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Hastings Alumni Mag-Fall 2012

F requires taking advantage of every opportu- a successful lifeDonald Franson Jr. ’78,or nity. 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 (pictured at left with a bust of his father), who barely considered becoming a lawyer, much less a judge, until after college. yet he admits the judgeship has suited him better 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 could 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 profes- sors,” says Franson, whose 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 coun- ter in 2004, he ran into california state supreme court Justice Marvin Baxter ’66, who suggested Franson apply for a judicial appointment. Franson hesitated but eventually decided to give it a try. Advice corner gov. Arnold schwarzenegger appointed Franson WHAT ADvICE WoULD YoU GIvE To ASPIrING JUDGES? to the Fresno county superior court in 2005 and the Fifth district court of Appeal in 2010. Don’t burn any bridges. Some lawyers these days act like Franson revels in the freedom judges have to politicians, insulting the other side, writing nasty letters. But seek right decisions “without having a gun to my when you apply to become a judge, those same lawyers will head.” he’s especially proud that he models his be questioned about you. Let’s return to civility in law. 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.” donald Franson Jr. ‘78 ALL IN THE FAMILY uc hAsTings 27


Hastings Alumni Mag-Fall 2012
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