Shanna Schulze brings business and cultural diversity to Shumway Van as a seventh generation West Texas rancher, former sports apparel business owner, wellness advocate, and attorney. Mrs. Schulze gained significant legal experience by developing and growing Massage Heights Franchising’s legal department as its Corporate Counsel, and later, doing the same for TGP Franchising (The Gents Place franchise brand).
Through Shumway Van, Mrs. Schulze continues to provide these franchise brands, as well as others, corporate and franchise-related legal services. Additionally, Shanna is the Executive Director of So Live, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to conquering cancer and promoting a higher quality of life. She takes pride in her country roots and city branches and is always willing to take on new challenges.
What was your route into franchise law?
While awaiting my Texas Bar Exam results, I accepted a temporary Summer position as a Legal Assistant at Massage Heights Franchising, LLC, a franchisor. Their in-house paralegal was overburdened, and it was my intent to assist her for a few months while gaining insight into a corporation’s legal needs. Initially, I was not aware of the vast distinction between corporate and franchise law, but I quickly learned. Upon receiving my law license, I immediately stepped into the role as their Corporate Counsel. My experience was simultaneously focused on both corporate and franchise legal duties, and both became a passion of mine.
What attracted you to corporate law and the franchising side in particular?
As a former business owner and entrepreneur, I have an innate love and understanding for business development. There was no doubt that I wanted to practice corporate law to help other businesses grow. However, as implied above, my induction into franchise law was somewhat accidental. Stepping into the Corporate Counsel role for a franchisor allowed me to learn not only the niche legal world of franchising, but it also taught me the ins and outs of the franchise industry as a whole.
What services do you and Shumway Van provide for people in the franchise industry?
Although my personal services are limited to transactional law only, the franchise attorneys of Shumway Van represent both franchisors and franchisees, providing transactional and litigation services. On behalf of our franchisor clients, we provide annual regulatory compliance services, as well as ongoing corporate and franchise legal services. For our franchisee clients, we provide legal counsel in connection with the acquisition of a franchise, sale of their franchise, and/or the operations associated with their franchise.
What affords you most satisfaction about your work?
Playing a vital role in the development, growth, and/or repair of a business is by far the most rewarding thing about my practice. I love meeting new people and learning about their organization and the passion that drives them; then helping them achieve their goals by providing specialized knowledge and experience in both law and business.
What aspect of your work offers the greatest challenges?
Often, business professionals that are new to the world of franchising have inadvertently conducted business in a way that has violated a franchising or business opportunity law or has placed their franchise business in a position of unnecessary risks. Sometimes it can be quite challenging to develop a legal strategy (after the fact) to protect their brand while simultaneously educating the business professional on their infractions.
How do you think other people would describe you?
I would hope that whether one is a friend, family member, or client, they would describe me as a determined, diligent, and passionate individual. Furthermore, I would hope to be described as an open-minded and diverse person, empathetic and interested in all views and beliefs in this world. I would also hope that my immense love for life and living life to the absolute fullest would be contagious and impossible to overlook when being described.
What’s the next step in your career?
Up next on the horizon, I will continue connecting with franchisors and franchisees across the Nation, expanding our franchise portfolio. Additionally, I plan to develop a Shumway Van office in the Austin, Texas area, continuing to regionally spread our “big firm” services for a reasonable “small firm” price. Also, I have recently joined the Board for the nonprofit organization, Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts, where I will be able to assist in the growth of its pro bono legal and accounting services to artists in Texas.
If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
I believe everything that unfolded was necessary with purpose. However, if I could do anything differently, it would be to do it all without any form of stress or anxiety. Looking back, it’s now easy to see that everything worked itself out, even better than I could have imagine. So, if I could have set aside any discomfort when stepping into the unknown with greater faith and gratitude, I could have been enjoying my sense of peace a little earlier in life.
How do you relax?
There is nothing more relaxing than nature. One of my favorite ways to relax is to simply be outside, ideally in the country and near a body of water. Additionally, my love for horseback riding, dancing, practicing yoga, and a nice glass of wine all bring a sense of relaxation in their own unique ways. Finally, when possible, I enjoy receiving therapeutic massages.