Aiken Schenk


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Aiken Schenk is a 2017 Metro (Phoenix) selectee in Commercial Litigation, Employment Law, Mediation, Personal Injury, Arbitration and Bankruptcy

Certified Specialists

Shawn Aiken
Certified Civil Trial Advocate
National Board of Trial Advocacy

Ty Taber
Certified Specialist in Injury and Wrongful Death
Arizona Board of Legal Specialization


Shawn Aiken
American College of Trial Lawyers

Lawyer of the Year
The Best Lawyers in America®

Michael Petitti (Employment Law - Individuals), Phoenix, 2017

Richard Gerry (Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs), Phoenix), 2017

Burr Shields (Labor & Employment Litigation, Phoenix), 2016

Shawn Aiken (Mediation, Phoenix), 2012, 2015

The Best Lawyers in America®

Shawn Aiken, 2007-2018

Richard Gerry, 2010-2018

Lamar Hawkins, 2016-2018

Michael Petitti, 2005-2018

Phil Rupprecht, 2018

Joe Schenk, 2016-2018

Burr Shields, 2009-2018

Ty Taber, 2016-2018

Super Lawyers®

Shawn Aiken, 2007-2017
Top 50 Arizona Lawyers, 2009-2017

Richard Gerry, 2007-2017

Lamar Hawkins, 2012-2017

Michael Petitti, 2007-2017

Al Ricciardi, 2012-2017

Joe Schenk, 2009-2017

Ty Taber, 2010, 2013-2017

Super Lawyers Rising Stars™

Heather Macre, 2014-2017

Jason Covault, 2014-2017

Pouria Paknejad, 2016-2017

Erin Hertzog, 2017

AV Preeminent™ Ratings, Martindale-Hubbell®

Shawn Aiken

Richard Gerry

Lamar Hawkins

Pouria Paknejad

Michael Petitti

Al Ricciardi

Phil Rupprecht

Joe Schenk

Burr Shields

Ty Taber

Arizona's Finest Lawyers®

Shawn Aiken

Richard Gerry

Lamar Hawkins

Ty Taber


Shawn Aiken
The Top 100 Trial Lawyers (Arizona), The American Trial Lawyers Association, 2008

Richard Gerry
Outstanding Trial Lawyer for 2008, Arizona Trial Lawyers Association

Richard Gerry
The Top 100 Trial Lawyers (Arizona), The American Trial Lawyers Association

Al Ricciardi
National Association of Distinguished Counsel

Burr Shields
Chambers and Partners, 2015



A Quarter Century of Collegiality and Peer-Recognized Legal Skill

In September 2014, our attorneys and staff observed the 25th anniversary of the founding of our law firm. As part of that observance, we compiled this narrative, since updated, chronicling the firm's early days and subsequent progress.


In the summer of 1989, amid chaos in the real estate investment market and the collapse of the savings and loan industry, four attorneys at Beus Gilbert & Morrill – John J. Hebert, Joseph A. Schenk, Carolyn J. Johnsen and Terry A. Dake – decided that it was a favorable time to create a new law firm.

On September 1 of that year, Hebert Schenk Johnsen & Dake opened for business in an executive office suite on Central Avenue. The firm operated in its temporary quarters for less than two months before relocating to the Missouri Commons at 1440 E. Missouri Ave., which would be its address for the next 15 years.

Armed with favorable business conditions and a clear vision, the firm was successful from the outset, funding its start-up and early operations through cash flow instead of borrowed funds.

The firm’s core services were complex bankruptcy and litigation, and the founders were committed to being a “boutique” offering a limited scope of legal services provided at a very high level.

While the scope of the firm’s legal services was intentionally narrow, expanding the number of attorneys was part of its business plan from the outset.

In early 1990, the partners extended invitations to two former Beus Gilbert litigation colleagues, Shawn K. Aiken and Philip R. Rupprecht, who became the firm’s first associate attorneys. They were joined three months later by D. Lamar Hawkins, who had recently graduated from the Arizona State University College of Law. Shawn and Phil became shareholders in 1991, and Lamar, a bankruptcy attorney, joined the shareholder group in 1995.

The founding group sustained its first loss in 1993, when Terry Dake left to start a firm, and the firm name was changed to Hebert Schenk & Johnsen P.C.

Through most of its first decade, the firm adhered to its original strategy to confine its practice areas to bankruptcy and litigation. But as its client base grew, and as its clients’ legal needs became more varied, the firm decided to diversify its service mix.

Expanding the firm and its practice areas, the shareholders sought attorneys who possessed two essential qualities: the skill to practice at a high level, and the personality and values to preserve the firm’s chemistry.

In 1999, business litigation and personal injury attorney Alfred W. Ricciardi, with whom many of the firm’s attorneys had practiced at Beus Gilbert and who had considered being one of the co-founders, finally came over from Robbins & Green. In the same year, Cathey L. Joseph (real estate law) and Mark W. Roth (bankruptcy) brought their practices from Lorance & Thompson.

In 2000, Carolyn Johnsen became the second co-founder to leave when she accepted a leadership role in the bankruptcy department at Gallagher & Kennedy and, later, Jennings Strouss. After her departure, the firm name was shortened again, to Hebert Schenk P.C.

Firm growth resumed in 2003 with the additions of two more former Beus Gilbert colleagues, Robert C. Van Voorhees (now retired) and commercial litigator Stephen C. Rich. Before coming to Hebert Schenk, Steve (who left our firm in 2015) had practiced with personal injury and DUI attorney Richard M. Gerry, and in 2005 Richard joined the firm’s shareholder group. Richard arrived shortly after the firm’s relocation, in late 2004, from its Missouri Avenue offices to the Camelback Corridor, at 24th Street and Highland.

One of the most notable chapters in the firm’s history occurred in 2008, when, soon after Cathey Joseph had left to start her firm, Jack Hebert and Mark Roth accepted positions at another Phoenix firm. The firm underwent its most significant name change, becoming Aiken Schenk Hawkins & Ricciardi P.C.

The departures of three shareholders sparked a renewed emphasis on firm growth and service diversification. Since 2010, the firm has added J. Tyrrell Taber, one of Arizona's most prominent personal injury and election law attorneys; Michael J. Petitti, Jr., and J. Burr Shields II, two nationally recognized labor and employment lawyers; Heather A. Macre, a litigation, healthcare and bankruptcy attorney and an elected member of the Central Arizona Water Conversation District Board; litigation attorney Jason M. Covault; litigation counsel Pouria Paknejad; and associate attorneys Erin A. Hertzog, Natalie B. Virden and Austin Kipling Kurtz.

Two of our firm's alumni have passed away: Mark Roth in 2011 and Jack Hebert in 2017.

Aiken Schenk Today

During its quarter-century history, Aiken Schenk has distinguished itself in the Arizona legal community through:

  • the collegiality of its attorneys;

  • its strong personal and professional relationships with attorneys in competing firms;

  • the extraordinarily high professional level at which its attorneys serve and respond to the needs of their clients; and

  • the regard in which its attorneys are held in the Phoenix legal community.

Shawn Aiken, Richard Gerry, Joe Schenk, Al Ricciardi, Lamar Hawkins, Ty Taber and Michael Petitti are multiple-year Super Lawyers selectees; Super Lawyers also consistently ranks Shawn among Arizona’s Top 50 Attorneys and featured him on the cover of the 2010 Southwest Super Lawyers magazine. Aiken, Gerry, Schenk, Hawkins, Taber, Petitti and Shields are also multi-year honorees by The Best Lawyers in America®.

In May 2009, the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association named Richard Gerry its “Outstanding Trial Lawyer for 2008” for his $36 million jury verdict in Graham v. ValueOptions. In 2014, he retired as a shareholder and became of counsel to the firm.

Lamar Hawkins’ leadership among Arizona bankruptcy attorneys includes chairmanships of the Bankruptcy Advisory Commission and the Bankruptcy Section of the State Bar of Arizona.

Al Ricciardi has received national recognition for his achievements in dairy regulation and products liability.

Phil Rupprecht is a recognized authority in asset protection and offshore financial planning and has lectured on those topics to audiences around the world.

Pouria Paknejad is an elected member of the State Bar of Arizona's Board of Governors.

To accommodate the next generation of Aiken Schenk attorneys, in May 2012 the firm relocated to its current offices in the Biltmore Financial Center at 2390 E. Camelback Rd. in Phoenix.