UCHastings Instagram

          #UCHastings #Commencement #UCH15
          Instagram Photo Likes adalbertoc, andrew.m.scott, paris.hayes and 16 others like this.
          Friday, September 28, 2012

          Donald Franson Jr. ’78: All in the Family

          For Donald Franson Jr. ’78, a successful life requires taking advantage of every opportunity.

          That philosophy has led to a host of different chapters in his 34-year legal career. Ultimately, it prompted him to become a judge with California’s Fifth District Court of Appeal—the same position his late father, Donald Franson Sr. ’51, held more than two decades ago.

          Was this part of a strategic father-son plot to dominate the Central Valley bench? Not at all, says Franson, who barely considered becoming a lawyer, much less a judge, until after college. Yet he admits this judgeship has suited him between than he expected and has left him reflecting on the ways his father’s legacy still shapes his practice.

          Franson remembers his father as an esteemed figure in the legal community, the type of judge with whom lawyers would disagree but always respect. When it came time to pick a law school, Franson chose UC Hastings, partly because his father had always spoken highly of the school.

          “My father had told me about UC Hastings’ 65 Club, which hired top faculty after they had been forced into retirement at other law schools. UC Hastings was literally the Who’s Who of law professors,” says Franson, who son, Donald “Ross” Franson III ’11, also attended UC Hastings.

          After graduation, Franson held a wide range of legal positions. Then, sitting at a local lunch counter in 2004, he ran into California Supreme Court Justice Marvin Baxter ’66, who suggested Franson apply for a judicial appointment. Franson hesitated but eventually decided to give it a try. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Franson to the Fresno County Superior Court in 2005, and the Fifth District Court of Appeal in 2010.

          Franson revels in the freedom judges have to seek right decisions “without having a gun to my head.” He’s especially proud that he models his court after his father’s high ethical standards.

          “My dad believed his position as a judge was a sacred trust,” he says. “I guess you could say I try to model myself after him in this way.”

          [ADVICE CORNER]

          What advice would you give to aspiring judges?

          Don’t burn any bridges. Some lawyers these days act like politicians, insulting the other side, writing nasty letters. But when you apply to become a judge, those same lawyers will be questioned about you. Let’s return to civility in law.

          Go to News Archive

          Share this Story

          Share via Facebook
          Share via TwitterShare via EmailPrint Friendly Version

          Other Recent Stories/ RSS

          Friday, May 22, 2015

          Professor Dorit Rubinstein Reiss Assists State Lawmakers With Pro-Vaccine Legislation

          The bill would disallow the “personal belief exemption” from vaccines.
          Friday, May 22, 2015

          Thinkers & Doers: May 22, 2015

          UC Hastings community members in the news and making moves, May 9, 2015 - May 22, 2015.
          Tuesday, May 19, 2015

          UC Hastings Scholarship Repository Open for Exploration

          Travis Emick, Digital Projects & Archives Reference Librarian, discusses the library’s large online collection of approximately 6,000 scholarly, historical and cultural documents.
          Monday, May 18, 2015

          George Takei Headlines UC Hastings 2015 Graduation

          "You will now begin a new life with all of the knowledge that you gathered from your three years here at UC Hastings. You will be prepped for a host of esoteric legal questions, usually in emails from distant relatives," he joked. 
          Thursday, May 14, 2015

          UC Hastings Public Interest Law Foundation (HPILF) Grants 27 Awards

          Student nonprofit funds public interest summer opportunities.
          Go to News Archive