Harold E. Franklin, Jr. is a partner with King & Spalding and practices in the firm’s Tort Litigation Practice, which was selected by The American Lawyer in 2012 as one of the top three in the United States. 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. Mr. Franklin has represented a number of the country’s largest automotive, pharmaceutical, beverage, and package delivery companies and has been actively involved in handling a multitude of matters throughout the continental United States and abroad in “bet-the-company” litigation.
Mr. Franklin has utilized his fluency in Spanish in his law practice in matters in Puerto Rico, Europe and South America. In 2004, he was selected by General Motors 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 has litigated and also managed the defense of a broad array of cases in both federal and state courts across the country and also currently serves as one of two national written discovery counsels for one of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers.
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 for now retired and former Chief Justice Leah W. Sears and also served 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 awards in local, regional, and national trial and appellate competitions, including: Ranked 2nd place in First Year Research, Writing, and Analysis Moot Court Oral Argument Competition; Nominated “Best Oralist” in the 1997-98 Student Trial Lawyer’s Association Trial Competition; Ranked 3rd Place in 1997-98 Student Trial Lawyer’s Southeast Regional Trial Competition; Ranked 1st Place in Preliminary Rounds and National Semi-Finalist in 1999 National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition; and Ranked 2nd Place Regional Finalist in 1999 Jessup International Moot Court Competition.
Recent Litigation Experience
- Served as trial counsel in high-profile product liability case in federal court and obtained favorable settlement on the eve of closing arguments.
- One of two individuals serving as national written discovery counsel for one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers in high stakes “bet-the-company” product liability litigation.
- Representing global automobile manufacturers in high stakes product liability personal injury litigation. Lead and supervise 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.
- 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.
- Served as lead counsel for public sector investigative body in contentious and high profile ethics investigation.
Notwithstanding the demands and rigors of his active and demanding national practice, Mr. Franklin has remained committed and actively engaged in numerous pro bono and community service endeavors in service to the community and bar. At King & Spalding, Mr. Franklin has served on the Hiring Committee and Diversity Committee.
In addition to serving for several years as chair of Gate City Bar Association’s (“Gate City”) Scholarship Committee, Mr. Franklin is the Founder and a Past Chair of the Gate City Bar Foundation, the non-profit arm of the organization. During his tenure as Gate City Bar President, the organization served as the official host the 2007 National Bar Association Convention, which broke all prior attendance and fundraising records.
In 2007, Mr. Franklin founded the Gate City Justice Robert Benham Law Camp (“Law Camp”), the organization’s first institutional outreach program. The three-week long institutional program (a collaborative effort with the Georgia State University College of Law and Clark Atlanta University) is designed to foster and increase diversity in the legal profession by exposing local high school students to the study of the law and career opportunities in the legal profession. The program, currently in its eighth year, has provided over 175 deserving students with extensive exposure to the legal profession. The program continues to garner accolades in Georgia and beyond and was emulated by the State Bar of Georgia, which created a similar program in 2008.
Through his service locally and on the national Executive Board of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Mr. Franklin has worked extensively and spoken through print and broadcast (radio and television) media, both locally and nationally, in connection with the non-partisan Election Protection coalition. In 2008 and again in 2010, Mr. Franklin served as the National Chair of the Election Protection Task Force for the National Bar Association. He currently serves as Regional Vice Chair for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
- American Bar Association
- American Bar Foundation
- Atlanta Bar Association,Board Member At-Board (2007-2011), Treasurer (2012), Secretary (2013), Judicial Tenure and Selection Committee (2007-2010), Membership Chair (2009-2010), Executive Committee (2009 - Present).
- Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers’ Foundation (2008)
- Council on Legal Education Opportunities (C.L.E.O.-- a non-profit project of the American Bar Association Fund for Justice and Education) 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 (Region 11--Georgia, Alabama, and Florida 2008-2009) National Chair, Election Protection (2008, 2010))
- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Board (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)
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. He served as the Keynote Speaker at the 2008 Bench and Bar Reception at the Georgia State University College of Law. In 2009, he served as the keynote Election Protection speaker at the 25th Anniversary Conference of the World Conference of Mayors. Mr. Franklin served as the 2009 Law Day Keynote Speaker at the Georgia State University College of Law, where he gave an extensive lecture entitled A Legacy of Liberty - Celebrating Lincoln’s Bicentennial. He has repeatedly served as faculty for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy for its annual deposition skills program.
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.
Recent Civic/Pro Bono Awards and Recognitions
- Georgia State University College of Law Alumni Achievement Award (2006)
- National Bar Association’s Presidential Award (2007, 2008, 2009, and 2012)
- National Bar Association’s Outstanding Regional Director Award (2008)
- Gate City Bar Association’s Service Award for leadership & service in founding the Justice Benham Law Camp (2009)
- The 2012 Recipient of Gate City Bar Association’s Outstanding Lawyer Award
- A 2012 Recipient of State Bar of Georgia’s Commitment to Equality Award
Recent Professional Awards and Recognitions
- 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.
- Recognized 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 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 by Law & Politics and Atlanta Magazine as a Georgia Super Lawyer who has attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement based on extensive surveys of Georgia Lawyers.
- Recognized in 2011 and 2012 by Legal 500 for his national profile as a litigator.
Mr. Franklin and his wife, Cynthia, are the proud parents of four young children.