Michael Franklin is one of the many fantastic attorneys who are part of our team at The Probate ProSM. As an attorney, Michael deals with many cases and is in constant contact with many individuals involved in these cases. We sat down with Michael and heard from him about the work he does every day.
The Probate ProSM (TPP): You joined The Probate ProSM in 2018. What was it like getting acclimated to the environment here?
Michael: I came here from another probate law firm, so I had a fair understanding of the probate field. This was certainly advantageous towards getting adjusted here. Amber Atkins, Darren Findling, Jason Wagner, and the rest of my colleagues were all very welcoming and helped ensure sure that I was trained with the firm’s procedures and structure. This was important because when you’re coming to a firm of this size, with all these different moving parts, everyone plays a role to help ensure our firm continues to grow.
TPP: What can you say about the work that you do?
Michael: I handle deceased estate and trust administration. This can range from administering a basic estate to an evidentiary hearing in a contested matter. Regardless, the majority of my clients are actively going through the probate process.
TPP: There are many ways in which we here at The Probate ProSM provide legal services, how are you helping clients daily?
Michael: On a daily basis, I handle several phone calls from many different people. I think it is important part of the job to take every phone call, respond quickly to every email, and in general, to just be there for whenever a client needs you. I’m also regularly attending hearings, drafting petitions, or preparing other legal documents to get my clients administer and estate or trust.
TPP: It would seem like there’s a healthy amount of people you have to be in contact with.
Michael: Absolutely, whether it is opposing counsel, the Court, heirs, personal representatives, the IRS, CPAs, realtors, financial institutions – the list goes on. No matter what, there are many people that I am communicating to efficiently administer these estate and trusts.
TPP: What’s it like to work with other people on your cases?
Michael: I think communication is critical when it comes to working with others. Whomever I am working with, I want them to know that they can trust me and that when I say I’m going to do something, it will get done and in return, I expect the same. I think that’s allowed me to foster many solid relationships with different players in this industry, which in turn allows me to represent my clients better.
TPP: You also have a lot of support from your team and colleagues?
Michael: I would be moving at a snail’s pace without my team. Bridget Sturdy and Rhonda Bradley are my paralegals who are there for me daily. Words can’t describe how much they help my clients, and myself, every single day. Also, Amber Atkins, my team leader is always there for whatever questions I may have or to discuss the more interesting and complex issues I come across.
TPP: What got you into practicing law?
Michael: Practicing law was something I have always been interested in. Truthfully, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I jumped between a few different majors in college and ended up majoring in psychology, purely because I found it so thought-provoking. I also had a minor in the philosophy of law, which was interesting as well. It wasn’t until my junior year in college – where they tell you to decide on what you want to do with your life – that I decided to pursue the legal field. I studied and sat for the LSATs and subsequently applied to law school. I went to Michigan State for undergraduate studies and decided to stay in East Lansing to study at Michigan State College of Law.
TPP: What is the philosophy of law?
Michael: Well, it has been some time, but essentially, it’s a branch of philosophy studying the reasoning behind having certain laws. Asking questions pertaining to the relationship between these laws and our morals and values as a society. Thinking of what the goal or objective of our laws are and ask, “do these laws help us, as a society, achieve that goal.” By the time I began pursuing my minor in philosophy of law, I was pretty certain that I wanted to pursue a career in the legal field, and I felt having this knowledge would somehow help.
TPP: Seems like it’s gone by pretty fast since law school, right?
Michael: Yeah, I mean once you get past the first year of law school, time flew by. Especially leading up to the Bar Exam, it’s all kind of a blur. I still remember where I sat in the Breslin Center. After you pass the Bar, you have to figure out what you’re doing. I clerked for a general counsel firm, which allowed me to get experience in many different areas of law. Even in law school though, I liked estate planning. I tried it out and really enjoyed it, which got me my first job, which was estate planning and probate. Once I got a taste of probate, I haven’t looked back.
TPP: We know a lot now about Michael Franklin the attorney, but what about the person outside of the office? Who is Michael Franklin?
Michael: I am a big fan of Netflix and sports. Being a Michigan State alum, this is a great time for me with the Spartans going on a deep run to the Final Four. I enjoy hanging with my friends and relaxing with my Pit-husky mix Naya. I try to learn new things; I will try something out for a bit and then go to the next subject that interests me. I’m also a big movie fan, and I am pretty excited for the last Avengers movie that is around the corner.