“We’re hometown boys. We both grew up on the Virginia Peninsula,” says attorney Jerry Franklin. He continues, “I went to Warwick High School and my son, Rhett, went to Hampton High School. Living in this area, we know a lot of people and have met a lot of folks that we stay in touch with. We send birthday and Christmas cards. I’ve been practicing since 1967, and 30 or more of those years were solely in the personal injury field. We’re home cookin’.”
Jerry Franklin feels those years of experience allow him and his son and partner, Rhett Franklin, to navigate their clients’ challenges of “going up against Goliath. At the end of the day, we are lawyers serving injured persons. Our lawyering is still done at a personal level. For a lot of our clients, the only time they interact with the judicial system becomes very daunting. We help them navigate that system. Most people don’t need us ’til they need us,” says Rhett.
“In a number of personal injury and worker’s compensation cases, the laws have different statutes of limitation and notice periods. That means you can lose your right to pursue a case if you miss certain deadlines. The legal landscape can be like a minefield, and those deadlines are the mines,” Rhett explains.
Jerry elaborates about the big guys who “have no obligation to tell you about those deadlines. These are paid professionals, and people can be disadvantaged going against that kind of competition. We are there to be our clients’ professionals. The big guys have no obligation to the people who should be calling a lawyer. It’s sort of a David and Goliath situation. That’s why it’s important to make a call to us early in the process.”
“That first phone call is always a free consultation. We work on contingent fee arrangements. No money changes hands, generally speaking, until the case is settled. If we are unsuccessful, we don’t get a fee, and the client only pays minimal amounts of out-of-pocket expenses for records or reports. If we feel a client would be better off handling it on their own, we tell him or her so,” Jerry adds.
With a healthy laugh born of decades of experience, Jerry says that he loves the unfortunate saying that “what the big print gives you, the little print takes away.” A clear sense of caring for the underdog comes through. “Our cases are very serious in nature,” Jerry says, “but one of the things I’ve enjoyed is you really have an opportunity to help someone. It almost becomes personal.”
Although he does not directly connect the dots, Jerry Franklin says, “Living here all my life, I grew up in a Boys Club. It was just boys then — and I’ve been working with the Boys & Girls Club for 47 years now. Their services can be a tremendous influence to help guide the youngsters and their families. I’ve seen it work. And during the pandemic, they provided meals that were no longer being served in schools. The clubs helped fill that void and made it possible to continue communicating with the youngsters in their locales.”
When Rhett is not busy with cases, coaching youth sports, home schooling his children or playing music with the Smithfield Little Theater, he and dad involve themselves with the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. “We get involved with legislators to make sure legislation is fair. The big guys have plenty of lobby power in the industry, and we try to make sure we protect the consumer from big money interests,” says Jerry.
Rhett Franklin has a sister named Tara. He says he was never teased about it and not many people seemed to know the reference. “Even to this day, it’s rare to see that first name. Not many folks say to me, ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a….’ Every now and then, I say it!”
When the very personable Angel Ford answers the attorneys’ phone, it is clear that “she’s a hard worker and a people person,” says Jerry. It is crystal clear. At Franklin & Franklin, they all do give a….
TO THE POINT:
Franklin & Franklin
Business: Personal injury attorneys
Address: 11719 Jefferson Ave., Newport News, VA 23606
Contacts: C. Jerry Franklin, attorney, founder; Rhett Franklin, attorney