Well-behaved women seldom make history.

-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Cynthia L. Shupe

Cindy Shupe is a recognized thought leader in regional and national forums on employee benefits law and tax issues.

Throughout her career as an ERISA attorney, she has gained significant experience in helping large employers that are going through an Employee Plans Team Audit (EPTA) by the IRS. Cindy also assists organizations in specialty areas, such as ESOPs, multiemployer pension plans, nonqualified deferred compensation, controlled group issues, and the tax-efficient disposition of significant employee benefits upon death.

Cindy views her work as an ERISA attorney as a big, complex puzzle. In the design, implementation and regulation of pension and 401(k) plans, executive compensation plans, welfare plans, and benefits issues in mergers, acquisitions and other commercial transactions and the like, clients rely on her to complete the complex task of sculpting a solution out of numerous disparate elements and problems. Yet, Cindy takes great satisfaction in molding those foundational blocks into a creative resolution, and she often hears clients say: “You made that look so easy.” An art history major in college, the law has allowed Cindy the opportunity to be a lifelong learner: thinking, working and powerfully writing with no confusion or ambiguity.

Outside of her work as a Phoenix-based ERISA attorney, Cindy enjoys cooking with her family and adding to her collection of cookbooks. When she really needs to escape, she indulges her long-time love affair with Martha’s Vineyard, where she keeps a sturdy Cape Cod home.


  • J.D., magna cum laude, Boston College Law School
  • B.A., magna cum laude, Syracuse University
  • Executive Editor, Boston College Review

Areas of Practice

We represent national, regional and local clients participating in significant transactions.

We advise and defend management in virtually all aspects of the employment relationship.

We offer more than 100 years of experience in advising clients on all aspects of employee benefits law.

We represent clients in federal and state income, and estate, trust and gift tax matters.

We have one of the largest trusts and estates legal practices in the Southwest. We will work closely with you to protect your assets.


  • Estate Planning
  • Private Client and Wealth Preservation

Awards and Honors

  • Best Lawyers in America®, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 1999-2020
  • Chambers USA, Leading Lawyers for Business, 2019
  • Best Lawyers®, Lawyer of the Year, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2014, 2017
  • Arizona's Top Lawyers, Employee Benefits and Insurance, 2014
  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated (the highest rating available), by Martindale-Hubbell

Articles And Presentations


  • Fellow, American College of Employee Benefits Counsel
  • Chair, Pacific Coast IRS TE/GE Employee Benefits Council
  • Member, ESOP Association
  • Member, Maricopa County Bar Association
  • Member, State Bar of Arizona
  • Member, Section of Taxation, American Bar Association
  • Past Member, Board of Trustees, All Saints' Episcopal Day School
  • Past President, Maricopa County Chapter, Arizona Women Lawyers’ Association


  • Arizona