Lt. Cmdr. Jarrod Franks earned his first post-graduate degree in 2009 and hit the ground running. His subsequent professional accomplishments caught the eye of leadership at his alma mater, Arizona State
University (ASU), and he recently was selected in 2020 to receive the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law’s Recent Alumni Achievement Award.
The Recent Alumni Achievement Award recognizes alumni of the law school who have graduated within the past 10 years and have made significant achievements in their early legal careers.
Franks is a Navy judge advocate currently assigned as a full-time student at Georgetown University Law Center, where he is pursuing a Master of Laws in National Security Law. His naval and legal career began at Naval Legal Service Office Northwest in Bremerton, Wash., where he served in the Legal Assistance Department and later as defense counsel.
“The award nomination for Lt. Cmdr. Franks detailed some of his accomplishments starting after his graduation from the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, when he first began his legal career,”
ASU professor Kelli Rael said. “Some things that stood out were his mentorship of Afghan prosecutors at Afghanistan’s national terrorism court, his training of more than 500 SEALs on rules of engagement and
international humanitarian law, and his representation of 93 victims of sexual assault while working as a Victims’ Legal Counsel in Honolulu.”
From August 2011 to May 2012, Franks deployed to Parwan, Afghanistan in support of Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435’s mission to train, advise, and assist the Afghan Justice Sector to develop Rule of Law-based investigation, prosecution, and detention of insurgent and terror-related threats. He served as a justice advisor to Afghanistan’s national terrorism court, where he primarily trained Afghan prosecutors in evidence and forensics exploitation and trial strategy and advocacy. Franks regularly
briefed high-profile visitors to the court including U.S. and foreign ambassadors, U.S. Senators, members of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and United Nations representatives.
In 2012, Franks reported to Region Legal Service Office Japan in Yokosuka to serve as a trial counsel, and, in August 2013, he transitioned to assistant force judge advocate to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan.
Beginning in 2014, Franks worked as the staff judge advocate to all East Coast-based Navy SEAL teams in Virginia Beach, Va., where he trained more 500 personnel on the Rules of Engagement and the Law of Armed Conflict. From October 2014 to March 2015, he deployed to Djibouti, Africa to serve as legal advisor to Special Operations Command Forward-East Africa in support of counterterrorism operations against al-Shabaab and affiliated violent extremist organizations in the region.
“Lt. Cmdr. Franks has already accomplished so much and we look forward to following what he does for the rest of his career. His accomplishments make us proud to count him among our alumni and easily show why he is a great candidate for this alumni award,” Rael said.
Franks also served as the Special Operations Liaison Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia for three months in 2016. There he advised the U.S. Ambassador on critical special operations initiatives and educated the Defense Attaché’s Office on germane regulations for building partner nation capacity. In his role as a military liaison, Franks frequently served as the sole U.S. representative for special operations matters during military exchanges with Ethiopian Defense Forces.
Beginning in 2016, Franks worked as a Victims’ Legal Counsel (VLC) in Honolulu. For three years, he represented victims of sexual assault while also serving as the officer-in-charge for 15 months to six other judge advocates in three offices in Hawaii, Japan, and Guam. A tireless advocate for victims, Franks also conducted more than 50 educational efforts, speaking with the local military community about sexual assault victim rights and VLC services.
Currently, Franks regularly volunteers as a guest lecturer at the Naval War College Fleet Seminar, U.S. Naval Academy, and George Washington University Naval ROTC program on matters pertaining to Rules of Engagement, the Law of Armed Conflict, and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“I am honored to receive this recognition and have always been grateful for the service-oriented mindset that was fostered during my law school experience. I will always strive to embody the values of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and am very thankful for the opportunity to have attended such a valuable and beneficial program,” Franks said.