Franklin M. Lee is one of the country’s leading authorities on socio-economic policies that promote the use of small, minority-owned, and woman-owned businesses in government contracting. For nearly 25 years, Mr. Lee has advised businesses on regulatory compliance with such policies, and the federal, state, and local governments on establishing and defending commercial non-discrimination policies and public contracting programs. Mr. Lee also assists multi-national corporations with efforts to promote fairness and diversity in their use of commercial vendors.
Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Lee served for six years as antitrust litigation counsel at the Federal Trade Commission, and for over fifteen years as Chief Counsel to the Minority Business Enterprise Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. In the latter position, he advised numerous governmental entities in drafting minority business and disadvantaged business enterprise programs, and in defending those programs against constitutional challenges.
An experienced administrative lawyer and a litigator, Mr. Lee helps businesses navigate all the intricacies of minority and disadvantaged business policies. He assists his clients in:
Mr. Lee advises large corporations on compliance with various socio-economic policies, regulations and strategies including:
He also facilitates joint ventures and partnerships between Fortune 500 corporations and contractors to increase capacity and enhance market access among historically disadvantaged businesses. He also conducts diversity business audits and helps large companies open up their procurement processes to new sources of supply and to promote non-discriminatory treatment of suppliers and vendors.
Mr. Lee’s representation of dozens of government clients has brought him national recognition. Among his many governmental clients are: the Cities of Baltimore, MD, Boston, MA, Charlotte, NC, San Antonio, TX, San Diego, CA, and Columbia, SC. His academic/non-profit clients include: the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development, the Palm Beach County School Board, and the University of Minnesota. He has also advised the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Mr. Lee has advised governmental entities on:
Mr. Lee has assisted numerous governments in reforming their procurement practices and policies to make them more accessible. Several of these reforms have involved the deployment of technologies that automate the government vendor registration and contracting processes. He has provided detailed guidance to government clients regarding such procedures including the Metropolitan District Commission in Hartford, CT, San Diego, CA, Columbia, SC, and San Antonio, TX.
Mr. Lee has been involved in some of the most consequential appellate decisions concerning MBE/WBE policies around the country. His federal appellate court experience includes:
Mr. Lee is actively involved in matters concerning minority-owned businesses. He has served in numerous capacities to promote the advancement of MBEs. Recently, he was invited as a participant in a MBE Roundtable of business leaders, academia, and government officials. The MBE Roundtable was convened by Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings to develop policy recommendations and strategies for reforming Maryland’s MBE Program in 2012 to make it more effective in facilitating the growth and expansion of MBEs into the mainstream of Maryland’s economy. Also, Governor O’Malley appointed Mr. Lee as a member of the Maryland Task Force on Minority Business Enterprise and Equity Investment Capital.
He has also served on the "Bridging the Gap" Advisory Panel of the Greater Baltimore Committee, which awarded him the "Bridging the Gap President’s Award" in 2008 for his dedication to promoting the advancement of minority-owned business in central Maryland. He was the only attorney selected to Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.’s Task Force on MBE Reform in 2003; in May 2006, at the conclusion of the Task Force’s work, Governor Ehrlich signed into law groundbreaking MBE legislation crafted largely by Mr. Lee.
Deeply committed to improving the quality of life for the poor and disadvantaged in the City of Baltimore, Mr. Lee has been a volunteer with such organizations as the Sandtown Habitat for Humanity and the Eternal Light of Helping Hands, Inc.
Mr. Lee is a perennial mentor for youth who express interest in the field of law. Most recently, his efforts at encouraging young people to pursue legal careers have been directed towards The Just the Beginning Foundation (JTBF), a national non-profit dedicated to promoting greater diversity in the field of law. In 2008, he was a member of the Executive Planning Committee for the Foundation’s biennial conference sponsored by bar associations in Washington DC, the State of Maryland, and the State of Virginia. Additionally, he co-chaired the Foundation’s "Robes in Schools" programs in Maryland that year. These programs brought together dozens of judges, lawyers, law professors, law students, college students, and high school and middle school students to share in the judges’ inspirational stories of their careers and life experiences in the law.
Additionally, Mr. Lee helped coordinate the JTBF’s Mock Trial program in Washington, DC, in which dozens of high school students from across the region played the roles of lawyers, witnesses, and jurors in a mock trial based upon a trial transcript and evidentiary exhibits derived from an actual case. For many students, this event provided their first hands-on introduction to legal argument and the practice of law.