Rachel Schaffer Lawson
Rachel grew up in upstate New York surrounded by entrepreneurs in her family. She’s always had a knack for business concepts and ideas, and was able to pursue these passions through her time at Northeastern University and Loyola University College of Law. In Spring of 2010, she packed up her Ford Focus, took a chance on Nashville, and ended up falling in love with the city. From there, Schaffer Law Firm PLLC was born in 2011 out of Rachel’s one-bedroom apartment, and has since grown to the firm it is today.
With an educational background in entrepreneurship, marketing, music industry, and law, Rachel has channeled her experience into nearly a decade of work at Schaffer Law Firm PLLC, carving out a specific niche in beer and alcohol law.
Family is one of the foundational pillars of Rachel’s life, having grown up surrounded by a large extended family on both sides. Rachel married her husband Tyler Lawson in 2014, and together they have since grown their family to include four dogs, two cats, and their son Declan Joseph Lawson.
Rachel currently serves on the board of directors of East Nasty Running Club, an organization dedicated to making running accessible to everyone.
Rachel’s zeal for entrepreneurship gives her an inherent creativity and interest in trying new things. In addition to spending valuable time with her family and pets, Rachel loves to keep active through a variety of fitness activities as well as home-brewing her own beer.
After interning in Nashville during her time at Loyola University College of Law, Rachel knew she needed to make Music City her permanent home upon graduating in 2010. Though she passed the Tennessee bar exam in Fall of the same year, finding a job in the midst of a recession seemed abysmal. In deciding what her next step would be, she took the leap into starting her own business with Schaffer Law Firm PLLC.
Since the firm’s creation in 2011, Rachel sought to help local lifestyle small businesses that did not seem to get the same amount of love and attention from attorneys and other professional providers as larger high-growth businesses like health care and tech. After helping one of her long-time clients, Bella Napoli Pizzeria, she accidentally found herself assisting them with renewing their alcoholic beverage licenses. She discovered that although it was very complex, she loved helping with the process. When she looked around, she also noticed there were not many other attorneys practicing in this area. From there, she set out to teach herself how to help restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and distributors obtain their beer and liquor licenses.
As Rachel’s client base started to grow, so too did the practice. In 2013 Rachel hired her first intern, Kelcy Morris. Kelcy quickly became indispensable to SLF, and when she passed the bar in 2014 she became SLF’s first associate “minion.” From 2013 to 2017 SLF has seen many wonderful interns – Landon Braezeale, Samatha Sibley and Julianne Lackey. All of them were graduates from Belmont University College of Law. In fall 2017 Rachel brought on the wife of one of her long-time clients as SLF’s first paralegal, Elizabeth Barese.
In 2014, while in the throes of planning her wedding to her soon-to-be husband Tyler, she had a massive lightbulb moment while chatting with a client. Her client asked if she and her fiancée had read any marriage self-help books in preparation for their upcoming nuptials. At the same time, Rachel was counseling several of her clients through some messy business “divorces.” That was when it hit her: Business relationships are just like romantic relationships, just without the sex! With this idea, Rachel’s first book, Marriage Without the Sex was born.
Today Rachel describes SLF as a reverse general practice, providing a myriad of legal services to three specific types of clients: hospitality, nonprofits and small business entrepreneurs. She still maintains her passion and love for the original business idea, and proudly states that SLF works for the “tiny home” of small business; that there is no business too small for SLF.
In spring of 2012, Rachel met her husband Tyler online. They instantly found a connection through their commonalities, including their love for all animals. Many of their pets have been with them from the start, and they are all very much a part of the family. Her and Tyler welcomed their son Declan on January 1, 2016. The decision to have a child while being an entrepreneur has most definitely proved challenging, but Rachel believes it has made her a better business owner and better attorney.
Rachel also remains close to her mother and father as well as her cousins, aunts and uncles. She travels to the Adirondacks in upstate New York every summer to spend time with family in her favorite place on earth, Lake Luzerne, NY.
In Rachel’s “free time” (not so easy to come by when you own a business and are a mom) Rachel loves being active and is an avid runner having completed 8 half marathons, two full marathons and more 5ks than she can remember. She also dabbles in hot yoga, cross fit and rock climbing. Her current obsession is Camp Gladiator. Tyler and Rachel also enjoy hang gliding and both have their Level 1 pilot licenses.
Rachel not only helps people obtain licenses to make and sell beer, but she also enjoys making and drinking beer herself. In an effort to understand her client’s businesses, she started teaching herself how to make beer at home and frequently brews beer for her family and friends to enjoy.