Schuelke Law - January 2022

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January 2022

One of My Biggest Legal Honors 2020’s Scott Ozmun Trial Lawyer of the Year Recipient

As children, we are often presented with many opportunities to win an award or trophy. Whether it’s winning the spelling bee in school or winning the championship with a Little League team, there’s no shortage of chances for kids to win some hardware. As we age, there are fewer of these opportunities. It can take a lot of dedication and luck to be recognized with an award in the professional community. This past November, I was shocked and humbled to receive the 2020 Scott Ozmun Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association. You’ll notice it’s the 2020 award, not 2021, since it was delayed due to COVID-19. This award is handed out every year to an outstanding attorney for their commitment to the law, their clients, and public service. There are a few different components that help the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association decide who wins the award. The first is, of course, being a good lawyer. I have had the wonderful privilege to work with so many people and help them through some incredibly difficult times. It’s been an honor to serve and fight for the people in our community and get them what they rightfully deserve. The other major component is a dedication to the community and public service. I have long believed that we have a duty and obligation to serve our communities. When handing out the award, there were several different things the presenter noted. In

the legal field, I was the past president of the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association and have been on the executive committee for several years since then. The presenter also noted that I was one of three founders and served on the board of a nonprofit legal clinic that provides free and low-cost services to immigrants and immigration services. Additionally, the group noted work done outside the law. I have helped lead a project through our church where we adopted a low-income school in east Austin. We do a lot for this school, but one of the biggest things is book distribution. Over the years, we have distributed over 50,000 books to students at the school. I have also served as a mentor in the Seedling Foundation for nearly 13 years, which is a local nonprofit that provides mentors to students whose caregivers are incarcerated. I have been working with my current mentee, a high school junior, since he was in pre-k. It’s a huge honor to be named Trial Lawyer of the Year, especially since the award is named after Judge Ozmun. Judge Ozmun was such a giant in our field and served as a role model for many. He fought for the underprivileged in our community and the courtroom. I’m extremely lucky to consider him a friend and a colleague. It’s a humbling experience to win this award and join a long list of distinguished winners. It’s also an incentive for me to keep up the hard work, in the legal community and beyond, to help uphold Judge Ozmun’s legacy. “This award is handed out every year to an outstanding attorney for their commitment to the law, their clients, and public service.”

-C. Brooks Schuelke | 1

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How Much Are Your Favorite Pants Worth? One Man Estimated His at $54 Million

Everyone knows that the perfect pair of pants can be hard to come by, but are they worth $54 million? Administrative Judge Roy L. Pearson had a favorite pair of pants, but in 2007, he claimed that Custom Cleaners lost them and returned a completely different pair instead. It all began when Pearson took his pants to the Washington, D.C., dry cleaners for alterations worth $10.50. The pants were sent in error to the incorrect dry cleaner, so Pearson’s pickup was delayed by several

though, was the company’s failure to live up to their “Satisfaction Guaranteed” and “Same Day Service” signs in the window.

The media had a field day, joking about the case as a “pantsuit” and inspiring a “Law & Order” episode called “Bottomless.” Pearson seemed to relish the spectacle, calling his lawsuit “an awesome responsibility” in court and breaking down into tears on the stand. He also called a witness who compared the Chungs to Nazis. Even though the Chungs offered him a $12,000 settlement to make the case go away, Pearson persevered. He ultimately lost his case. At the end of the trial, the judge declared that no reasonable person would consider the signs at Custom Cleaners to be an unconditional promise — and also that Pearson had failed to prove the returned pants weren’t his. The Chungs ultimately recovered their court costs via a fundraiser, and Pearson lost his judicial appointment. Unsurprisingly, this prompted another lawsuit, which he also lost. In 2020, Pearson was suspended from practicing law for 90 days as a result of his actions in Pearson v. Chung . But for bringing new meaning to the phase “I’ll sue the pants off of you,” his place in legal history is secure.

days. Once the pants were returned, despite bearing all the correct tags and matching his receipt, Pearson declared that the pants were not his. When the dry cleaner refused his demand for $1,000 compensation, he decided it was time for legal action. Pearson originally sued the cleaner’s owners, Soo Chung, Jin Nam Chung, and Ki Y. Chung, for a whopping $67 million in damages but later reduced the claim to a far more reasonable $54 million. In his suit, Pearson requested $3 million for mental distress, $90,000 for a rental car to visit another dry cleaner, and $500,000 in attorney’s fees (Pearson represented himself). At the heart of his claim,

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a gift or a card to show you’re thinking about them. These gifts cost resources, but as Newswire reports, multiple studies show that customer gifts increase retention. Invest in retention tools. Staying in touch with your customers is the best way to keep them happy and remind them that you care. You can stay on top of this by doing the hard work of reaching out personally each month, but it’s easier and more efficient to invest in recurring communications like automated weekly emails and regularly printed newsletters. Make personalization possible. In order to retain customers, you must build quality relationships with them. This starts with knowing who they are, what they need, and how they interact with your company and your marketing. To figure out those key points, you should gather and interpret a lot of data, both online and off. You can do some of this data-gathering and calculating yourself (for example, you might consider calculating the lifetime value or LTV of each client), but hiring a third-party data analytics company will help you take your retention marketing to the next level. SAS, Alteryx, Kissmetrics, and InsightSquared are great options for small-business owners. Hire (or create) a retention expert. If you truly want to maximize your retention, you need to make it an integral part of your team’s marketing approach. Investing in specialized training for

your team is one way to do this. But you can also hire a retention expert or shift one of your existing team members’ roles to focus exclusively on managing and retaining clients. Yes, hiring is expensive, but remember — increasing customer retention by just 5% can increase profits by as much as 95%. That new team member will pay for themselves in no time! Retention marketing mindset shifts will be game- changers for your company. You can start with one of these tips or dive into all of them. Whatever feels right for you, if you try these ideas, it won’t be long before you’ll see the difference in your bottom line.

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Like the Panama Papers released in 2016, the Pandora Papers published in October 2021 expose the financial secrets of some of the world’s wealthiest people. In particular, they detail how the very rich use offshore finance to hide the extent of their wealth.

But what exactly is offshore finance? Why do people use it? Is it even legal to use?

Offshore finance gets its name from the island and coastal locations where the practice of creating foreign tax havens originated. Today, offshore finance refers to any financial instruments or assets kept in countries that are not the owner’s country of residence.

What do you get when you mix a cookie and a doughnut? A portzelky! This traditional Mennonite “New Year’s cookie” is perfect for sharing. DEEP-FRIED NEW YEAR’S ‘COOKIES’

When an offshore account is created, it follows the financial regulations of the nation in which it is held. Countries commonly used for offshore finance often have stricter

privacy laws and allow the creation of shell companies. Shell companies are organizations that exist on paper only, without employees or offices, but act as a legal “shield” against taxation and creditors. (At least 19,000 shell companies exist in the Cayman Islands alone.) Simply having an offshore bank account or shell company is not illegal or even necessarily a sign of nefarious activity. Lawyers and accountants who deal in offshore finance often know exactly how to use the law to their clients’ advantage. They can also propose solutions that are technically legal. But concerns arise since the countries chosen to hold wealth offshore tend to prevent foreign governments from inspecting their accounts; this makes legal vetting next to impossible. A lack of transparency is the main point of contention, and it’s the reason why many people look at offshore finance negatively. Because the U.S. government cannot determine which assets are being held offshore, it cannot impose any taxes on them. Some parties also view hiding wealth offshore as a way of protecting a person’s assets from civil lawsuits, creditors, or investigations in the owner’s home country. It’s estimated that over $1 trillion is held in offshore accounts, and studies indicate that the bulk of this money is owned by the ultra-wealthy. Further, experts believe that the tax revenue lost to offshore finance equals about $800 billion per year worldwide. As to whether or not the Pandora Papers will inspire changes to the law, we’ll just have to wait and see.


• 2 tbsp yeast • 1/2 cup water, warmed • 1/2 cup and 1 tsp sugar, divided • 5 eggs, beaten • 1/4 cup butter, softened

• 2 1/2 cups milk, warmed • 1 1/2 tsp salt • 4 cups raisins • 7 cups flour • 4 cups canola oil


1. In a large bowl, combine yeast, water, and 1 tsp sugar. Wait 10 minutes. 2. Stir in remaining sugar, eggs, butter, milk, and salt. 3. Fold in the raisins and flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for an hour. 4. In a high-sided pot or deep fryer, heat canola oil to 340 F. Line a plate with paper towels. 5. Drop a rounded tablespoon of dough into the oil. Fry until golden brown, then set aside on the plate. Poke the cookie with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, it’s cooked through! 6. Repeat until the batter is gone.

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3011 N. Lamar Blvd., Ste. 200 Austin, TX 78705


One of My Biggest Legal Honors

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The Case of the $54 Million Pants

Deep-Fried New Year’s ‘Cookies’ Offshore Finance 101

6 Retention Strategies That Actually Work

Stop Losing Clients Today! 6 Ways to Rethink Your Retention Marketing

Retention is crucial to your business. According to Investopedia, acquiring a new client can cost five times as much as retaining an existing one. And if that doesn’t convince you, research from Bain & Company and the Harvard Business School both show that a 5% increase in customer retention can boost profits by as much as 95%.

If you don’t have appropriate retention strategies in place, 2022 is the perfect time to make a change! Here are six ways to completely rethink your retention marketing that will save your team time and money. Reallocate your resources. Don’t just talk the retention talk — walk the walk! In order to truly change your company’s ways, you need to invest in retention and reallocate your resources. Provide your team with additional training on customer service. Important points to emphasize for retention (per Forbes magazine) include frequent and friendly customer communication, transparency, active listening, and the value of relationship-building. Create a fund for customer perks and gifts. Celebrating your clients allows you to give them attention when they might appreciate it most. If you know a customer who recently had a baby or is going through a difficult time, consider sending

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