In celebration of Black History Month, we will be sharing a series of blog posts highlighting our clients and staff from the African diaspora. We are honored to share the stories of these amazing individuals, whom we celebrate not just this month, but throughout the year.
Meet Michael Frankson, Partner at the law firm Huff Powell Bailey, in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago. His father is from Belize, with extended family from Jamaica.
Michael was always intent on going to law school. However, he found that the U.S. system would provide him with the opportunity for more personal growth and development in college before focusing on a final career path. He decided to pursue his studies in the U.S. to broaden his horizons. Michael attended the University of Richmond as an F-1 student to study psychology. His undergraduate experience included a semester abroad in Australia and a summer of traveling through Europe. He then attended Emory University School of Law (also as an F-1 student) in Atlanta, Georgia.
While at Emory, Michael worked as a research assistant with one of the law school’s professors through F-1 curricular practical training (CPT) and also at a law firm in Trinidad during his first summer. During his second summer, Michael was a Summer Associate with a law firm in Atlanta, Georgia. He also completed an internship at the Court of Appeals of Georgia. After graduating with his Juris Doctor, Michael started his new position as the Staff Attorney to Chief Judge Ben W. Studdard, III (whom he considers a great mentor) of the State Court of Henry County. He worked in this position, first in Optional Practical Training (OPT), and then eventually H-1B status.
Since 2010, Michael has been a trial attorney at Huff Powell Bailey defending healthcare providers against medical malpractice claims. Michael started working at this firm first under H-1B status, then eventually as a legal permanent resident when his employer-based permanent residence application was approved. Michael represents doctors, hospitals, dentists, and long-term care facilities through all stages of litigation. He has been a partner at this firm since 2018.
Being a “professional’ was always the goal growing up in Trinidad. Both of my parents were in healthcare, which did not appeal to me, but being a lawyer has been my calling since I was a child. I love what I do because it requires learning and critical thinking every day, as one tries to understand the medicine underlying the providers’ decision—made with the benefit of years of education and experience—and then condense it such that a jury can understand why the providers made those decisions after a trial lasting a week or two.
Michael can usually be found in the courtroom trying cases and arguing dispositive motions. He was centrally involved in the appellate litigation of the Georgia emergency medicine gross negligence standard, preparing briefs for four appeals to the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of Georgia. Michael is frequently invited to speak on a variety of medical malpractice topics and has presented to numerous healthcare providers.
Michael’s passion for litigation has inspired him to mentor younger students aspiring to be litigators themselves. During his career, Michael coached high school mock trial and worked with Emory Law’s young alumni group. He has also worked with the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation for over 10 years.
When asked about the greatest hardship that comes with pursuing a life and career in the United States, Michael stated that being away from family, even before the pandemic has always been a hardship to him. He has missed important family gatherings, both joyous and sad. Missing the funerals of two of his grandparents because of his decision to live in the U.S. has definitely stuck with him.
One thing that Michael has noticed throughout his career, is that he keeps running into Trinidadians, whether they are Plaintiffs, clients, or expert witnesses. “We appear to be everywhere.”
For Michael, Black History is not just one story…
Our lives are not just a snapshot, but part of a movie, and one must be able to see as much of the movie as possible to understand where we are in the story now. The efforts that have been made to delete the preceding images of our story must be addressed, if not reversed, through a focus on black history.
Michael has had many accomplishments over the years, especially in the courtroom. Nevertheless, he will adamantly state that his biggest accomplishment would be getting both of his daughters dressed and to school every morning. When asked what keeps him motivated, he refers to his children … “Imparting the same desire for excellence on my children by setting the right example.”
This monthly blog series on Black History Month is produced by our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee led by our Senior Attorney, Nadia Deans Kalata.
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