Originally published in the Primerus™ spring 2023 edition of Stare Decisis.
An Arizona native, Aaron Duell grew up in the Valley and found his way to a law degree after briefly considering an engineering career. He joined Burch & Cracchiolo in 2019 to focus his practice on employment law/litigation and commercial litigation. Before joining Burch & Cracchiolo, Aaron clerked for the Honorable Dominic W. Lanza at the U.S District Court for the District of Arizona. Prior to that, he worked at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office as an Assistant Attorney General in the Government Accountability and Special Litigation unit. There, he was awarded the 2017 “Emerging Star Award” for the Civil Litigation Division. Aaron pursued legal action against cities, counties, and towns deemed to have violated state law and the Arizona constitution. In addition, Aaron investigated and prosecuted violations of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act. Aaron is admitted to practice in Arizona and is admitted to the U.S. District Court, District of Arizona.
What led you to become an attorney?
When I first entered college, I didn’t have a clear career direction. I initially considered a degree in business or engineering, but ultimately settled on a double major in political science and history, simply because those majors seemed interesting. During my junior year, I signed up for an undergraduate Constitutional Law class, in which the professor taught the basic theories of constitutional interpretation and how to read and interpret case law. The class was engrossing—I decided during that class that I wanted to become a lawyer so I could interpret legal texts and advocate those positions.
What type of law do you practice?
The primary emphasis of my practice is employment litigation on behalf of employers. Recently, I’ve begun advising employers on ways to avoid litigation, including by revising their employee handbooks. This way, I am assisting employers to implement appropriate policies, procedures, and best practices. In addition, to my employment-law practice, I practice general commercial litigation, which can include contract disputes, construction defects cases, and wrongful death suits.
What do you like most of your practice?
There are two components that I really enjoy about my practice. First, I love the art of persuasion, particularly in motion practice. Attempting to convince a judge that my client’s position (not the opponent’s position) is most supported by evidence and authority is definitely a labor of love for me. Second, I enjoy developing friendly relationships with my clients. When I have a friendly relationship with a client, delivering a great result is extremely satisfying.
How is a normal business day for you like?
My typic business day involves performing various litigation-related tasks, including drafting discovery requests or responses, drafting motions or responses to motions, speaking on the phone to my clients or experts, and reviewing documents produced during discovery. On particularly exciting days, I may have an oral argument or take a deposition.
What do you do to market yourself and your practice?
I’ve found that the most effective way to market myself and my practice is to maintain non-professional relationships with friends and acquaintances. By spending time with people in a non-work setting, they get to know me on a personal level. Inevitably, we discuss our professions and the fact that I’m an attorney. When my friends and acquaintances have a need for an attorney (or their friends or acquaintances have such a need), I’m often the first attorney that comes to mind.
What do you do when you are not working?
When it’s not 100 degrees in Phoenix, I love outdoor activities. One of my favorite activities is hiking the various trails around Arizona. Not only is it fantastic exercise, but it also provides amazing views. Additionally, I love playing sports like basketball and volleyball. Currently, I play in a City of Phoenix softball league with several other attorneys.
What do you like most of the Primerus™ network membership? What Primerus™ events have you attended, if any?
In March 2022, I attended the 2022 Young Lawyers Section Conference, which was my first Primerus™ event. My favorite part of membership in Primerus™ is that I developed friendships with several like-minded attorneys, who are in a similar place in their career as me. Having a network of trusted attorneys across the country is an invaluable asset for me and my clients.