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Franklin Graves is a May 2014 graduate of Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition to receiving his J.D., he obtained an Entertainment and Music Business Law Certificate. He is interested in several different areas of the law, including entertainment and intellectual property law, with plans to focus on practicing media and technology law in Tennessee.
Franklin was born in Arkansas and raised in Nashville, TN. He graduated with a B.A. in Journalism and minored in Film Production from Samford University in May 2010. Franklin was the recipient of the 2010 Journalism Student of the Year Award. In 2010, he served as a member and co-founder of the National Broadcasting Society and was a member and co-founder of the Alpha Epsilon Rho Honor Society. Franklin also served as an intern in the marketing department for Sony Music Nashville, where he primarily edited videos for artists.
At Belmont University College of Law, he served as a member of the Legal Aid Society and was a co-founder and an event coordinator for the Entertainment Law Society (2012 to 2014). From 2012 to 2013, Franklin served as a research assistant to law Professor Loren Mulraine, focusing on social justice issues within intellectual property law. From 2013 to 2014, he served as secretary of the Student Bar Association. During that time, Franklin also served as law student reporter for the American Bar Association's Section of Intellectual Property Law. Since 2013 he has served as communication coordinator for the Law Student Action Group of the American Bar Association's section of Intellectual Property Law. Franklin also completed more than 90 hours of pro bono and community service work as a law student, upholding the Legal Aid Society's Pro Bono Pledge he made at the start of his law school career.
During the spring of 2013, he served as an intern for the Volunteer Lawyers and Professionals for the Arts (VLPA). Franklin assisted low-income artists and arts organizations in the Nashville area with their legal and professional needs.
During the spring of 2014, he was selected to participate in the Tennessee Attorney General's Office Externship Placement Program. Franklin worked in the Consumer Advocate and Protection Division. He assisted with research, drafting, as well as other needs within the False Claims department. Franklin thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to experience what legal work life is like within a government position. He was able to help research and draft a new form of an Agreed Final Judgment (AFJ) that, if approved, would be used in future proceedings as a means of achieving a settlement more quickly.
When the Samford University alumnus isn't studying, he enjoys keeping up with technology and music. Franklin said, "I enjoy watching science fiction and comic book movies and television shows, when I have the free time." He also loves listening to and discovering new music, taking his pug to dog parks around the city, and scouting out the Nashville-area food trucks on the weekends with his wife, Sarah.
Franklin's Academic Law Career and Future Aspirations
Why did Franklin go into the law? He noted:
"I went to law school because I knew I wanted to make a difference in the field of intellectual property. I had a passion for the arts, technology, and entertainment; but, I wanted to gain an education that would provide me with the highest potential to make a change and improve the policies and regulations in those fields. I think over the years we have made great progress in areas like piracy, privacy, and licensing rights. However, I think there is much progress to be made going forward, and I hope to help keep pushing that progress forward."
What are the areas of the law he hopes to practice? "Entertainment, technology, media law, and other areas of intellectual property law."
Franklin shared his aims and aspirations. "I hope to work in the entertainment or technology industry in the future. I aspire to help develop a method of increased access to copyright works, while also maintaining the rights and income of creators and owners. Right now there seems to be a technological crossroad where content creators are struggling to keep up with technology and continue funding the creation of works."
Are there any particular achievements that he would like to share? "I would say that becoming involved in the American Bar Association was one of the best decisions I made in law school. It helped me get connected with an area of law I'm passionate about - intellectual property. The ABA helped connect me with practicing attorneys, as well as other law students across the nation, and provided a view of what life outside of law school would look like."
When asked about his key accomplishments, Franklin acknowledged, "I strive to place an importance on pro bono work and service to those that need assistance, but are unable to find the help. I think attorneys, law students, and other professionals have a duty to provide at least a small percentage of their yearly work to pro bono or community service efforts."
He then discussed the key skills and strengths that he will use to further his career goals. "I would like to leverage my attention to detail. One area of law in particular, contracts, requires a highly focused attention to detail. One incorrect word choice can have a major impact, either good or bad, years down the road. Additionally, I think it takes patience and focus to practice law effectively, both of which are skills I possess."
As for his weakness, Franklin admitted, "Throughout law school I have had to work on time management and juggling involvement in extracurricular activities. I have had to learn how to say 'no' to certain activities and not get over involved."
Law school can be stressful at times, so Franklin shared how he relieves stress. "I enjoy working out. I love to run and enjoy going to the gym to run on the treadmill in between classes. It helps reduce stress and provides an opportunity to zone out and listen to music or watch TV."
How does Franklin handle new assignments? The third year law student shared his process: "I like to approach new assignments as an opportunity to re-organize and plan how that assignment will be accomplished. I like to spend a moment before starting to think through the best process for finishing the assignment using the best possible method."
Three Wishes to Live By, Coping with Fear, Study Abroad Program and Community Service
If Franklin had three wishes, what would he wish for? He stated, "A) Win the lottery and pay off all my fellow classmates' student loans, B) For my wife and I to adopt a few more pugs and have room for our little companions to live with us. I fell in love with the dog breed once my wife convinced us to adopt one when we got married, and C) World peace."
In regard to handling fear, he acknowledged, "I try to overcome it. My wife has a masters in counseling, so I sort of have built-in support for overcoming any fears!"
Has Franklin been part of any study abroad program? "I studied abroad in London when I was in undergrad." He continued to say that he took an awesome course, which surveyed coffee shops and examined the important role they had as a new organization in eighteenth-century London.
Has he participated in community service? Franklin stated:
"My first experience with a legal clinic was when I participated in a Room in the Inn Legal Clinic in Nashville, TN, one morning during my 1L summer (2012). I received an e-mail through the local bar association about young lawyers that were getting together to provide free legal assistance to the homeless. It was an amazing opportunity following my 1L year to understand the importance of providing legal assistance to those in need.
I volunteered for the Spring 2013 semester during 2L with the Volunteer Lawyers and Professionals for the Arts organization in Nashville, TN, to help organize legal clinics, connect low-income artists with attorneys willing to volunteer their services, provide low-cost legal services to arts organizations, and more. I have continued to maintain involvement and coordinate volunteers for events and activities.
Since 2012 I have also helped a non-profit organization called The Water Angels in Knoxville, TN. I volunteered to help with their website, as well as a few in-person events for the homeless and low-income families."
Legal Role Models, People You Want to Surround Yourself With and Final Thoughts
Does Franklin have any legal role models? "I admire Denise Howell & Evan Brown for their consistency and dedication of almost eight years to running a legal podcast called 'This Week in Law.' It's a weekly podcast dedicated to covering recent legal news in the fields of technology, entertainment, and science." Franklin said he interned for Howell and Brown during the summer of 2012. He first tuned into the magnificent duo in 2006 and was exposed to current legal issues as well as entertainment, technology, and intellectual property law.
What kind of situations and people is Franklin attracted to and what kind does he avoid? "I like to be around positive people who like to make a difference. I think everyone has the ability to make an impact if they know how to focus their strengths and maximize their use." As for situations and people to avoid, he asserted, "I try to avoid confrontational people. Most of the time they don't help productivity and are focused only on advancing their own interests."
When asked if he had anything else to share personally or professionally, he said, "I believe running a law student blog throughout the past few years of law school has helped me professionally. I highly encourage other students and attorneys to consider dedicating one or two hours a week to maintaining a legal blog with a focus on an area of law that is interesting to them!"
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