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Chares L. "Chick" Arnold  

Charles L. "Chick" Arnold

Mental Health Law

Elder Law

Probate and Trust Administration

Guardianship and Conservatorship


Estate Planning and Tax Planning

Long-Term Care Planning

Special Needs Planning

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Chick Arnold bio

"Chick is to the mentally ill of Arizona what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was to African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement."

Video: "We define our practice not by the work we do, but by the people we serve."


For more than 30 years, Chick Arnold has been a forceful advocate for the rights of the elderly and mentally ill. His 1981 class action lawsuit on behalf of Maricopa County's seriously mentally ill population alleged that the State of Arizona failed to fund a comprehensive mental health system as required by state law. In 1989, the Arizona Supreme Court affirmed, in Arnold v. Sarn, that the State had indeed violated its statutory duty. Ongoing compliance with the lawsuit has resulted in additional annual State funding in the hundreds of millions of dollars for the benefit of seriously mentally ill Arizonans. (Read about the final resolution of this issue.)

A Certified Specialist in Estate and Trust Law (Arizona Board of Legal Specialization), Chick chairs the Maricopa County Superior Courts' Task Force on Mental Health Services and is a past chair of the State Bar of Arizona's Elder Law and Mental Health Section. He authored the State Bar's "Arizona Resource Guide for Families of Persons With Serious Mental Illness" (2001) and co-authored the "Arizona Probate Code Manual" (1999). He is a long-time board member of the Mental Health Association of Maricopa County, PLAN of Arizona, Inc., and Mentally Ill Kids in Distress.

In 2013, Chick received the Judge Learned Hand Community Service Award in recognition of his "sustained contributions to the advancement of equality and democratic principles."

Chick is an AV Preeminent rated attorney, signifying Martindale-Hubbell's highest ratings for legal ability and ethical standards. He is a 12-time Super Lawyers selectee.

Honors and Awards

  • Mental Health America of Arizona Hall of Fame, 2017

  • “People Service Action Champion,” PSA Behavioral Health Agency, 2017

  • Arizona Fiduciary Hall of Fame, 2015

  • RISE Lifetime Achievement Award, Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care, 2015

  • Maricopa County Bar Association Hall of Fame, 2014

  • The Best Lawyers in America®: Lawyer of the Year (Phoenix), Litigation - Trusts & Estates, 2012

  • The Best Lawyers in America (Elder Law, Trusts & Estates, Trust & Estate Litigation), 2008-2018

  • Super Lawyers, 2007-2018

  • Arizona's Finest Lawyers (Sustaining Member), 2010-present

  • University of Arizona Law College Association Award for Extraordinary Service to Society, 2014

  • Judge Learned Hand Community Service Award, American Jewish Committee, 2013

  • AV Preeminent® Rating, Martindale-Hubbell

Community Leadership

  • Mental Health Association of Maricopa County: Board of Directors, 1981-Present

  • PLAN of Arizona, Inc.: Board of Directors, 1994-Present

  • Mentally Ill Kids in Distress: Board of Directors, 1998-Present

  • Council for Jews with Special Needs, 1992-1995

  • Governor's Special Task Force on the Seriously Mentally Ill, 1989-1990

  • Task Force for Diversion from Prosecution of the Chronically Mentally Ill, 1986-1989

  • Children's Council for Behavioral Health, 1988-1989

  • Arizona Association of Retarded Citizens: Guardianship Committee, 1984-1988

  • Community Council Task Force on the Homeless, 1985


Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating


Rated by Super Lawyers 

Arizona's Finest Lawyers Foundation

Chick Arnold on KAET's Horizon January 8, 2014

Arnold v. Sarn settlement: Read
about Chick's 33-year legal fight for seriously mentally ill Arizonans

Behavioral treatment article (PDF)

Chick Arnold comments on behavioral treatment in a November 2013 article in the Phoenix Business Journal



Certified Specialist in Estate and Trust Law, Arizona Board of Legal Specialization

Certified Fiduciary, Arizona Supreme Court

Professional Memberships

American Bar Association: Fellow

State Bar of Arizona: Elder Law and Mental Health Section (Past Chair); Probate and Trust Section; Estate and Trust Advisory Council; Committee on Mental Health Services (Former Member)

Maricopa County Bar Association

Task Force on Mental Health Services, Maricopa County Superior Courts: Chairman, 2001-Present

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, 1996-Present

Arizona Fiduciary Association, 1980-Present

Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education: Fellow, 1988-Present

Fiduciary Advisory Committee, Arizona Supreme Court, 1999-2000


J.D., with honors, University of Arizona, 1970

B.S., with honors, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1967