Frazier Takes Charge
As chief operating officer for Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, she's responsible for directing the daily business operations of the law firm and coordinating business planning efforts.
Frazier joined Smith Haughey in January, bringing with her more than 15 years of experience in law firm administration.
Some law firms, like Smith Haughey, are adopting corporate forms of governance with CEOs and the like, and Frazier found that attractive about the firm. She helped develop her own position there as COO.
Frazier had served from 1971 to 1985 as director of the Southwest region for one of the Big Five accounting firms, managing offices in
During her tenure there she was handed responsibility for coordinating outside counsel for a complex legal case the company was involved in. Work on the case extended over 10 years and regularly brought her in contact with a lot of attorneys. She discovered that she really enjoyed working with lawyers, and law firms became the focus for the next leg of her career.
"It's challenging and stimulating. Attorneys have a high degree of confidence. In every law firm there is a culture of individuals that constantly believe they have the right interpretation," she said.
Frazier, who has an MBA from
In 1990, while she was with a law firm in
"None of us knew why and never really found out why we were selected," Frasier said. "We all seemed to come from different backgrounds. There were representatives of courts and all facets of law in the
Frazier and the others spent nearly a year preparing for the visit and took language and protocol courses through the State Department. They spent six months in
More recently, while working for a law firm in
The building her firm was headquartered in also housed a federal bankruptcy court on the 21st floor, she explained.
"When anyone didn't want to go to court or was dissatisfied with the decisions coming out of court, they'd go by and pull the fire alarm, so we were constantly having fire drills. Sometimes people who didn't want to go to court called in bomb threats. In one year we would have five or six fire drills and three or four bomb threats."
She said building tenants were "terribly upset" with security in the building, as well as the fact that building management didn't always inform them when a bomb threat occurred, because the threats had become so routine.
So they assembled a committee that included representatives of every segment of the firm and set about creating a recovery plan that covered every disaster scenario that could possibly play out inside the building. In the event of building damage, they also wrote guidelines for how to "recreate" the firm offsite within 24 hours.
They borrowed the basic disaster recovery plan from the Michigan State Highway Patrol and spent six months customizing it for their own security needs. Frazier invited a representative from Homeland Security to sit in on the meetings, which he did. After they finalized the plan, he had it approved by the agency.
"The city of
Frazier also is a licensed pilot. She flies to various vacation spots and to her family home in
"When I was 16 years old my father took me to the airport and said, 'We're going to learn how to fly.' The purpose was to teach me confidence. I was the youngest of seven children, and he thought anyone who had reached the age of 16 ought to be a pilot. So I became a pilot."
She also has traveled extensively. Next up are visits to
"I have been a person who has been in the right place at the right time. I've had many, many blessings for I don't know what reason," she reflected.
She appears to be energized by her new position at Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge.
"There is always something different or more challenging to do. This is where I want to be right now."