Certified Civil Trial Advocate
National Board of Trial
Certified Specialist in Injury and Wrongful Death
Arizona Board of Legal Specialization
American College of Trial Lawyers
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
Shawn Aiken, 2007-2017
Richard Gerry, 2010-2017
Lamar Hawkins, 2016-2017
Michael Petitti, 2005-2017
Joe Schenk, 2016-2017
Burr Shields, 2009-2017
Ty Taber, 2016-2017
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
Heather Macre, 2014-2017
Jason Covault, 2014-2017
Erin Hertzog, 2017
The Top 100 Trial Lawyers (Arizona),
The American Trial Lawyers
Outstanding Trial Lawyer
Arizona Trial Lawyers Association
The Top 100 Trial Lawyers
The American Trial Lawyers Association
National Association of Distinguished Counsel
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
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
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
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
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
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
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; and
Erin A. Hertzog and
Natalie B. Virden.
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
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
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
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 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