Founding Partner at Lightfoot Franklin & White in Birmingham, Alabama, Samuel H. Franklin, was elected as President-Elect of the American College of Trial Lawyers and will take over as President later this year. Mr. Franklin has served on the Board of Regents of the American College of Trial Lawyers from 2009-13, as Secretary for 2014-2015, and as Treasurer for 2015-2016. The American College of Trial Lawyers is composed of the best of the trial bar from the United States and Canada and is widely considered to be the premier professional trial organization in North America. Founded in 1950, the College is an invitation only fellowship. The College maintains and seeks to improve the standards of trial practice, professionalism, ethics, and the administration of justice through education and public statements on important legal issues relating to its mission.
Mr. Franklin was admitted to the Alabama Bar in 1972. He was one of the founding partners of this firm in 1990. He is a native of a small town in South Alabama (Brewton). He is married and has two daughters, two grandsons, and one granddaughter.
Mr. Franklin graduated, with high honors, from Auburn University in 1969 and received his law degree in 1972 from the University of Alabama School of Law. He was a member of the Alabama Law Review, serving as Managing Editor during his third year of law school, and was Order of the Coif. He then received his LL.M Degree from Harvard University in 1973.
During his 40 years of practice, Mr. Franklin has handled jury trials in many different areas, ranging from personal injury/wrongful death to complex business disputes. Although oral arguments before the Alabama Supreme Court are less frequent now, he has had the privilege to argue for Auburn University in the litigation arising from the attempt by the State of Alabama to prefer K-12 education over higher education in the proration funding crisis; for R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and other manufacturers regarding substantial legal issues in smoking and health litigation; and most recently for ExxonMobil in the litigation in which the State of Alabama sought to impose punitive damages arising from a dispute over calculation of royalty payments.
Mr. Franklin is an Advocate of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He is a former President of the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association, and has been active in State Bar matters, including serving as a member of the Board of Bar Commissioners from 1991 through 2000; serving as a member of the Board of Disciplinary Appeals of the Alabama State Bar from 2000 to 2008; serving as President of the Alabama Law Foundation, and is a Fellow in both the American Bar and Alabama Law Foundations. He has been listed, for years, in various categories in The Best Lawyers in America: Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Personal Injury Litigation, and Product Liability Litigation. Mr. Franklin is listed in The International Who’s Who Legal: Litigation. Mr. Franklin is also a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, from whom he has been presented the Peter Perlman Service Award.
In recent years, Mr. Franklin has been active in fundraising efforts to assist various legal organizations as part of his commitment to improving access to civil justice for Alabama’s most needy citizens. In 2006, he received the Commissioners Award from the State Bar recognizing his service to the profession. He currently serves on the board of the Birmingham Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Program, and has served as Chairman of the BVLP Private Bar Campaign for 2013, and was part of the leadership for the same campaign for 2016.