American College of Transportation Attorneys

ACTA is a non-profit association consisting of a select group of experienced transportation defense lawyers who have joined together to serve as a confidential, reliable and supplemental legal resource to the trucking industry. ACTA bylaws limit membership to 25 members, each with over 20 years of trucking industry service.

  • Timothy J. Abeel
  • William D. Bierman
  • Charles Carr
  • Lynn Castagna
  • Wesley S. Chused
  • Robert P. Coffey
  • Christy Comstock
  • James M. Dill
  • Patrick C. Dowd
  • David M. Duke
  • David C. Dunbar
  • Patrick D. Gilroy
  • Michael B. Langford
  • Robert D. Moseley, Jr.
  • John T. Pion
  • Lee L. Piovarcy
  • Elizabeth Robertson Queen
  • R. Clay Porter
  • Steve Powers
  • Virginia L. Price
  • Doug Rennie
  • Carlos Rincon
  • Henry (Hank) E. Seaton
  • Michael P. Sharp
  • Grant B. Smith
  • Phillip H. Stanfield
  • Brian A. Wood

Contact Us

3535 Piedmont Road, NE
14 Piedmont Center, Suite 900
Atlanta, Georgia 30305

Send Us A Message

  • Please use the email link below if you would like to contact ACTA with a question or comment.
Email ACTA

In Memoriam: Bob Franklin

Bob Franklin was a founding member of the American College of Transportation Attorneys. There was almost no job that ACTA could ever give to Bob and no case that anyone could ever give to Bob that he couldn’t handle better than anyone else. It is with great regret that ACTA now must recognize the loss of one of its 24 members.

I first met Bob in the 1980’s. He was with a large firm in Baltimore and I was with a firm in Birmingham, Alabama. Our paths would continue to cross from that day until his untimely death in November of 2013.

Both Bob and I were members of a national network of law firms called ALFA. When the organization decided to form a transportation practice group, Bob nominated me to be the first chair of that organization. I began to learn what a mistake Bob had made shortly afterwards when I realized that Bob Franklin’s knowledge of the transportation industry was vastly superior to mine. I never caught up with him as hard as I tried. Bob was the second chairman of ALFA’s transportation practice group.

In 1996, Tom Oliver and I, along with 7 other lawyers from the Birmingham firm, set out on our own to start a new firm. Shortly thereafter, Bob called and told me he was doing the same thing. He must have talked to me for hours trying to find out all the mistakes we made and what I felt we had done right.

I knew Bob would ultimately surround himself with talent and when I met his partners Andrew Stephenson, Ami Dwyer, Tamara Goorevitz, Bert Randall and many more, I knew he had hit a home run. His whole group had a great teacher and model to attempt to emulate…and they did.

In the late 1990’s, a good Chicago attorney and I found ourselves wanting to do an “ALFA-like” network. We had so much fun with ALFA that we started a group that we called USLAW. At the time we started that network, Bob probably had maybe 8-10 lawyers. I called him up and asked if he had an interest in being the Maryland firm in USLAW. He said yes and I then “talked him up” with my new USLAW firms. One of the network’s representatives didn’t know Bob at all. He understandably questioned whether it was appropriate to give the Baltimore slot to such a small law firm. Many of the leadership of USLAW that did know Bob pushed the membership to bet on a rising star. We all knew that if Bob Franklin was a part of a new law firm, that firm would be special one day.

Today (2013), Franklin & Prokopik has over 55 lawyers and they are in 7 different locations in the United States. As he always did, Bob hit a home run with the firm he helped build.

Several years ago, Clay Porter and I had a conversation. We both absolutely loved what we did and had fallen in love not only with what we did but with the people we worked alongside, all over the country. We were both doing work on a national scale and had come across some of the best transportation lawyers in American. We wanted to start a group not for marketing but to give back to the industry and have fun while we were doing it. We started ACTA and decided to come up with 5-10 other names of people that we believed the transportation litigation industry would agree were the brightest in the country. We would never have more than 25 members as we wanted the group to be a fraternity that knew each other well until we gave up the business or got called to our Maker.

One of the very first names that we knew should be considered was Bob Franklin. The discussion was short. No one was more knowledgeable and had spent more time in the transportation litigation field than Bob. He was a lock admittee. He would make the rest of us look better.

My knowledge of Bob went well beyond work. Many years ago I started a golf outing called the Gulf Coast Classic. Lawyers and clients would get together on the Gulf Coast in a Rider Cup format and battle it out for 3 days to see whether the Blue or White would win the event. For all the things that Bob mastered in his lifetime, golf was certainly not one of them. I am sure he made 100 in every academic test he ever took, and by golly he exceeded that in Golf. No one had more fun though, than did Bob.

Never—ever believe that just because you are an extremely hard worker that you automatically become a nerdy, no fun kind of guy. Honestly, I think Bob Franklin was more concerned about making people laugh than he was about educating them and saving them money in the courtroom. At least let’s say that he had fun every day while working hard. He had the largest collection of one liner/two liner jokes than anyone I have ever known. I used to wonder how on earth he could remember them. Never did he repeat the same one. He kept a treasure chest full and could spring them on just the right occasion.

Over the last several years, Bob began to call me about once a year, though he would see me more often than that at industry events and cases we worked on together, the purpose of the call was always the same. It went something like this:

Bob: “You know you really need to quit taking yourself and this work thing so seriously. You may not know it but there is a whole world of things out there that you are missing out on. One day, someone is going to come into your office wearing a white suit and they are going to throw your cold body on a gurney and drag you down the stairs. You better start tasting life before its too late.”

Charles: “Bob, I do what I love, I never feel as though what I do is work.”

Bob: “How would you know; you have never done anything else. I have seen too many of my best friends die this year. I am going to grab life right around the throat and live every minute of it. You haven’t lived until you have done some of the things on your bucket list with your wife or your son or daughter.”

Charles: [to myself and not to Bob: “how much longer is he going to go on with this?”]

When I heard the news that Bob had died, the world changed just a little bit. Though not a member of my family and not one of my 10 best friends, Bob had always been there as a spiritual guide through this maize of life that centers around 18 wheelers, death, paraplegia, and big wins and big losses. He was one of the 5 members of ACTA who seemed to always have an answer to any question that seemed unanswerable.

Bob Franklin should be a word in the dictionary. Its meaning is: “Brilliant, funny, loyal, honest, a winner, and always living every day as if there was not going to be a tomorrow.”

Bob, all of your friends will miss you. We will hold your memory at the forefront of our thoughts and spend the rest of our life trying to be a little more like you. We love you Bob.

Charles F. Carr
First Chair, American College of Transportation Attorneys

Attorney Website Design by Dan Gilroy Design

Copyright © American College of Transportation Attorneys