Tara Ward

Senior Associate Rochester
Tara Ward

Tara is a skilled litigator who brings a unique perspective to her matters based on her experience as a judicial law clerk. Her practice is focused on trusts and estates litigation, appellate matters, commercial litigation, and labor and employment disputes.

Tara handles contested probate proceedings, trust and estate accounting proceedings, fiduciary removal proceedings, and other trust- and estate-related matters before Surrogate’s Court and appellate courts. Her practice also focuses on litigating and resolving disputes between shareholders, members and partners of closely held corporations, limited liability companies and family-owned businesses arising out of trust and estate disputes.

Additionally, Tara represents clients before appellate courts throughout New York. Prior to joining Phillips Lytle, Tara served as a judicial law clerk at the New York State Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, Fourth Department.

Tara regularly represents clients on commercial litigation matters, including breach of contract claims and business torts. In addition, she represents tax lien purchasers and servicers across New York State in tax enforcement litigation.


Honors & Awards

  • Member of the inaugural class of the Monroe County Bar Association’s Leadership Academy, 2023
  • Named Upstate New York Super Lawyers® Rising Star, 2023
  • Named to Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America®
  • Honorable Judith S. Kaye Commercial and Federal Litigation Scholarship Recipient, 2020
  • Buffalo Law Review, Annual Note and Comment Competition, Top Ten Finalist for Student Publication

Education & Admissions

  • State University of New York at Buffalo Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 2015
  • State University of New York at Buffalo, B.A., summa cum laude, 2012
Admitted to Practice
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York


Representative Matters
  • Obtained order temporarily suspending preliminary executor of an estate and trustee of a trust based on fiduciary’s self-dealing and misconduct.
  • Represented minority shareholder in obtaining, then defending on appeal, an order denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss and directing a trial as to the plaintiff’s standing to pursue shareholder derivative action.
  • Defended attorney accused of malpractice in obtaining an order granting summary judgment and dismissing the complaint.
  • Defended contractor and residential design business against claims of breach of contract, unjust enrichment, conversion and deceptive business acts in obtaining an order dismissing the complaint with prejudice.
  • Defended tax lien purchaser against claim of breach of contract arising out of the purchase of real property in obtaining an order granting summary judgment and dismissing the complaint.

Speaking Engagements

View All
  • Co-Moderator:  Meet NY’s Commercial Judges – by and for Junior Lawyers – Part 5, February 7, 2023

Activities & Professional Associations

Present Activities

  • The Strong Museum, Play Makers Leadership Council

Past Activities

  • Volunteer Legal Services Project, Tenant Town and Village Court Pro Bono Program

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association
    • Young Lawyers Division
  • Monroe County Bar Association
    • Litigation Section
    • Health and Well-Being Committee
  • New York State Bar Association
    • Commercial & Federal Litigation Section
    • Trusts and Estates Section

Articles & Publications


  • Co-Author, “Weeding Out Bad Seeds: How New York State’s Seed Law Protects Hemp Growers from Unscrupulous Seed Vendors,” Buffalo Business First, March 2020