Attorney Frederick Schenk, a Carmel Valley resident and partner with Casey Gerry law firm, was elected to serve on the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice (AAJ), the world's largest trial bar.
Schenk has served as president of the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego and was recognized as "Chapter President of the Year" by the Consumer Attorneys of California. Schenk is also past president of the Civil Justice Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization; past president of The Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center; a founding co-chairman of the Cardozo Society of the United Jewish Federation of San Diego; and was vice president of the 22nd District Agricultural Association (Del Mar Fair board).
What brought you to Carmel Valley?
Truthfully, what brought us to Carmel Valley in 1989 was that my wife, Shari, and I were driving around what was then called "North City West" and we got lost. While trying to find our way out of the area, we saw a "for sale" sign on a house and ended up buying it.
What makes the area special to you?
What Shari and I love most about the area is the sense of community it provides. Most of our good friends live in Carmel Valley, and we enjoy being able to visit with them, as well as run into them in the neighborhood.
If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the neighborhood?
I would stop the construction of more housing and make sure the community had adequate entertainment and retail facilities to support those who live here currently. We really do need fewer homes and more retail to support this growing community.
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by people, such as my mother and father who were immigrants to this country from Hungary and adopted it with a great sense of pride. My father was a Holocaust survivor, and his will and determination to survive great hardship has always been my greatest inspiration.
If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom would you invite?
Mine would be an eclectic group. It would include Bobby Kennedy and Mickey Mantle, both of whom were my childhood heroes. I would also invite John Lennon, Paul Simon, Roy Lichtenstein, Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey.
Also, I would probably invite Marilyn Monroe, just to see if the rumors about her and the Kennedys were true. Naturally, my wife, Shari, would be there as well, because if I failed to invite her ... well, that would not bode well for me!
Tells us what you are currently reading.
I just began Ted Kennedy's autobiography. I have read a number of books about his family and am interested in seeing their history from his perspective.
What is your most-prized possession?
I love to collect art, and my favorite objects are those pieces that we have found while traveling.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy going to our home in the desert with both family and friends. I also love to cook for our guests, especially around the holidays. Also, I have been playing racquetball for more than 30 years. I find it to be fun, challenging and exhausting.
Please describe your greatest accomplishment.
During my 30-year career as a trial lawyer, I have enjoyed the privilege of obtaining justice for thousands of people. However, my greatest sense of professional achievement came when I had the honor of providing pro bono representation for a young man who lost his Muslim wife in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center buildings. He was sitting at his desk in his office when we saw the building collapse, knowing that his wife was there. I arbitrated the case in New York and obtained a seven-figure result for him and his late wife's parents.
What is your motto or philosophy of life?
I am not so sure that I have a philosophy, so much as I have a belief in not taking myself too seriously, even though I take my work seriously. I also believe that as parents, we should strive to give our children guidance, love and good memories. Most importantly, I realize that I have been very blessed and it is very important to our family that we give back to the greater community by always striving to help repair the world.