“When I was growing up, I loved jigsaw puzzles. For me, transactional work, in particular, is like putting together a very good puzzle,” says Mary Ann Frantz, leader of the securities practice team at Miller Nash Graham & Dunn in Portland.
Frantz is a fourth-generation lawyer, a tradition that began with her great-grandfather, who practiced law in Terre Haute, Indiana. Her grandfather was dean of Indiana University Law School in the 1950s, and Frantz’s father practiced at Foley & Lardner in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
“I decided to be a lawyer when I was about 10,” says Frantz.
“As a child, I never knew exactly what my father did, except that he talked on the phone all the time. As I got older, business and corporate law interested me. I believe writing well is one of my strengths, so it seemed a natural progression. When drafting contracts, for instance, avoiding ambiguities in the language can help the client avoid later disputes, and in my own practice, the documents I prepare for filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission are expected to be clear and understandable. I take pride in making disclosure documents readable and investor-friendly.”
One of the firm’s—and Frantz’s—major clients in Portland is Craft Brew Alliance (“CBA”), which was formed through a merger between Seattle’s Redhook Ale Brewery and Portland-based Widmer Brothers Brewing Company. Frantz represented Widmer in that merger, and the firm has continued to represent CBA since then. Frantz regularly assists CBA with its securities and corporate work and assisted with CBA’s 2010 acquisition of Kona Brewing Company in Hawaii.
“My firm clients have given me the opportunity to work on interesting transactions and have enabled me to have a fulfilling career,” notes Frantz. “Among other things, it has been my pleasure over the years to assist many banking institutions on their M&A transactions and securities offerings and compliance.”
In her free time, Frantz has served on several nonprofit boards and as leader for her two daughters’ Girl Scout troops. She was elected this spring to serve as board chair of the Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington. In addition to this year’s award, Frantz has been voted a Portland “Lawyer of the Year” in previous years for securities regulation (2012), securities/capital markets law (2013), and banking and finance law (2014).