Bolen Fransen Sawyers LLP is a small, highly specialized, transactional law firm located in the heart of California's San Joaquin Valley.
We began with the simple idea that if we always put our clients' interests ahead of our own, all else would follow. We take our clients' problems as our own and aggressively pursue cost effective and practical solutions to those problems. We are honored that so many clients have put their trust in us, and are proud of our reputation for high quality, responsive and ethical representation of those clients. Although our dedication to clients is foremost, our firm is also committed to providing an enjoyable yet challenging work environment for our attorneys and staff, which includes a strong firm-wide commitment to community service. Bolen Fransen Sawyers LLP enjoys the highest possible professional rating ("AV") for quality and ethics, from Martindale-Hubbell.
7405 N. First Street
Fresno CA 93720
More than anything else, we see ourselves as problem solvers. We work with our clients to identify their needs and then look creatively for ways to assist them.
By listening to our clients and working collaboratively with their other advisors, we are able to find efficient and effective solutions.
Our diverse areas of practice include agricultural law, business formations and transactions, commercial lending and borrowing, employment law, estate and succession planning, farm programs, loan restructures and workouts, probate and trust administration, real estate acquisitions, sales and leasing, real estate development, water and taxation. By intention and design, we do not engage in litigation.
Born in Winchester, Virginia, Hal H. Bolen II and his family moved out West, where he eventually attended California State University, Fresno. There, Hal was awarded Bachelors of Arts and Science in Economics and Accounting degrees in 1971 and a Masters in Business Administration in 1973. Hal worked as an accountant during his college years, and upon graduation chose to attend law school at the University of California, Davis, where he served on the Moot Court Board and wrote for and served as Co-Managing Editor of the Law Review. Hal graduated and was admitted to the California Bar in 1976 and returned to Fresno to enter private practice with one of its oldest and largest local firms.
In 1986, Hal accepted the position of Regional Counsel for The Prudential Insurance Company of America's Agricultural Realty Group in Sacramento, serving as the principal attorney in an office whose territory included the eleven western states. When Prudential's management decided that Agricultural lawyers should be relocated to company headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, Hal chose instead to return to Fresno to co-found Bolen Fransen LLP along with Ken Fransen and former partner Donna Boostrom.
Hal's practice focuses on real estate, finance, corporate, taxation and general business. He has taught Business Organizations and Real Property at California State University, Fresno and San Joaquin College of Law and lectures on a variety of subjects frequently.
Finding it difficult to ever say no, Hal has had the privilege of serving on several State Bar committees including acting as Co-Chair of the Legal Services Trust Fund Commission in the years of its formation and following. He has and continues to serve on community Boards and organizations such as The Fresno Business Council, Operation Clean Air, Woodward Shakespeare Festival, Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company, The Fresno Metropolitan Museum, The Lively Arts Foundation, The Ag Lenders Society of California, AgOne Foundation, Fresno Coalition for Art, Science and History, Arts to Zoo Campaign, Fresno County Bar Association and Fresno County Young Lawyers Association.
Hal is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a member of Fresno Rotary.
Should he ever retire from his practice, Hal would likely pursue a second career as rock musician, stage actor or professional soccer player.
Kenneth J. Fransen co-founded the firm in 1987. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Ken arrived in Fresno with his family in 1967 and became a US citizen as soon as he was old enough to do so. He graduated from California State University Fresno in 1974 with a BA in history (summa cum laude), and obtained his JD degree from UCLA School of Law in 1977 (Order of the Coif). Ken is AV Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
Ken handles a wide variety of transactional matters, emphasizing estate and succession planning, business and real estate, water/agricultural law, and aviation law. He loves the challenges and variety that his practice provides. The most enjoyable part of his work is getting to know people, understanding their problems, and working with them to develop solutions. The tougher the problem, the better. He has written articles and spoken widely on estate and succession planning, and on various aspects of agricultural law. He has been an adjunct professor of law at the San Joaquin College of Law.
Ken has been active in many non-profit groups and organizations, and has been president and/or chair of the board of directors of many of them, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County, Fresno Pacific University, his local Rotary club, and Habitat for Humanity Fresno, Inc. He and his wife Carol have been married for over 35 years, and they have three grown children and an ever-increasing number of treasured grandchildren.
UCLA School of Law
Gary W. Sawyers is a partner in the firm. Gary is recognized for his work as a water lawyer, representing agricultural interests, developers, public agencies and other water purveyors statewide on a wide array of water-related matters. He is also recognized for his expertise in agribusiness matters. Gary is regularly involved in water transfers, analysis of water supplies, water banking projects, environmental compliance, as well as a wide range of legislative and regulatory efforts. He has also assisted in the development of numerous fisheries improvement programs throughout the State. In addition, Gary assists privately held businesses of all sizes and publicly traded companies with their transactional needs. His experience includes real estate, leasing, acquisitions and mergers, entity formation and structuring, and commercial transactions. Gary's clients include developers, lenders, farming interests, agribusiness companies, public water agencies and private water companies, and business interests throughout the State. Gary received his undergraduate degree from University of California at San Diego, Revelle College (summa cum laude) and his law degree from University of California at Los Angeles. He is admitted to the California Bar and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a member of the State Bar of California, the Fresno County Bar Association, the American Agricultural Law Association and Phi Beta Kappa. He is an adjunct Professor of Law at San Joaquin College of Law.
Kim Marie Herold is a partner in the firm and she is also the Chief Operating Officer for the firm. Kim specializes in estate and business planning and administration which includes the areas of trusts, wills, durable powers of attorney, trust administration, probate administration, business planning, succession planning and related matters. She has been practicing in this area of law for over twenty years and amazingly still finds it rewarding and challenging. She truly enjoys the special relationships that she has developed with her clients. As an outgrowth of her practice, Kim has developed a wine law practice in the Central Valley.
Kim received her undergraduate degree with honors in economics from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and her law degree from the National Law Center at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Kim has lectured extensively on estate planning and administration topics to attorneys, accountants, insurance agents, financial planners and various local organizations and associations. She has been an adjunct professor in the paralegal degree programs at Fresno City College and the San Joaquin College of Law. Kim is a member of the Trust, Estate Planning and Probate Law Section of the State Bar of California, and the Fresno County Bar Association, where she is a past chair of the Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Section. She is also an officer for the San Joaquin Valley Chapter of Leave a Legacy, a division of the National Partnership for Philanthropic Planning. She is a member of the Clovis Chapter of Soroptomists International.
Kim lives in Clovis with her husband, dog and cat. She has two adult children.
Born in Fairfield, California, but raised here in the heart of the great Central Valley, Elizabeth "Liz" Steinhauer-Clark joined the firm in January of 2000, shortly after being admitted to the California Bar. Liz graduated from the University of Southern California in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts degree (cum laude) in Political Science. After her four years in Los Angeles, Liz packed her bags and left for Sacramento, where she attended the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. In 1999, Liz graduated in the top 5% of her class at McGeorge and in the process earned admission to the Traynor Honor Society and the Order of the Coif.
Liz's practice emphasizes business and tax related matters, with a special interest in agricultural matters. In particular her practice includes business planning (including planning for Bureau of Reclamation and Farm Service Agency matters), land sales and leasing, Bureau of Reclamation and Farm Service Agency program compliance, and representing both landowners and land trusts in the grant of conservation easements.
Liz is a member of the Fresno County Farm Bureau and Fresno County Bar Association (Agricultural Law Section). Liz is also a part of the Fresno County Farm Bureau's Future Advocates for Agriculture Concerned about Tomorrow (FAACT) Leadership Development Class VII for 2009-10.
In their spare time, Liz and her husband Ben are the proud owners of Bright Dawn Ranch, where they tend their herd of pygmy goats, sheep, chickens and ducks.
Gary D. Brunsvik joined the firm in January 2001, after a 20-year career in agricultural lending and appraisal. A member of Phi Kappa Phi, Gary earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agricultural Economics from Brigham Young University, where he graduated summa cum laude. He received his J.D. from San Joaquin College of Law in 2000 graduating second in his class with high honors and was admitted to the California Bar that same year.
While at SJCL, Gary was voted Best Oral Advocate for his efforts on the first place team in the George A. Hopper Moot Court Competition and served as Articles Editor and Managing Editor of the San Joaquin Agricultural Law Review. He is the author of "The Seven Deadly Sins of MSPA Joint Employer Liability: Strict Liability, The Department of Labor's Hidden Agenda!" San Joaquin Agricultural Law Review, Vol.9, page 117, 1999.
Gary currently serves on the Board of Directors of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, is a member of the Ag Lenders Society of California and a former member of its Board of Directors, and is a former member of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. Gary is an active member of the Ag Law Section and the Real Estate Law Section of the Fresno County Bar Association. His practice includes special emphasis in commercial and agricultural lending, real estate lending, real estate, and general business matters.
Mr. Brunsvik and his wife, DeAnn Brunsvik, have six children, two dogs, two acres, and precious little spare time! With two college graduates and four more to come, Gary really needs your business!
San Joaquin College of Law
Lisa A. Cutts joined the firm in August 2011 and began practicing law after being admitted to the California Bar in December of 2011. Her evolving practice includes a wide range of business and real estate services, including entity formation, business transactions, commercial and agricultural real estate purchase and leasing, commercial and agricultural lending, and other transactional matters. She welcomes any challenge!
Lisa earned her B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Fresno, in 1991 and immediately pursued a commission in the California Air National Guard, where she served as the Base Civil Engineer for the base located at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport. After retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel, she received her J.D. from San Joaquin College of Law in 2011, graduating second in her class with high honors.
While at SJCL, Lisa was awarded the "Best Brief" award and "Best Oral Advocate Finalist" for her efforts during the 2009 George A. Hopper Moot Court Competition and represented SJCL in the California Traynor Moot Court Competion. Lisa served as Production Editor (2009-2010) and Editor-in-Chief (2010-2011) of the San Joaquin Agricultural Law Review. She is the author of " Walking On The Wild Side: Classification And Liability For Owners Of Wild-Domestic Animal Hybrids," San Joaquin Agricultural Law Review, Vol.18, page 71, and "What's the Big Deal? The Let-down that is the Landmark Monsanto v. Geertson Case," San Joaquin Agricultural Law Review, Vol.20, page 117.
Outside of the office, Lisa serves as a member of the Supervisory Committee for the Educational Employees Credit Union and as a director of the Ag Lenders Society of California. She is also a Life Member of the Air Force Association, where she has served locally in numerous officer positions, and as a member of the national Board of Directors. She has also previously served as a Trustee of the Aerospace Education Foundation. Lisa is currently a member of the Fresno County Women Lawyers and the Fresno County Bar Association.
Lisa is thrilled to share her life with her husband, Jim Cutts, her adult children Rebecca and Jennifer, and their two dogs and three cats. Lisa enjoys reading, crafting, and home improvement projects in her free time.
San Joaquin College of Law
David E. Holland is of counsel to the firm. Dave has extensive experience working with farmers and agribusiness, public agencies, lenders and developers. He has served as co-chair of the Agribusiness committee of the California State Bar's Business Law Section, and has chaired the Ag Law section of the Fresno County Bar Association. He has worked with water agencies and water users in compliance matters and water transfers. Dave has commented and worked with agency staff on current regulations for both the US Bureau of Reclamation and USDA's Farm Service Agency. He has worked with both lenders and borrowers in loan originations and loan workouts, with a particular emphasis of the complexities of loans to projects that require water supplies. Dave has worked with real estate developers on larger-scale projects requiring water supplies. Dave received his undergraduate degree from University of California at Davis (with honors) and his law degree from King Hall School of Law (UC Davis). He is admitted to the California Bar and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, the U.S. Tax Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a member of the State Bar of California and the Fresno County Bar Association.
Born in London, England, Devika immigrated to the United States with her family in 1999. She graduated from California State University, Sacramento in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree (summa cum laude) in Criminal Justice. After a brief sabbatical, Devika attended the San Joaquin College of Law, and in 2010 earned her Juris Doctor degree with distinction. While at SJCL, Devika earned Witkin Awards in constitutional law, remedies, and legal research and writing and served as a judicial extern for Honorable Gary S. Austin, United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of California. She was admitted to the California Bar in December 2010. Having previously practiced in the areas of juvenile dependency, personal injury and medical malpractice, Devika joined the firm in June of 2014, and concentrates her practice in the areas of real estate, business and water law. She is a member of the Fresno County Bar Association and Fresno County Women Lawyers. In her spare time, Devika likes to read thrillers, exercise her culinary muscles, embroider, and play board games with her daughter.