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Shawn K. Aiken


Super Lawyers cover article

American College of Trial Lawyers



Rated by Super Lawyers 

American College of
Trial Lawyers

February 5, 2017: ACTL issues statement opposing the public statements by President Trump regarding federal Judge James L. Robart.

Recent Matters

Practice Areas




Business Divorce

Corporate Governance

Honors and Awards

Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers

The Best Lawyers in America®: "Lawyer of the Year," Mediation (Phoenix), 2012, 2015

The Best Lawyers in America (Commercial Litigation, Mediation, Arbitration), 2009-2018

Super Lawyers: Top 50 Arizona Lawyers, 2009-2017; Southwest Super Lawyers cover feature, 2010; Selectee, Business Litigation, Alternative Dispute Resolution (2007-present)

AV Preeminent™ Rating, Martindale-Hubbell®

Arizona’s Finest Lawyers, 2010-present: George Lyons Mentor Award, 2016

“Top 100 Lawyers in Arizona,” AzBusiness Magazine, 2013-2017

“Top 20 ADR Attorneys,” AzBusiness Magazine, 2015

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

“AZ Business Leaders” (Law: Alternative Dispute Resolution), AZ Big Media, 2017

Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education Award, “Top 50 Pro Bono Attorneys of Arizona,” 2001 and 2004

Professional Memberships

State Bar of Arizona: Civil Practice and Procedure Committee, 2002-2007; ADR Section; Trial Practice Section; Fee Arbitration Panel; Model Jury Instruction Committee (RAJI 3d)

Federal Bar Association

Million Dollar Advocates Forum

American Arbitration Association: National Commercial Panel of Neutrals; National Sports Panel; Large, Complex Case Panel

National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals: Charter Member

American College of Civil Trial Mediators

CPR Panels of Distinguished Neutrals: Arbitrator and Mediator, Real Estate Panel, Phoenix ADR Panel

U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Arizona: Approved Compensated Mediator

Fellow, College of Commercial Arbitrators

Horace Rumpole Inn of Court: Former Master, Counselor and President

court admissions

Arizona, 1983

U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, 1983

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 1983

Supreme Court of the United States, 2010

published decisions

Steven Karbal v. Arizona Department of Revenue, et al., 158 P.3d 243 (App. 2007)

Meritor Savings Bank v. Camelback Canyon Investors, 792 F.Supp. 697(D. Ariz. 1992)

Matter of Mulhall, 159 Ariz. 528, 768 P.2d 1173 (1989)

Elgin v. Great-West Life Assurance Company, 163 Ariz. 176, 786 P.2d 1027 (App. 1989)

Memorandum Decisions

Connolly et al. v. Jeanes et al., 73 F.Supp.3d 1094 (D. Ariz. 2014)

JGD, LLC v. American Title Service Agency, LLC, No. 1 CA-CV 10-0-466

Art Marketing Group et al., v. Poor & Co., et al., 2006 WL 1081064 (D. Ariz. 2006)

News Archive

$4.5 Million Judgment in Partnership Dispute, Despite Absence of Partnership Agreements


J.D., Arizona State University, 1983

B.A., cum laude, St. Olaf College, 1980: National Collegiate Champion, Extemporaneous Speaking, 1980

community involvement

Coach, Jenckes Cup Competition, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, 2009-2011

University Lutheran Church

Arizona Baseball and Softball Commission, 2006

Tempe Leadership I

Coach: JAM Basketball, Tempe Mudcats Baseball Club, Tempe American Little League and All-City Basketball


Grand Forks, North Dakota

  Shawn Aiken: For seven straight years, ranked among Super Lawyers’ “Top 50 Lawyers” in Arizona


In the areas of mediation, arbitration and complex commercial litigation, few Arizona lawyers can match Shawn Aiken’s reputation for legal skill and personal and professional integrity.

Shawn Aiken devotes a substantial portion of his practice to mediation and arbitration and was selected by The Best Lawyers in America as Lawyer of the Year (Mediation, Phoenix) for both 2012 and 2015.

In addition, Super Lawyers has ranked Shawn among its "Top 50 Lawyers" in Arizona every year since 2009.

A Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL), Shawn also advocates for clients in complex business litigation involving contracts, corporate governance, business torts, intellectual property and unfair competition. He is one of only five lawyers in the United States who are fellows of both the ACTL and the College of Commercial Arbitrators.

Key Representations

During nearly 30 years of state and federal trial and appellate work, Shawn Aiken has represented clients in trademark, trade dress, partnership and closely held shareholder disputes; violations of non-competition covenants; mismanagement, fraud and breaches of fiduciary duty; RICO; interference with and inducing breach of contract; trade secrets; breach of contract; misrepresentation; unfair competition, and many other types of business cases.

  • Lead counsel on hundreds of litigated cases, including a plaintiff’s bad faith jury verdict of over $1 million

  • Prevailed in a 2015 constitutional challenge against the State of Arizona seeking to restore to Arizona cities and towns the authority to set the minimum wage within their jurisdictions

  • In a 2015 New Mexico arbitration, achieved a favorable award, including resolution of over $3 million in claims, in an investment partnership dissolution stemming from the adverse party’s mismanagement of partnership assets

  • Also in 2015, obtained a multimillion-dollar award for a local real estate development client in a dispute with a longtime investment partner

  • In 2014, successfully challenged the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority tax that funded construction of the Arizona Cardinals’ University of Phoenix Stadium, on behalf of plaintiffs seeking a refund of over $100 million

  • Represented multiple plaintiffs in a successful 2014 challenge to Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage

  • Successfully defended fiduciary duty and lost profits claims in which plaintiff sought over $40 million, resulting in a complete defense verdict

  • Successfully represented plaintiffs in a partnership dispute, overcoming hurdle created by the lack of a written partnership agreement in winning a $4.5 million arbitration award

  • Arbitrations and trials as lead counsel range from legal malpractice to business sales, complex contract disputes, contempt proceedings, disciplinary actions and fraudulent transfer actions

  • Successfully defended to judgment numerous bankruptcy discharge actions totaling over $30 million and a breach of contract claim exceeding $30 million against a local government

  • Successfully certified class of taxpayers seeking refunds of over $30 million from the State of Arizona

ADR Experience and Qualifications

During the past 25 years, Shawn has conducted over 450 mediations and received over 300 administered and ad hoc arbitral appointments. He is a Fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators and a Charter Member (Arizona) of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals.

The Maricopa County Superior Court has appointed Shawn as special master on several cases over the past five years, and he is an Approved Compensated Mediator for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Arizona.

He has arbitrated under the AAA Commercial, Large Complex Case, Construction and Employment Rules, and ICDR, ICC, JAMS and other dispute resolution procedures.

Shawn has mediated commercial disputes (see representative mediation engagements) involving lenders, borrowers, and guarantors; commercial leaseholders and tenants; business partners, including closely held shareholders, co-venturers, members of LLCs, and family members; residential and commercial construction projects; and claims of breaches of fiduciary duty, unfair competition, fraud, misrepresentation, breach of contract, interference with contract, misappropriation of corporate opportunity, and lost profits.

In addition, Shawn has served as sole arbitrator (see representative arbitration matters) in cases involving business and commercial claims ranging from $200,000 to $100 million and other remedies, including injunctive relief, implied license, and reasonable royalty in matters concerning, for example, sales of businesses; shareholder and operating agreements, especially non-compete, anti-piracy, buy-sell, and similar provisions; crop insurance coverage; insurance agency sales and shareholder agreements; franchise agreements; and construction agreements.

He has served on three-member arbitration panels (frequently as chair) in matters ranging from $10 million to over $90 million in disputes involving, for example, employment, inter-governmental, utility service, real estate development, and other agreements; appraisal and valuation of hotel and other commercial properties and leasehold interests; dissolution of medical, legal and other partnerships; and, investment banking agreements.

Economic Damages. Shawn Aiken has an extensive background, in advocacy and arbitration, in disputes concerning complex economic damages, including:

  • damages models (e.g., but for causation, lost profits, use of funds, loss or destruction of business, present value, and business interruption losses);

  • business and asset valuation opinions and issues (e.g., application of discounts, definitions of value, and income analysis);

  • accounting principles and issues, including analyses of financial statements;

  • economic methods and statistical analyses (e.g., regressions and Monte Carlo methods); and

  • presentations of damages related to claims and defenses concerning loss causation, consequential losses, out-of-pocket costs, mitigation, future losses, and punitive damages.

Special Master. The Maricopa County Superior Court has appointed Shawn as special master on several cases over the past five years.

Writing for Publication

Mediation as a Part of the Construction Claims-Solving Process” (chapter author), Arizona Construction Law Practice Manual, 3rd Ed. 2016, State Bar of Arizona


  • Arizona College of Trial Advocacy (faculty member), State Bar of Arizona, August 2017

  • “Arbitration Talks: Preparing for the Participating in the Arbitration Hearing” (panelist), State Bar of Arizona Annual Convention, June 2017

  • Mediation Panelist, “4th Annual Insurance Law Institute,” State Bar of Arizona, June 2017

  • "'Honey, I Shrunk the Documents': Developing Best Practices for Purchase Agreements that Get Deals Done" (co-presenter), State Bar of Arizona CLE, May 2017

  • “Breaking Impasse in Mediation” (Small Group Discussion), 14th Annual Advanced Mediation and Advocacy Skills Institute, American Bar Association, October 2016

  • "Jurisdiction Shopping, Part II: Is There an App for That? Ajo, Albuquerque or Afghanistan — Does It Make A Difference Where and How We Litigate” (faculty), State Bar of Arizona Annual Convention, June 2016

  • “Innovative Trial Preparation and Presentation: Opening Statements/Closing Arguments” (co-presenter), American College of Trial Lawyers, Phoenix, April 2016

  • “Best Practices in Commercial Arbitration” (webinar co-presenter), American Arbitration Association, April 2016

  • “Neutrals’ Roundtable: Motions and Award Modifications” (panelist), American Arbitration Association, Denver, September 2015

  • “Same Sex Marriage,” Scottsdale Bar Association, July 2015

  • “Risky Business: New Challenges in Real Estate Transactions” (panelist), State Bar of Arizona Convention, June 2015

  • “After the Honeymoon: What’s Next for LGBT Clients?” State Bar of Arizona Convention, June 2015

  • “Research and Investigations: The Arbitrator’s Authority,” American Arbitration Association, September 2014

  • “Ten Worst Mistakes Lawyers Make in Mediation of Litigated Commercial and Business Disputes, and How to Avoid Them” (webinar), ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, June 2014

  • “Ten Worst Mistakes Lawyers Make in Arbitration” (webinar), ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, May 2014

  • “Recent Cases which Govern Drafting an Enforceable Arbitration Clause” (co-presenter), State Bar of Arizona Alternative Dispute Resolution Section CLE, May 2014

  • “Principled Deliberations: Decision-Making Skills for Arbitrators,” American Arbitration Association, May 2014

  • “Native American Sovereign Nations and Arbitration: The Skywalk Case,” College of Commercial Arbitrators 13th Annual Meeting, October 2013

  • “The Litigation Experience,” ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, October 2013

  • Arizona College of Trial Advocacy, Faculty Member and Presenter, 2013

  • Direct and Cross-Examination of Parties and Witnesses,” Arizona College of Trial Advocacy, July 2013

  • “Managing a Successful Arbitration” (panelist), American Arbitration Association University, April 2013

  • “Ten Worst Mistakes Lawyers Make in Arbitration” (webinar), ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, January 2013

  • “Private Arbitration Update” (faculty member), State Bar of Arizona, 2008-2012

  • “Court-Assigned Arbitration: A Step-by-Step Guide Through the Process” (faculty
    member), State Bar of Arizona, 2012

  • “2012 Private Arbitration Update: Advanced Arbitration Practice” (faculty member), State Bar of Arizona

  • “What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate” (panelist), AAA/ICDR Neutrals Conference, March 2012

  • Consolidation of Separate Arbitration Proceedings,” Private Arbitration Update, State Bar of Arizona, 2009

  • The CPA’s Role in ADR,” AICPA National Fraud and Litigation Services Conference, 2008

  • “Civil Litigation Rules and Case Law Update” (faculty member), State Bar of Arizona 2008 convention

  • “Electronic Discovery and Offers of Judgment” (faculty member), State Bar of Arizona Trial Practice Section, 2008

  • “Discovery in Arbitration” (panel member), State Bar of Arizona ADR Section, 2008

  • “Private Arbitration in Arizona,” State Bar of Arizona, 1999

  • Facilitator, State Bar of Arizona Professionalism Course, Arizona Association of Defense Counsel, 1999

  • “Business Tort Litigation” (three-day panel presentation and materials), State Bar of Arizona, CLE by the Sea (California), 1998

  • “Financial Expert Witnesses” (presenter and demonstration), National Litigation Support Services American Educational Conference (Arizona), 1997

  • “Nondischargeability Litigation” (presenter and materials), State Bar of Arizona Eighth Annual Bankruptcy Symposium, 1997

  • “Jury Instructions for Business Cases” (presenter and materials), State Bar of Arizona, CLE by the Sea (California), 1996

  • “Civil Jury Instructions” (presenter), State Bar of Arizona Corporate and Business Litigation Subsection, 1996

  • “Civil Jury Instructions” (presenter), Pima County (Arizona) Bar Association CLE Seminar, 1996

  • Presenter on civil rules, arbitration and professional service to classes at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University