is the oldest of 11 children. He learned early how to take care of himself and his younger brothers and sisters. For over 65 years, the Blake family lived in the same house located in central Phoenix. Mr. Blake put himself through college by getting jobs starting at age 15. He worked in a cattle feed lot, a meatpacking plant and a construction company. When asked what he had learned from working in a slaughterhouse, he said he learned he did not want to be a meatpacker! He took out student loans for college and law school. He played on the Notre Dame Baseball team as a top rotation pitcher. He told the story of being drafted his sophomore year, but not by a major league baseball team. It turned out that the United States Army wanted him. He did his basic training at Ft. Knox Kentucky, where his experience as a baseball pitcher was handy when it came to throwing hand grenades.
Before starting his own practice, Mr. Blake spent 31 years as a founding partner in the well-known law firm of Solomon, Relihan & Blake. Starting with no clients and only one secretary, Mr. Blake helped build one of Arizona’s best known law firms. He handled divorce, bankruptcy, will/trust, adoption and personal injury accident cases. He became known as someone who cares about the little guy. His firm’s return clients and referrals are who drive the practice. He appreciates having the experience and ability to help people who have been injured in accidents. He wants his clients to feel comfortable in the hard-working but friendly law office environment he has created.
Mr. Blake limits his firm’s practice to plaintiff’s personal injury law, representing the victims of automobile, motorcycle, pedestrian, dog bite, and premises liability accidents.Feature Story on Attorney Ralph Blake He has been deeply involved in the Arizona legal community as a member of professional law associations, including the Arizona State Bar Fee Arbitration Panel, the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association (now known as The Arizona Association for Justice), and the State Bar of Arizona, where he was a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee. Mr. Blake served as a board member for the Maricopa County Legal Aid Society, where he worked on behalf of tenants to help pass Arizona’s Residential Landlord Tenant Act. He helped start a program called Student Legal Services, which focused on providing free legal advice to college students at Phoenix College and Mesa Community College. He helped create Family Legal Services, which provided legal assistance to credit union members in Arizona and was considered one of the largest legal service programs in the country. Mr. Blake served as an Arizona Superior Court Commissioner Pro Tem and Judge Pro Tem for over 20 years. He is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts of Arizona, including the United States Supreme Court.