Fran Cole

franFran Cole, currently a partner in Diamond, Baker, Mitchell, LLP is an experienced business transactions attorney, with over thirty years of experience negotiating, preparing and managing contracts and financing structures for individuals, corporations, joint ventures, partnerships and other types of organizations.  She has practiced business law in-house and in law firms and served as Chief Counsel, Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc. and Senior Vice President of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. in San Francisco.  With a range of clients from start-up entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 corporations, Fran advises clients in corporate governance, capital and business formation, leases, mergers and business acquisitions, business litigation, due diligence, commercial transactions, securities law compliance, investment management and other areas of regulatory law. She is interested in the growing area of cannabis law compliance and brings an extensive business transactional background to that area of practice.  Fran is pragmatic in approach, advising clients creatively on how to achieve their goals.  Fran is a tireless advocate for “plain English” and understandable legal documents.

Fran also devotes considerable energy to helping our community, advising a number of local nonprofits as their legal counsel and serving on several   boards of directors. She is former President and is now on the Board of Directors of Bear Yuba Land Trust, and she has served or is currently serving on the boards of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition, Gold Country Trails Council, Nevada County Digital Media Center.  She is a Commissioner on the Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission, Co-chair of the League of Women Voters Programs Committee and a member of both the Pines to Mines Trail Planning Group and the Nevada County Biomass Task Force.

Fran, a ranchwoman and animal lover, was the first dog walker volunteer at the Sammie’s Friends animal shelter.  She rides and shows Tennessee Walking Horses with her daughters and fights against abuse of that breed by unscrupulous trainers.  Fran is also an accomplished accordion player.


California State Bar Association (1984)


BA -  (1976)  University of Vermont, BA Political Science

J.D. – (1980)  University of Virginia School of Law


The Charles Schwab Corporation in San Francisco, CA

Chief Counsel, Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc.

Senior Vice President, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.

  • Member of the SchwabFunds Senior Management Team with significant expertise in the federal and state registration and regulation of investment management and pooled investment products. Assets under management grew from $1 billion to over $200 billion during this period, and the number of fund products increased from four to over sixty.
  • Advised boards of directors and trustees of investment funds, investment advisory firms and publicly traded corporations.
  • Prepared and maintained corporate records and acted as corporate secretary.
  • Prepared and negotiated proposals and business agreements for domestic and international transactions.  Managed outside law firms providing legal services and other vendor relationships and vendor agreements.
  • Prepared registration statements for securities offerings, exemptive orders and no-action letters as required under federal, state and international securities laws.
  • Strong commitment to technology and automation. Spearheaded development of online paperless board meetings and supervised development of a customized prospectus automation software program.
  • Supervised a due diligence team that evaluated the operational and systems controls of other investment firms and acquisition candidates.
  • Named 1999 Compliance Professional of the Year by Fund Compliance Reporter.

Equitec Financial Group, Inc. in Oakland, CA from 1987-1991

Vice President and General Counsel of Equitec Siebel Fund Group and Senior Counsel of Equitec Securities Company
Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe in San Francisco, CA, Associate Attorney from 1984-1987

Frost and Jacobs in Cincinnati, OH, Associate Attorney from 1980-1983


President of the Bear Yuba Land Trust from 2011-2012 and a Director from 2006-2013 and 2014-present. Member of its Fundraising and Investments Committees and Chair of its Investments Committee from 2006-2009.  Chair of its Governance Committee from 2006-2009 and at present.

Director of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition and Vice President and Chair of its Governance Committee from 2012-2015.

Director of the Gold Country Trails Council from 2014-present.

Director and Secretary of Nevada County Digital Media Center (Nevada County Television) from 2015-August 2016.

Member of the Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission from August 2015-present. Promotions Director from January 2016-present.

Director of the Excelsior Foundation from 2014-present. 

Director of the Tennessee Walking Horse Foundation from 2010-present. President from 2016-present.

Member of the Nevada County League of Women Voters 2015-2017 Parks and Recreation Study Team and currently, its Co-Chair for Programs.

Co-organizer of Nevada County One Billion Rising from 2013-2015, an event designed to increase community awareness of domestic violence.

Organizer of the 41 Horses 2015 Fundraiser for Sammie’s Friends Animal Shelter, which generated over $23,000 for the care of equines in Nevada County.

Member of the Nevada County Biomass Task Force from 2014-present.