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2018 Trusted Advisers Attorney: Richard Schnake

Neale & Newman LLP

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Last edited 3:59 p.m., Sept. 12, 2018

Richard Schnake quickly moved up the ranks at Neale & Newman LLP, where he’s been a legal force since 1983.

He was named partner five years into his now 35-year career at the Springfield law firm.

Practicing in what he calls the niche areas of appeals and intellectual property, Schnake says he gauges success by how well his clients trust him. Key to that, he says, is being a friend.

“I want to know them as people, as individuals, not merely as names and faces behind legal issues and problems. Trust is built, first and foremost, on relationships,” Schnake says. “My clients know that I always tell them the truth, even when they do not want to hear it, and always advise them as to what I believe is in their best interest.”

Since beginning his legal career, Schnake says he’s handled more than 225 cases in appellate courts and worked on more than 330 federal trademark applications.

Intellectual property clients, he says, primarily are seeking trademarks, but also copyrights.

He tries to be proactive, reviewing his clients’ websites and advertising to make sure they are protecting all of their intellectual property.

“My work has added untold thousands of dollars in value to clients’ businesses over the years by identifying and protecting their intellectual property assets and by stopping infringers from watering down or destroying them,” Schnake says.

One intellectual property client is Darrell Henley, who made Schnake general counsel for his various attraction endeavors, including Bigfoot on the Strip in Branson.

“My partners and I always prefer to be proactive rather than reactive,” Henley says. “Mr. Schnake is the perfect fit for our needs.

“We trust him completely and listen even when it’s not what we want to hear.”

Schnake’s hard work has paid off.

His individual annual billings the last three years have fluctuated between $385,000 and $467,000.

Schnake says he keeps up with his clients beyond typical work hours.

“They know I work hard to weave through sometimes difficult facts, sometimes difficult law, in order to achieve the results that they want,” Schnake says. “I explain the law and the advantages and disadvantages of different courses of action, answer their questions and help them to make informed, wise decisions.”

He’s been named among the Best Lawyers in America since 2016, among the Missouri-Kansas Super Lawyers for multiple years and has been honored in Marquis’ Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.

Schnake’s also active in the community, most noticeably with the Betty and Bobby Allison Ozarks Counseling Center, for which he’s been a 31-year board member.

He provides legal advice as necessary and, for 16 years, chaired the fundraising committee that organizes the nonprofit’s signature event, Not So Newlywed Game.

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