The Honorable Don R. Franchi

San Mateo County Superior Court, Department 15


The Hon. Don R. Franchi is a judge for the Superior Court of San Mateo County in California. He was elected to the bench in 2008.

Franchi was born in Burlingame and raised in San Mateo. He attended Aragon High School, where he lettered in wrestling as well as track and field. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the College of San Mateo. He studied aeronautics and business administration, eventually completing an A.S. in business administration. He planned to become a pilot for the United States Air Force. However, his plans changed after he contracted pneumonia.

He then transferred to California State University, Hayward. He earned a B.S. in business administration and marketing. He continued his studies there, receiving an M.B.A. with an emphasis in finance. Then, in 1993, he completed a J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law.

He began his law career as a law student. He first externed with the Hon. Alex Kozinski for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Then, after graduating, he started the Law Office of Don Franchi, where he handled a broad range of cases. These included criminal law, contracts, family law, government claims, insurance, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, sexual harassment, wills and trusts, and wrongful termination matters.

Three years after starting his law practice, Franchi began specializing in family law matters. Then, in 2001, he was asked to serve in the Office of the Family Law Facilitator of the Superior Court of San Mateo County. During his tenure there, he helped develop court policies regarding domestic violence issues.

Franchi has served on the Legal Process Committee of the San Mateo County Domestic Violence Council. He has also participated in the organizing committee of Putting Children First and Community Law Night.

While not presiding over cases, Franchi enjoys scuba diving, hiking, and snowboarding. He hiked to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2006.

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