UCHastings Instagram

          The McAllister streetscape project concludes with a great day of tree planting! Nearly 100 volunteers gathered to plant 50 trees and two small urban gardens in over 30 locations throughout the #Tenderloin earlier this month.
          Instagram Photo Likes wxhx, ayosh27, its_yayasworld and 19 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

          Wednesday, July 01, 2015

          Thinkers & Doers: July 1, 2015

          UC Hastings community members in the news and making moves, June 20, 2015 - July 1, 2015.
          Tuesday, June 30, 2015

          Angela Bruno '07 Wins Landmark Case Against TGI Friday’s

          She and her husband formed a personal injury firm for trial cases that is proving successful.
          Tuesday, June 30, 2015

          Alumni Win Big in NBA’s 40 under 40 Awards

          Andrew Houston ’07, Bari Williams ’08, and Kasheica McKinney ’08 selected for the award.
          Wednesday, June 24, 2015

          State Budget Keeps Fees Flat, Funds Long-Range Campus Plan

          Enacted budget provides sufficient funding to allow UC Hastings to maintain student fees unchanged for the 4th consecutive year; Appropriates $36.8 million to construct a new academic building at 333 Golden Gate Ave; Authorizes use of private donations to supplement the state’s appropriation for building enhancements so as to fully leverage the opportunity to create a “top of class” facility commensurate with the college’s stature and prominence.
          Wednesday, June 24, 2015

          Academic Chairs Awarded to Four Faculty Members

          UC Hastings is pleased to announce Professors Field, Keitner, Reiss, and Short have all been appointed to new or existing faculty Chairs.
          Go to News Archive