It was almost 20 years ago to the day that former SBM Executive Director Michael Franck received the first ever Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award from the American Bar Association. He received his award on May 31, 1994 at the Chicago Yacht Club.
On May, 31, 1994, a great man was paid tribute by the legal profession he had nurtured and sustained throughout his life. For his outstanding contributions to the profession, Michael Franck was honored by the American Bar Association with the establishment of the Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award.
On June 28, 1994, Michael Franck passed away leaving a legacy of the law as a high calling, of justice as a defendable right, and of public service as the beacon of a life's work.
For those of us fortunate enough to have been linked with Mike throughout his career, we learned through him that the law was illuminating and empowering and that reform was only one good debate away.
As stated by his colleague Robert Hetlage, past Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, on the occasion of the establishment of the Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award:
You have done more than any lawyer I have known in my many years of work in the Bar to advance the cause of professional practice, by example, by personal commitment and dedication, by foresight and a remarkable sense of what is right and what works, by sound judgment and leadership, and by pure hard work.
The seeds of Michael Franck's journey as the champion of professional responsibility began in New York City in the early days of professional regulation. For a decade he dominated the scene as the Chief Litigator of the Committee on grievances of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. There he acquired the reputation as tough minded prosecutor and persuasive advocate.