Charles W. Wirken
Charles (Chas) Wirken’s extensive appellate experience coupled with his expertise has earned the respect of his peers and appellate judges, as indicated by his election as a Fellow in the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, inclusion in Best Lawyers in America® in the Appellate Law category, and listings in the Appellate practice category of Southwest Super Lawyers® and among Arizona’s Finest Lawyers.
Having briefed and argued more than 160 appeals involving a broad range of cases and issues in both state and federal appellate courts, Chas has become a valuable resource to trial lawyers inside and outside of Gust Rosenfeld. He has served as a judge pro tem of the Arizona Court of Appeals and co-founded the State Bar Appellate Practice Section. A true “lawyer’s lawyer,” Chas regularly shares his knowledge with other lawyers as a faculty member of the State Bar’s Appellate Practice Institute.
In 2009, Chas successfully petitioned the United States Supreme Court to hear the case of United Student Aid Funds, Inc. vs. Espinosa. He was the primary draftsman of the briefs that led to a favorable decision that settled the procedural requirements for the discharge of student loan debt in bankruptcy cases. During the Court's 2015 term, Chas argued the case of Howell v. Howell.
The other focus of Chas’s practice is the resolution of business disputes. He has tried a wide variety of commercial disputes to judges and juries in state and federal courts. He has a national reputation for the litigation of cases involving franchises, dealers, distributors and licensors. Since 1980, Chas has represented both franchisors and franchisees from various franchise systems, in contract, business tort, intellectual property and government regulation disputes typically encountered by such clients. Chas was recently named among the Top 100 Lawyers in Arizona and as the Best Lawyers® 2016 Franchise Law Lawyer of the Year for Phoenix.
Chas brings to his advocacy the perspective of years of experience as a judge pro tem of the Maricopa County Superior court and as a former arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association. As President of the State Bar of Arizona, Chas promoted the revival of the Arizona College of Trial Advocacy, where he annually serves as a faculty member. In recognition of his trial skills, Chas was elected as a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.
In 2013, Chas was elected to membership in The American Law Institute, the leading, independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize and otherwise improve the law. In recognition of his many contributions to the law and justice in Arizona, Chas was recently inducted into the Maricopa County Bar Association Hall of Fame.
Chas is AV® Preeminent™ rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, representing the highest rating in legal ability and ethical standards.
University of Arizona (B.S. Business Administration, 1972)
University of Arizona College of Law (J.D. 1975)
U.S. Supreme Court (1980)
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth, Tenth and Federal Circuits
American Bar Association
Member, Forum on Franchising
House of Delegates, 2010-present
Member, Council of Appellate Lawyers
American Academy of Appellate Lawyers
American Law Institute
Arizona Court of Appeals (judge pro tem, 1984-85, 1992-94, 1998-99)
Maricopa County Superior Court (judge pro tem, 1986-present)
American Arbitration Association (Panel of Arbitrators, 1986-2005)
State Bar of Arizona
Board of Governors, 1995-2006
Executive Council, Appellate Practice Section, 1995-2002
Chair, Trial Practice Section, 2001-2002
Chair, Civil Practice and Procedure Committee, 2006-2007; Member, 1977-2003 and 2006-present
Member, Client Protection Fund Board of Trustees, 2008-present
Chair, Discipline Oversight Committee, 2002-2004
Maricopa County Bar Association (President, 1989-1990)
East Valley Bar Association (President, 1979-1980)
In re the Marriage of Howell v. Howell, 238 Ariz. 407 (2015)
Price v. City of Mesa, 236 Ariz. 267, 339 P.3d 650 (App. 2014)
Weitz Co., LLC v. Heth, 235 Ariz. 405, 333 P3d 23 (2014)
In re Estate of Gardner, 230 Ariz. 329, 283 P.3d 676 (App. 2012)
Sourcecorp, Inc. v. Norcutt, 229 Ariz. 270, 274 P.3d 1204 (2012)
In re Estate of Olson, 223 Ariz. 441, 224 P.3d 938 (App. 2010)
United Student Aid Funds, Inc. v. Espinosa, 559 U.S. 260 (2010)
In re Hamm, 211 Ariz. 458, 123 P.3d 652 (2005)
Pleak v. Entrada Prop. Owners' Ass’n, 207 Ariz. 418, 87 P.3d 831 (2004)
Maricopa County v. Barfield, 206 Ariz. 109, 75 P.3d 714 (App. 2003)
Mealey v. Arndt, 206 Ariz. 218, 76 P.3d 892 (App. 2003)
White Mountain Apache Tribe v. Smith Plumbing Co., Inc., 856 F.2d 1301 (9th Cir. 1988)
Henderson v. Duncan, 779 F.2d 1421, 3 Fed.R.Serv.3d 1547 (9th Cir. 1986)
Smith Plumbing Co., Inc. v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 149 Ariz. 524, 720 P.2d 499 (1986)
Campbell v. Westdahl, 148 Ariz. 432, 715 P.2d 288 (App. 1985)
Birds Int'l Corp. v. Arizona Maint. Co., Inc., 135 Ariz. 545, 662 P.2d 1052 (App. 1983)
Harris v. Arizona Bd. of Regents, 528 F. Supp. 987 (1981)
Nelson v. Cannon, 126 Ariz. 381, 616 P.2d 56 (App. 1980)
Matter of Chase’s Estate, 125 Ariz. 270, 609 P.2d 85 (App. 1980)
Mesa Rotary Club (former president)
Mesa United Way (former campaign co-chair)
Arizona Town Hall (delegate)