ALISON W. MILLER:
Helping Businesses Achieve Their Goals
IN A CHANGING WORLD, ALISON W. Miller is a model of stability. She’s worked at the same law firm since 1976 — the year she married her husband. For 34 years, Miller has balanced her law career as a shareholder at Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A. in Miami, with the demands of raising three children. “Between work and family, my life is pretty busy,” says Miller. “Fortunately, I love what I do.”
As head of the firm’s corporate and securities practice, Miller has advised public and private companies in all aspects of business law. Her experience includes securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, and securities reporting and compliance. She’s also a member of the executive committee, helping to guide the firm’s growth.
Miller is a Miami native who attended Sunset Elementary and graduated from Coral Gables High. “My mother was a teacher who raised her daughters to believe that we should all have careers when we grew up,” Miller says. “I always knew that I was going to be some type of professional.” After earning a degree in political science at University of Florida, Miller found her calling. “I like people and solving their problems, so the law was a natural choice for me.”
After graduating with a law degree from the University of Chicago, she came to Miami and joined her current firm. “At that time, Stearns Weaver was a small, relatively young firm,” she says. “We all worked on everything together. Over time, I developed more of an interest in corporate securities work, so that was a natural evolution in my practice.”
Meanwhile, she and her husband Joe Bolton, managing partner at Shutts & Bowen, were raising three children: an attorney, a prospective doctor now in medical school and a high school student. In the community, Miller has served on the board of the Daily Bread Food Bank, was a former director of United Way of Miami-Dade and remains active in the Nature Conservancy. She frequently lectures on topics relating to securities law, acquisitions, compliance and accounting topics.
In her legal career, Miller has represented clients in many industries, including banking and financial services, pharmaceuticals, and hospitality. She served as corporate and securities counsel for BankAtlantic Bancorp, IVAX, Levitt Corporation and numerous NASDAQ listed companies.
Miller has extensive experience in connection with both friendly and hostile mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and “spin-offs.” She has also acted as issuer’s and underwriter’s counsel in connection with offerings of equity, debt and trust-preferred securities.
“Compliance is always an important issue in securities matters,” says Miller, citing the many issues arising from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and heightened corporate governance rules. “It seems like the regulations change daily, and it’s important to keep up with what’s happening in Washington, New York and Tallahassee.”
Reflecting on her career, Miller says she is proud that Stearns Weaver today has more women lawyers than other firms in South Florida. “At the time I started out, most law firms did not hire women attorneys, let alone have women partners,” she says. “Now, I’m proud of all the smart, great lawyers in our firm — including those who happen to be women.”
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