DALLAS – Polsinelli has added five professionals to its top-ranked Global Franchise and Supply Network practice, which has experienced significant growth since its creation at the firm last year.
The new hires include the following shareholders: well-recognized franchise practitioner Jan Gilbert, who joins Polsinelli’s Washington, D.C., office, and Michelle Schulz, who joins in the Dallas office and will serve as chair of the firm’s International Trade and Customs practice. Also joining are franchise shareholder Diana Vilmenay, in the Washington, D.C., office and Luis Arandia, Jr., a Dallas-based associate in the practice. Matthew Savage also joins the firm’s Dallas office as a trade analyst.
“Each of these professionals brings critical perspectives, unique experiences and valuable services to our practice, which will directly benefit our industry-leading domestic and multi-national clients,” said Joyce Mazero, co-chair of the firm’s national Global Franchise and Supply Network practice and a shareholder based in Polsinelli’s Dallas and Denver offices. “We expect the dynamic combination of our existing franchise transactions and litigation practice with the exciting work being done in international trade and customs and franchising by our new team members will vigorously move us forward as we continue to expand our footprint to better serve our clients wherever they do business.”
Polsinelli’s Global Franchise and Supply Network practice is distinguished by its professionals, whose reputation as counsel for clients in domestic and international franchise, distribution, manufacturing, licensing, purchasing and international trade transactions has propelled Polsinelli to the preeminent position in the franchise business and legal world particularly in the restaurant, foodservice, education, logistics, transportation, fitness and retail industries.
Members of the group have been top-ranked with repeated honors from Chambers USA, Chambers Global and other organizations. Each of the practice’s attorneys was recognized earlier this year by Franchise Times Magazine on its prestigious 2019 Legal Eagles list. Members of the practice have also served in numerous leadership positions with the International Franchise Association (IFA) and National Restaurant Association (NRA), including practice co-chair Joyce Mazero’s current service as a member of the IFA International Committee and NRA Executive Supply Chain Advisory Board, and practice co-chair Len MacPhee’s current service as a member of the IFA Convention Planning Committee and vice-chair of the IFA’s upcoming 2020 Legal Symposium.
“We are excited to welcome these distinguished professionals to Polsinelli and leverage their collective diversity of experience to best advise and guide our clients in complex franchising, supply chain and international trade matters,” said Chase Simmons, chairman and CEO of Polsinelli. “Since its establishment last year, the Global Franchise and Supply Network practice has had tremendous success. These key additions underscore our strategic emphasis on building up our service offerings in the space.”
With more than 30 years of experience, Gilbert has counseled both start-up and developed franchisors and franchisees on all aspects of domestic and international franchising. He has advised clients on structuring franchise programs, federal and state regulatory issues, mergers and acquisitions, franchisee compliance issues, drafting franchise- and distribution-related agreements, negotiating domestic and international agreements and disputes, obtaining exemptions and interpretive opinions from regulatory agencies, responding to state and federal administrative inquires and investigations, and establishing franchise advisory councils and cooperatives.
Schulz is a nationally recognized leader in her field and currently serves as a senior advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative on the Industry Trade Advisory Committee for Aerospace. For almost two decades, she has advised Fortune 500 clients on a multitude of international trade and customs audits, government investigations and public policy matters, counseling clients in a diverse array of sectors such as oil and gas, aerospace and automotive, and representing manufacturers, distributors and defense contractors. In her new role as chair of Polsinelli’s International Trade and Customs practice area, Schulz will guide the Polsinelli team in helping clients with the tools and information they need to seamlessly and profitably market their products and services in markets worldwide.
For over a decade, Vilmenay has counseled clients on domestic and international franchise matters. She has experience working with both start-up and established franchisors to expand their franchise systems in the U.S. and in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and South America. Vilmenay counsels clients on a variety of franchise matters, including structuring franchise programs for growth domestically and abroad, mergers and acquisitions and franchise compliance issues. She is regularly involved in reviewing and negotiating all forms of commercial agreements.
Arandia represents clients in a wide range of domestic and international franchise, supply chain and distribution matters. His practice focuses on customs laws and export controls, representing importers and exporters before several government agencies, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Commerce, Department of State, and other agencies regulating international trade.
Savage provides strategic solutions on matters related to import and export regulations, international supply chain, procurement support and global logistics, including compliance in disclosures, import audits, procurement compliance, valuation, assists, free trade agreements, import and export documentation requirements, and classification determinations. He works with clients in diverse industries such as oil and gas, cosmetics, aerospace, international automobile sales and manufacturing.
Polsinelli is an Am Law 100 firm with more than 850 attorneys in 22 offices nationwide. Recognized by legal research firm BTI Consulting as one of the top firms for excellent client service and client relationships, the firm’s attorneys provide value through practical legal counsel infused with business insight, and focus on health care, financial services, real estate, intellectual property, middle-market corporate, labor and employment and business litigation.