Fredrikson & Byron and New COO, Ann Rainhart, Making Moves in Minneapolis

Fredrikson & Byron has a strong reputation for delivering superior solutions that help clients minimize risks and maximize business results for more than 75 years.

Play Video

Fredrikson & Byron and New COO, Ann Rainhart, Making Moves in Minneapolis

Fredrikson & Byron has a strong reputation for delivering superior solutions that help clients minimize risks and maximize business results for more than 75 years.

Play Video

If you’re wondering how a Midwest law firm distinguishes itself from the pack, just ask Ann Rainhart, recently appointed chief operating officer of Fredrikson & Byron, P.A. The Minneapolis-based regional law firm is located “where law and business meet,” says Rainhart, noting that it serves clients across the U.S. and internationally. 

Fredrikson has been serving clients since 1948, consistently providing trusted counsel and reliable solutions in areas ranging from corporate transactions, litigation, real estate, employment and intellectual property to estate planning, government relations, energy, life sciences and healthcare and beyond. 

The firm’s reputation among attorneys is enviable, with the legal industry’s top talent choosing Fredrikson time and again. 

Rainhart emphasizes that, aligned with Fredrikson’s commitment to talent retention and development, the firm intentionally seeks out workspaces that foster a thriving, dynamic and supportive culture while enabling team members to provide clients with optimal service.

The company also recently announced the election of 33-year Fredrikson veteran lawyer Melodie Rose as the first woman in its 75-year history to become president, a nod to the firm’s commitment to diversity and leadership development. 

In June 2023, the firm moved its headquarters to a 158,000-square-foot space at 60 South Sixth, a KBS office building located on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Rainhart says the relocation supplies a strategic advantage in a highly competitive field. 

We sat down with Rainhart and James (Jamie) Snelson, shareholder and executive committee member, to discuss Fredrikson’s history and values, its recent rebranding, and how 60 South Sixth is the ideal location for the firm to continue its trajectory as a leader in the industry.


Fredrikson & Byron’s strengths are clearly being articulated to the business community and to law professionals. Ann, can you describe for us the moment when you knew that the firm was the right place for you?

Rainhart: I first became aware of Fredrikson’s reputation about a decade ago when I was in a different role at another law firm. We were struggling to recruit junior talent at that firm. The feedback I received from that talent, and I heard it over and over again, was “I’m going to Fredrikson & Byron.”

As I’ve continued to work in the Twin Cities legal environment, the name Fredrikson & Byron has shown up everywhere. For as long as I can remember, I’ve only heard positive things about this firm.

What I always look for in a business is the balance between the needs and wants of the entire team and those of each individual team member in their careers. Fredrikson has been able to get the Venn diagram correct on what is needed firm-wide and how to celebrate individuals throughout their journeys. This is not easy to accomplish. 


Jamie, we know you have been part of this firm for a large portion of your career. What aspects of Fredrikson & Byron are you most proud of today?

Snelson: I’ve been with Fredrikson since the late 1990s, and one of the many attributes I appreciate about this firm is that we’re not afraid to embrace new things. It’s something we have always done. You can connect that concept to all the offices we occupy, including our new headquarters here in Minneapolis.

We’ve thought hard about what to preserve as we evolve and how we best work together, in terms of both our client service and our internal interactions. We understand the importance of maintaining a competitive advantage to attract and retain clients and top talent, as well as the hard work to keep that advantage.


Your company recently rebranded. Can you speak to the overall realignment strategy of this rebranding and how you accomplished it?

Rainhart: Since I hadn’t yet joined the firm for the rebranding, I had the perspective of watching the launch emerge in the marketplace. I tend to be a visual person, and my first thought was that they were really owning who they are. The brand is meant to symbolize strength and entrepreneurship. There’s a uniqueness in how the design has played out, but there’s also a cleanness — the interplay between a law firm’s necessary predictability and the ability to think outside the box. There is a nuance among our different locations, balanced with consistency, which can be difficult to achieve.

Everyone loves our new brand and understands that it truly signifies our firm.

Snelson: So much of the rebranding emerged from what we’ve absorbed collectively over the 75 years Fredrikson & Byron has been in business. This culminated fortuitously in our experience with the pandemic, when we learned the critical importance of getting back in front of our clients again. We have a robust client feedback process, and as we thought about our brand and how we are perceived by our clients, we realized it made sense to rebrand as we made the move to the office at 60 South Sixth. Everyone, clients and personnel alike, has embraced our new brand and understands that it truly signifies our firm.


Ann, you spoke of the relationship between the whole company and each individual team member, which demonstrates that culture is obviously an important focus for Fredrikson & Byron. Can you give us an example of what makes the culture there unique?

Rainhart: I have a passion for helping lawyers and other professionals develop fulfilling careers. I believe we learn by observing others who are further along in their careers while doing substantive work together in a real environment. We advance the most in our careers when we have that type of mentorship.

We have a summer associates program for law students, and this past summer we were in the office with them most workdays, which they really appreciated. They enjoyed the workspace and the opportunities of working in an in-person environment. According to the data coming out now, law students are interested in working in person at least some of the time, so I’m pleased that this has been part of our culture.

For your new headquarters, you decided to stay in Downtown Minneapolis and chose 60 South Sixth. What clinched this decision for you?

Snelson: We have always been in downtown Minneapolis, and we wanted to stay. Our attorneys frequently litigate in court downtown, and this is also a transportation hub close to parking, dining, entertainment, sports venues, and the opportunity to experience different types of arts. Downtown is currently experiencing a renaissance — Ann has been involved in this with the Downtown Council.

60 South Sixth is the perfect location for us. From a practical standpoint, it was difficult to find over 100,000 square feet that we need in many downtown buildings. The landlord and this particular location on Nicollet Mall — a dynamic area — made it a great decision. And the amazing amenities at this property make it really feel like home to us.

Downtown is currently experiencing a renaissance— Ann has been involved in this with the Downtown Council.

Rainhart: My experience with KBS is that they’re just as excited about our space and as eager to get to “yes” as we are, and I appreciate that orientation toward yes. They’ve provided us with several opportunities to use the new brand in building signage, which is something we didn’t experience in our previous Minneapolis office.

Sometimes when you walk into an office building, there’s a disconnect between the lobby and the office space. Here they’re aligned — there’s a flow in form and function from the parking to the building entrance through the lobby and into the office space that’s very positive for us, our team and our clients. 

There’s a welcoming feeling here in that clients and visitors can easily find their way into our space, but it’s also secure. That is not an easy balance to get right.


We know that Fredrikson & Byron is committed to a more sustainable future. What are some of the sustainability features you’ve incorporated into your new space?

Rainhart: Our hospitality center and cafés feature gourmet coffee machines and water filters, and they offer flavored waters on tap. These amenities cut down on the use of paper coffee cups and plastic water bottles, help the team build connections and save money. And all our glasses and cups are Fredrikson branded — another great opportunity to reinforce our brand with employees and visitors.

We’ve also carried our PaperLite initiative into the new space. This transition to primarily digital files began before the pandemic and was accelerated as a result. Since 2021, we’ve significantly reduced the need for paper as well as our physical storage footprint. We shredded over 40 tons of paper, destroying over 60,000 physical files that were either obsolete or scanned and sent over 151,000 files to off-site storage.


Lastly, Fredrikson & Byron clearly has a strong commitment to overall well-being. What can you tell us about the firm’s focus on this commitment and how it translated to the design of your space at 60 South Sixth?

Snelson: We began the planning for our new office space prior to the pandemic, but we always recognized that we must effectively utilize the space to leverage hybrid work, boost collaboration and enhance our workforce’s well-being. The acceleration of in-office work has increased — primarily because of the great collaboration spaces we designed, but also because we’ve brought more natural light into the office. 

There are many design elements that facilitate hybrid work and improve well-being, including our investment in technology, the ability to work in the variety of interesting spaces outside a particular office, the installation of sit-to-stand desks and the great exercise facility in the building.

We also made sure our spaces are welcoming.”

Rainhart: We also made sure our spaces are welcoming. The lobby has a high-end living room feel to it where employees can find spaces to sit down, have a cup of coffee, work on their computers, collaborate, or find a moment of solitude. 

We’ve also been considerate of new parent’s needs — that stage in family life when you’re taking care of a young baby and maintaining a career. It was important for us to be flexible about what people need from both a space and a philosophy perspective. Here we’ve created an inclusive environment where everyone can be as comfortable as possible — regardless of their lifestage. It’s a very human-centric approach.

This approach also translates to the significant amount of glass in our new space, which creates a bright, open feeling and is aligned with our firm’s core value of transparency.

Snelson: We’ve only been in the new space for a short time, but it’s been unusually well received by our team, our community partners and our clients. It lends itself to the type of experience and amenities we wanted to provide for our people, including areas for heads-down work and great spaces for gathering as well as internal and client meetings. It has all worked out really well for us.

Fredrikson & Byron’s successful transition into 60 South Sixth exemplifies the need to offer employees access to redefined office layouts and superior amenities as they return to in-person work. 

The design of Fredrikson’s new space celebrates and supports social spaces that help to build community and allow real-time collaboration in an award-winning building.

Read more
an arrow icon

Sign up for the Premier Magazine and future insight articles

Our biggest stories, delivered to your inbox every day.
By signing up you agree to our User Agreement (including the class action waiver and arbitration provisions), our Privacy Policy & Cookie Statement and to receive marketing and account-related emails from KBS. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Thank you for your interest in Premier Magazine

Thanks for subscribing! Your are now signed up for our Newsletters.