Paul M. Franke, Jr.
Paul M. Franke, Jr. was born in Gulfport, Mississippi. He attended the University of Mississippi and graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor of Science Degree in 1961. He served in, and was honorably discharged from, the United States Marine Corps. Paul attended the University of Mississippi School of Law, transferring and thereafter receiving his law degree from Mississippi College School of Law in 1966 at which time he was admitted to the Mississippi State Bar. In November 2012, Mississippi College School of Law presented him with an Honorary Master of Laws Degree.
In 1966, he was named as an Administrative Judge with the Mississippi Worker’s Compensation Commission, and in March 1969 he was appointed to serve a six year term as one of its three Commissioners.
In 1974, Mr. Franke was selected to serve as a Commissioner on the Mississippi State Port Authority and served fifteen years. For three of those years he served as the Board’s President. In addition, he was appointed to a two-year term by U. S. Secretary of Interior, Rogers C. B. Morton, on the National Seashore Advisory Commission in March 1975. He served as a member of the Gulfport – Biloxi Foreign Trade Zone Inc., and was elected President for one term. He was appointed by the Governor to a State Commission to study and rewrite the Mississippi Constitution of 1890. He was appointed to a five year term on the Mississippi Development Bank (Bond Bank), serving as the Board’s Chairman. The Mississippi Supreme Court appointed Paul to serve as one of the judges on the Supreme Court Complaint Tribunal. Subsequently, the Court re-appointed him to serve an additional term. He has been appointed by the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi to serve on multiple Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panels. Following the devastation of the Mississippi Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina, he was appointed by Governor Haley Barbour to the Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal. He is a member of the Harrison County Bar Association, the Mississippi State Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the American Inns of Court where he currently serves as President (and previously served as Vice-President) of the Russell-Blass-Walker local chapter. In the past, he was actively involved with the Maritime Law Association of the United States, Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute, Mississippi Bar Foundation, and Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association for which he served as Vice-President.
A founding partner in the firm, he has been engaged in the private practice of law since he resigned as a Commissioner of the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission. Mr. Franke and his wife, Myrtis, have two adult children, Dana and Paul. The family resides in Gulfport, Mississippi. He is a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason, Shriner, and Baptist, serving as Sunday School Department Director and Chairman of the Deacons. He belongs to various civic organizations, and his biography appears in the Personalities of the South and Who’s Who in the South and Southwest.
Mr. Franke has been listed in “The Best Lawyers in America” and was recently recognized for his professional excellence with a certificate acknowledging his “AV Preeminent” rating from Martindale-Hubbell for thirty consecutive years.