[FEATURE] Adam Trenk, Rose Law Group partner and director of Equine Law, talks riding, real estate and career successes

Adam Trenk

Rose Law Group Reporter

We had the opportunity to speak with Adam Trenk, Rose Law Group partner and director of Equine Law, for our continuing Q&A series, giving insight into our fun, hard-working RLG team. Beyond his work in Arizona, Adam was recently approved for admission to the Kentucky Bar Association with his swearing-in coming soon.

We hear you’ve made partner at Rose Law Group. First off congratulations. Can you tell us about what being a partner means to you?

Being invited into partnership at the Rose Law Group is perhaps the greatest honor I could receive. It is intensely validating to know that my friends and mentors at Arizona’s most dynamic law firm hold me in the same professional esteem, as I had for them since the start of my career here eight years ago. I am proud to ride for this brand, RLG!

Not only do you ride and own horses, you practice Equine Law. From what we’ve seen, there aren’t many attorneys doing the type of work you do for your clients. Can you tell us about what types of services horse owners and industry professionals need?

Equine law is a broad term for legal work that relates to horses, equestrians, or the equine industry as a whole. Thus, under the umbrella of Equine Law, there are any number of things the horsemen and women of Arizona may need my services for. I regularly deal with civil matters arising out of the purchase or sale of a horse. I help property owners secure zoning approvals and land use entitlements that allow them to conduct equine or other agricultural businesses thereon. In some cases, I help obtain agricultural property tax status and zoning exemptions for larger operations. I am here to help new entrants to the equine industry incorporate and structure their businesses, and long-time professionals restructure when necessary to keep pace with today’s economy. I draft liability waivers and write contracts of all kinds including those that document the breeding, boarding, leasing, or training of horses.

We hear you’re a resident of Cave Creek and you were Vice Mayor. Can you tell us about that? What was one of your greatest successes during your tenure?

That story is going to be the subject of a book one day, and there is an awful lot to tell you. The short version is, I was first elected to the Town Council in 2009 and served one term as a councilman. It was frustrating being one of seven votes, and I accomplished little other than proposing an ordinance banning fireworks to protect the wildlands from burning. I did not run for re-election in 2011, and before running again in 2013, I worked to recruit other like-minded candidates. Ultimately, we won a majority, but the local newspaper publisher, who had established the political order there swore he would throw us out before we were even sworn into office. In the next two years, we restructured the Town’s government. We fired the Town Manager, introduced new management and maintenance policies for the operation of the towns water and wastewater systems, restored livestock privileges to over 200 non-conforming residential lots, passed laws reducing clutter in the town core, started a feud with Scottsdale over the phrase the “West’s Most Western Town” to stir up some press and drive tourism dollars to our local businesses, held weekly office hours to address citizen concerns, and so much more. We did all this while fighting against the establishment who was determined to restore the old guard by running two recall efforts against us and filing multiple frivolous lawsuits. It was an exciting time, but I am glad it is behind me now, I don’t know how I had the energy for it.

We’ve heard exciting things about the work you did in New York for a helicopter tourism company, and the non-profit you created, Helicopters Tourism & Jobs Council (HTJC). We’ve also learned through the agency you negotiated with the City of New York to keep helicopter operators in the air. Can you tell us about the biggest challenge you dealt with making this happen?

This could fill another volume, haha! When DeBlasio was elected Mayor, he energized the air tour industry opponents, and there was a big push to shutter that industry. The biggest challenge in resolving the controversy for me was managing the personalities of our membership, our public relations consultants, and our lobbyists at both the state and City level all while pursuing the objective. Every day it seemed like there was another fire, because in New York, as you might imagine, no one really “takes it easy,” even though everyone loves to tell you to “take it easy.” Ultimately the deal resulted in a new lower cap on operations in exchange for an extension on the operating permit issued by the City. I think my local political experience in Cave Creek helped prepare me for the challenges of the HTJC exercise.

We also hear you do a lot of work in real estate; can you tell us the type of work you do for your clients? Can you tell us a challenge you’ve faced and a success?

I do a lot in the real estate realm, but the lion’s share is the preparation or review of leases along with purchase and sale contracts. However, as I said when we talked about equine law, I have been involved in a number of land use and zoning matters. Some of the most challenging work I ever did was at the start of my career when we were looking to secure a special use permit for a medical marijuana dispensary. The neighbors came out in force against it; I think largely because they misunderstood the concept, and we had to work with policymakers to help them get over the opposition. It was like trying a case in the court of public opinion.

Now for the fun part, we hear you’ve been taking roping lessons, how’s that going? What do you like to do in your free time?

The roping lessons are going great. I have been team roping with Mike Beers, who is a world champion more than 20 times over, and it is a skill I have always wanted to have. Other than that, in my free time, I mostly work the horses I have, either in the arena or on trails. I like nothing more than being out alone or commiserating with a few close friends while riding through vast open country and having the soundtrack of the birds and my horse’s hooves hitting the ground playing in the background.

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February 2019