by Ashley Withers
Cali Franks is adaptive, passionate about service, and focused. That’s why she’s July’s One to Watch. Cali is active in her community and ready to pivot to meet her community’s needs, whatever the circumstances are. She is a Co-Chair to DAYL’s Freedom Run Committee, which hosts the annual Freedom Run, a 5K run and one mile walk that raises funds for the Dallas Police Association Assist the Officer Foundation and recognizes and remembers first responders and those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
Cali has been a driving force in promoting the Freedom Run this year by working on graphics for the big day, managing the committee of amazing volunteers, and adapting Freedom Run to our new reality amidst COVID-19. As such, she has been crafting a virtual event to continue to raise money for Assist the Officer Foundation and keep the spirit of the Freedom Run alive. First responders hold a special place in Cali’s heart as a daughter of a firefighter. She also highlights this passion as serving on the Board of Directors for the Dallas Firefighters Museum.
Cali has also been instrumental in making the 2019 DAYL’s Leadership Class a success. Each year, the Leadership Class is charged with a community project. In January and February of this year, the class was busy brainstorming what project it would take on, but when COVID-19 hit, everything shifted. Seeing an immediate need in nursing homes for contact with the outside world, Cali was one of the key people in the class that spearheaded a letter writing campaign to nursing homes. The letter writing campaign resulted in multiple supportive letters and personal notes to nursing home residents and staff, lifting their spirits and giving them support.
Cali is a compassionate, driven, and generous individual who devotes her time and efforts to her community’s needs. During her time in law school, Cali’s hard work and tenacity to become a member of the St. Mary’s University Law Journal and Moot Court Team, a mentor for teenage girls living in foster care, a research assistant and teaching assistant for several professors, and active in pro bono programs, all while maintaining the demands of class. Her dedication, leadership, and heart led Cali to become the recipient of the Chief Justice Catherine M. Stone, Rock of Justice Award. Such award is presented to one outstanding and inspiring female leader for her community service and advocacy. Cali prides herself on her community service and advocacy for her clients. We are lucky to have her as a DAYL member and part of the Dallas legal community.
Professionally, Cali practices civil litigation and insurance defense at Bocell Ridley, PC. She largely focuses her practice on the litigation needs of retail and restaurants.