• vcard
  • Education
    • J.D., University of Texas School of Law, 2001
    • M.A., Vanderbilt University, 1998, Delta Phi Alpha Honors Society
    • B.A., Tulane University, 1995, Honors, Phi Beta Kappa, Mortar Board National Honors Society
    • Study Abroad, Paris-Sorbonne University
    • Study Abroad, Lessing-Kolleg, Marburg, Germany
    • Study Abroad, University of Leiden, The Netherlands
    • Study Abroad, Fulbright Education Exchange Program, Vienna, Austria

As chair of Polsinelli’s International Trade and Customs practice, Michelle Schulz advises clients on a multitude of international trade and customs filings, audits, government investigations and public policy matters. Michelle is a nationally recognized leader in her field, serving as a senior trade advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative on the Industry Trade advisory for Aerospace. She routinely advocates for exporters and importers in federal investigations, fines and penalties, audits, disclosures, export licensing and other international trade-related matters. Michelle focuses on regulatory compliance and enforcement under U.S. law applicable to exports and imports.

Michelle regularly represents Fortune 500 manufacturers, distributors and defense contractors in a wide variety of industries such as  aerospace, electronics, software and encryption, oil and gas, medical devices, and automotive.  Her broad experience includes matters related to defense exports and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), dual-use exports and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), import duties and tariff reduction, Section 301 and 232 tariff exclusions, e-commerce, exports in services, anti-boycott, anti-bribery, Buy America, Customs clearance, foreign investments and the Committee on Foreign Trade Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), establishing and auditing Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZs), free trade agreements, international contracts, sanctions and embargoes, and trade data reporting to the U.S. Census Bureau (Census).

As corporations expand globally through acquisitions, mergers, joint ventures, and complex corporate transactions, Michelle focuses exclusively on regulatory compliance and enforcement to help keep business practices above board. For corporate, supply chain, and other aspects of international transactions, she partners with Polsinelli counsel focused on those areas to provide practical, end-to-end solutions.

Michelle also advises on compliance and enforcement matters under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). She is experienced in negotiations with enforcement officers and avidly works to limit risks and improve client compliance.

Michelle served on the President’s Export Council Subcommittee on Export Administration (PECSEA) under the Obama administration, serving six full years in this appointed position. She worked closely with the US Department of Commerce to reform the export laws and regulations to relax requirements for US companies that export.  She is also the Past Chair of the International Law Section for the State Bar of Texas (2017-18). Michelle is a frequent speaker in the international trade compliance community, presenting on international trade topics at professional conferences worldwide.

  • Prepared and filed multiple export voluntary disclosures resulting in no penalties under the US Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), BIS, and US Census Bureau 2020-21.
  • Prepared and filed multiple import prior disclosures involving substantial duty loss, resulting in no penalties under US Customs 2020-2021.
  • Conducted international trade due diligence reviews in acquisitions of companies in medical, high tech, and defense industries in 2020-21.
  • Developed strategic plan for medical imports for newly formed global joint venture.
  • Advise non-profit in global in-kind donations.
  • Received OFAC approval to collect past debt of $17 million from Venezuela.
  • Successfully obtained export licenses for drones and aircraft.
  • Resolved Customs Focused Assessments with no penalties.
  • Resolved FCPA matter with DOJ with no penalties.
  • Developed and implemented practical Technology Control Plan (TCP) for Fortune 100 company, including cloud export compliance procedures.
  • Managed routine encryption export reporting and licensing processes, filings, and deadlines for large technology developer and seller.
  • Represented US seller in US Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry (BIS) Special Agent outreach site visit.
  • Advised non-US auto manufacturer on US sanctions compliance on a regular basis.
  • Completed nine-month secondment to aircraft manufacturer to manage import and export compliance team projects.
  • Conducted on-site export compliance training for Fortune 100 company, with focus on technology exports.
  • Conducted on-site import compliance training for importer/manufacturer, including Customs valuation and classification, record keeping, disclosures, risk assessment, and enforcement.
  • Guided Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) manufacturer in auditing of Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) export data and continuous improvement of Export Management and Compliance Program (EMCP).
  • Promptly represented distributor in unscheduled BIS Special Agent site visit.
  • Guided several large corporations through Cuba export sanctions compliance and export licensing processes under BIS and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations.
  • Collaborated with Mexican trade counsel to reduce Customs tariffs for US seller through strategic sourcing and corporate structure under maquiladora, or IMMEX.
  • Worked closely with Canadian trade counsel to guide US company through Canadian Customs valuation processes.
  • Coordinated with corporate counsel in People’s Republic of China (PRC) to structure market entry into China for large US corporation.
  • Prepared, filed, and closed out numerous voluntary self-disclosures with no penalties under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR).
  • Revised Manufacturing Service Agreement (MSA) to incorporate import and export compliance terms.
  • Audited third-party logistics company (3PL) for trade compliance prior to its acquisition.
  • Developed and maintained classification database for service provider over several years. 
  • Developed classification database for electronics distributor.  
  • Prepared Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) application and represented client in C-TPAT verification.
  • Completed audit of US foreign-trade zone (FTZ) for compliance in inventory controls, security, and other areas.
  • Drafted Import Compliance Procedures and Export Management and Compliance Procedures for small, medium, and large companies in aerospace, technology, electronics, drones, satellites, food and beverage, textiles, retailers, auto manufacturers and distributors, military equipment, and other areas.
  • Prepared, filed, and received approval for OFAC license for certain exports to Iran.
  • Vetted Russia shipments regularly to ensure compliance with Russia sanctions under OFAC.
  • Advised non-US financial institution on implementation of procedures for OFAC sanctions compliance.
  • Prepared and filed exclusion applications under Section 301 tariff lists.
  • Represented client on site at Customs Prior Disclosure validation with focus on valuation.
  • Established bonded warehouse for logistics provider.  
text icon Publications & Presentations
Speaker, ICPA Conference, San Diego
July 26, 2021
text icon Publications & Presentations
Co-Presenter, ACI Virtual Passport Series on the ITAR, Brokering and License Exemptions
April 22, 2021
text icon Publications & Presentations
Speaker, ICPA ITAR Conference, Fort Worth
April 15, 2021
text icon Publications & Presentations
Speaker, ICPA Spring Conference, San Antonio
March 30, 2021
text icon Publications & Presentations
Speaker, ICPA Spring Conference, San Antonio
March 30, 2021
text icon Publications & Presentations
Speaker, ICPA Spring Conference, San Antonio
March 29, 2021
text icon Publications & Presentations
Panelist, ICPA Spring Conference, San Antonio
March 29, 2021
text icon Publications & Presentations
March 28-31, 2021
text icon Publications & Presentations
Supply Chain Risk Management
Speaker, 2020 ICPA Fall Conference & Valuation Seminar
September 15, 2020
text icon Publications & Presentations
Speaker, 99th Annual AAEI Conference
September 1, 2020