Harold E. Franklin, Jr. is a partner with King & Spalding and practices in the firm’s product liability practice that was selected by The American Lawyer in 2012 as one of the top three in the United States and by Chambers USA each year since 2005 as one of the best in the country. Having joined the firm in 2000, Mr. Franklin’s national litigation and trial practice focuses heavily on complex and high-stakes product liability litigation and has also included business disputes and internal investigations. He has represented a number of the world’s largest automotive, pharmaceutical, beverage, tobacco, and package delivery companies and has litigated and managed the defense of a multitude of matters throughout the continental United States and abroad in “bet-the-company” litigation. He has also utilized his fluency in Spanish in his law practice in matters in Puerto Rico, Europe and South America. Two of his recent trials include a high-profile automotive case and a tobacco suit, the former of which was selected and featured in 2014 by the Daily Report’s “Litigation Department of the Year” award publication.
In 2004, Franklin was selected by an international Fortune 500 corporation to serve as in-house counsel for the corporation’s product litigation group. In his role as in-house counsel (while on-loan from King & Spalding), he was responsible for selecting and retaining outside counsel and managing complex automotive product liability litigation across the nation. He was also selected by one of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers to serve as one of its national written discovery counsel.
Mr. Franklin also serves as President of the Atlanta Bar Association, the largest voluntary bar association in the Southeast United States.
Mr. Franklin is a 1990 graduate of Emory University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Spanish. After Emory, Mr. Franklin served as Vice President for an insurance brokerage firm specializing in group benefit plans for many of the nation’s leading insurance companies. Mr. Franklin received his Juris Doctor from Georgia State University School of Law in 1999. During law school, he served as a Student Judicial Clerk to the Supreme Court of Georgia and also as a judicial extern with the Federal Reserve Bank. In addition, he studied international law in the 1997 Transnational Comparative Dispute Resolution Program at the law school at Johannes Keppler University in Linz, Austria. While in law school, Mr. Franklin received a host of awards in local, regional, and national trial and appellate competitions.
Examples of Mr. Franklin’s Litigation Practice
- Served as trial counsel in two high-stakes product liability cases, both of which resulted in complete defense verdicts;
- Served as trial counsel in high-profile automotive product liability case in federal court and obtained favorable settlement on the eve of closing arguments;
- Served as one of two national written discovery counsel for one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers in high stakes “bet-the-company” product liability litigation;
- Represented global automobile manufacturers in high stakes product liability personal injury litigation. Led and supervised defense of automobile manufacturers in cases (individual and consolidated actions) involving the designs of air bags, roofs, seat belts, steering, brakes, throttle control systems, and overall vehicle structure;
- Deposing fact and expert witnesses in complex product liability actions across the country and arguing evidentiary, substantive, procedural motions, dispositive and pre-trial motions;
- Worked from abroad by playing active role in time sensitive and highly complex corporate internal investigation (in Spanish) of European energy company after it restated its oil and gas reserves. Provided analysis of numerous corporate governance issues;
- Represented global beverage company by conducting review and analysis of trial and appellate court records (in Spanish) involving licensing agreement dispute between various distributors and sub-licensees in South America;
- Represented global manufacturer in depositions (in Spanish) in complex product liability action. Prepared analysis of deposition proceedings, directed negotiations and secured global settlement;
- Served as lead counsel in providing advice and counsel to one of the world’s largest manufacturers by conducting comprehensive review and analysis of document retention policies and associated records retention schedules and providing recommendation regarding policy implementation throughout engineering and manufacturing functions within the corporation;
- Served as member of King & Spalding team that is serving as national coordinating counsel and trial counsel in product liability litigation involving antidepressant medication, including in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Mass Tort Program, ranked number one in the American Tort Reform Association’s 2010 list of “Hellhole Jurisdictions.” Led and managed numerous case teams in all aspects of fact and expert discovery, including the depositions of fact witnesses, medical doctors, and expert witness preparation; and
- Served as lead counsel for public sector investigative body in contentious and high profile ethics investigation.
Recent Professional Awards and Recognitions
- Recognized in 2006 by Georgia Trend magazine’s Legal Elite as a leading lawyer in his practice area;
- Ranked in 2006 and 2007 by Law & Politics and Atlanta Magazine as a Rising Star;
- Ranked in 2007 and featured on the cover of the Fulton Daily Report as one of the top 15 lawyers in Georgia under the age of 40;
- Named a Georgia Super Lawyer in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 by Law & Politics and Atlanta Magazine, as an attorney who has attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement based on extensive surveys of Georgia Lawyers; and
- Recognized by Legal 500 for his national profile as a litigator.
- American Bar Association;
- American Bar Foundation;
- Atlanta Bar Association, President (2015-2016); Executive Committee (2009 - Present); Board of Directors (2007-2015), Treasurer (2012), Secretary (2013), Judicial Tenure and Selection Committee (2007-2010), Membership Chair (2009-2010);
- Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers’ Foundation (2007-2008; 2015-2016);
- Council on Legal Education Opportunities - 40th Anniversary Program, Atlanta Chair (2008)
- Gate City Bar Association - President (2007); Historian (2009-2011); Founder and Chair, Justice Benham Law Camp (2007-Present);
- Gate City Bar Foundation, Founder, Chair (2006, 2008);
- National Bar Association - Board of Governors (2007-2008); Regional Director (Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, 2008-2009) National Chair, Election Protection (2008, 2010);
- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law - Board of Directors (2007-Present); Regional Vice Chair (2010-Present);
- State Bar of Georgia (Children and the Courts Committee (2010-Present); Georgia Diversity Program Committee (2000-Present);
- Defense Research Institute (DRI);
- International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (2008-Present);
- International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC);
- 2010 Just The Beginning Foundation Conference (of Federal Judges) - National Chair of Programs Committee;
- Leadership Atlanta - Class of 2012;
- Truancy Intervention Project Volunteer (2000-Present), Executive Board (2010-Present);
- National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), Faculty for annual deposition skills program; and
- Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC) – Member (2014 – Present).
Mr. Franklin has lectured locally and nationally on both legal and pro bono related topics ranging from evidentiary issues involving product liability law, to deposition strategy/best practices, to Voting Rights and Non-Partisan Election Protection initiatives, to Ethics in the legal profession. Keynote speaking engagements include: 2008 Bench and Bar Keynote Speaker at the Georgia State University College of Law; 2009 Election Protection Keynote Speaker at 25th Anniversary Conference of the World Conference of Mayors; and 2009 Law Day Keynote Speaker (A Legacy of Liberty - Celebrating Lincoln’s Bicentennial) at the Georgia State University College of Law.
In 2009, Mr. Franklin was selected by the Georgia United States Congressional Delegation to serve on a 13 member Federal Judicial Advisory panel to the delegation regarding Presidential appointments to selected judgeships on the U.S. District Courts, U.S. Attorneys, and U.S. Marshals in Georgia.
Mr. Franklin and his wife, Cynthia, are the proud parents of four young children.