Akerman Strengthens Dallas International Trade Team
Summary: A team of five joined Akerman’s Government Affairs and Public Policy Practice Group in Dallas.
Akerman LLP is continuing to expand its presence in Texas by adding a team of five lawyers and business professionals to their international trade group. The team is led by Michelle Schulz and Elsa Manzanares, who will be partners in Dallas. They join from Gardere where Schulz and Manzanares were co-chairs of the International Trade Group. Also joining the group are practice group attorney Kim Carlson, senior trade advisor Troy Shaffer and trade analyst Matthew Savage.
Richard Spees, chair of the Government Affairs and Public Policy Practice Group, said, “Our trade clients are operating in a world with ever-changing enforcement policies and regulations. Michelle and her team are exceptional professionals who help clients navigate the most complex aspects of international trade, advocating for exporters and importers in U.S. government investigations, fines and penalties, adults, disclosures, transactions and other trade matters.”
Akerman has nearly doubled its headcount in Texas in the last year-and-a-half. Within the Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio offices there are now 54 lawyers and business professionals. Dallas office managing partner Charles Townsend added, “We are excited to welcome Michelle’s team and have them be a part of our ongoing expansion in Dallas where we are rapidly growing in each of our client sectors. We are building an exceptional team in Dallas that mirrors Akerman’s core strengths and plays a central role in the continuing success of our clients.”
Schulz is a senior advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative on the Industry Trade Advisory Committee for Aerospace where she also chairs the Export Expansion Subcommittee. She works with Fortune 500 clients in various industries such as aerospace, oil and gas, defense contractors, and manufacturers and distributors.
Manzanares is a former in-house counsel that has worked with clients on U.S. and international regulations over the import and export of goods, services, software, and technology. She has focused on minimizing trade and corruption risks for buyers or sellers in international transactions.
Carlson advises importers and exporters against inquiries and penalties by the government. Since 2008, she has been a licensed customs broker. Shaffer has 29 years of experience in federal law enforcement assisting domestic and foreign corporations with U.S. export regulations, export compliance programs, audits, voluntary disclosures and corporate training programs. He was a senior special agent for the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry & Security. Savage helps foreign and domestic corporations with U.S. import and export regulations and compliance, global logistics, and procurement support.