Frank Julian has known for a long time that he wanted to earn his living
in the courtroom as a trial attorney. However, he did not take the normal
path from school towards the leadership of a major law firm. Before law
school, Frank followed another calling by serving his country in the United
States Navy. In making your choice of a personal injury law firm, we think
it is important to know the lawyer and his or her history.
Frank comes from a Navy family. Frank’s father (Frank Sr.) was a
naval officer who served for over 35 years commanding several ships and
retiring as a Captain. In fact, Frank was born while his father was serving
in Vietnam as the Commanding Officer of the USS ASHEVILLE (PG-84). While
growing up, Frank’s family lived all over the country, wherever
his father’s duty assignments took them. Frank’s mother is
a nurse with a specialty in geriatric care. Frank’s mother was the
Director of Nursing at several nursing homes over the course of her career.
As early as the eighth grade, Frank knew that he wanted to be a lawyer.
That year, his social studies class was studying World War II and the
difficult decision to use nuclear weapons to end the war. The class was
given the difficult assignment of a “war crimes” trial. Harry
Truman stood accused of war crimes for his decision to use the atomic
bomb at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Surprisingly, Truman had been consistently
found guilty in the prior years of mock trials. Frank was given the assignment
of lead counsel defending Truman. This was the early eighties, the height
of the cold war and the anti-nuclear movement. The five day trial was
headline news throughout New England. In the end, Harry Truman was resoundingly
acquitted by the jury. Frank Julian had won his first trial and had found
a vocation. Frank knew that one day he wanted to be in the courtroom, fighting
against the odds.
After high school, Frank took a Naval ROTC scholarship at Villanova University
in Pennsylvania. At Villanova, Frank majored in Political Science with
a concentration in Arab & Islamic Studies.
Instead of immediately going to graduate school or law school like most
of his classmates, Frank joined the United States Navy. It turned out
that Arabic studies would serve him well because soon after graduation
Frank found himself in the Middle East in support of Operation Desert
Storm. Frank was assigned to the USS KALAMAZOO (AOR-6) as part of the
John F. Kennedy Battle Group and later the George Washington Battle Group.
Waiting at anchor near the Suez Canal in 1995
On board USS KALAMAZOO on June 6, 1994. On that day a huge armada of warships
anchored off the Normandy coast in France to re-enact the D-Day Landings
of World War II. Pictured in the background is the USS George Washington.
Change of Command Ceremony off the coast of Saudi Arabia in 1995. Pictured
here with Captain Ed Fahy who went on to command the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY
The KALAMAZOO was an extremely large ship (40,000 tons, 659 feet long,
96 foot beam, 32,000 shaft horsepower) that was designed for the replenishment
at sea of a Navy battle group. Replenishment operations often required
that the KALAMAZOO be operated within yards of an aircraft carrier, sometimes
with another large ship on the other side and
often in high seas.
Typical underway replenishment operations
Starting the engines the old-fashioned way. Lighting off a navy boiler.
(Photo by JO2 Michael S. Howlett.)
Sea Trials on board the USS Stethem DDG-63 in the Gulf of Mexico.
Even as a 22-year-old ensign, Frank reveled in this type of high-stakes,
high pressure assignment. He was quickly qualified as a Surface Warfare
Officer. He also enjoyed working with the giant steam boilers that drove
the ship. Although now made almost extinct by high-tech gas turbine propulsion,
operating the ship’s complex steam system appealed to Frank. Although
not required by his assignment, he obtained the qualification of Engineering
Officer of the Watch.
While in the pressure-cooker environment of the Persian Gulf during Desert
Storm, Frank qualified as one of the ship’s two Tactical Action
Officers. In that role, Frank was charged with the operation of the ship’s
multiple radars, electronic warfare equipment, and the ship’s missile
system. Had the ship been attacked, it would have been his responsibility
to defend the 500 person crew.
After serving on the KALAMAZOO, Frank was honored by being one of a select
few officers chosen to serve on the pre-commissioning crew of the USS
STETHEM (DDG-63). STETHEM is a special ship. If was named for Robert Dean
Stethem, a United States Naval Petty Officer who was brutally murdered
by terrorists in 1985. In June of 1985, Robert Stethem was on his way
home after having completed an overseas assignment for the Navy. As he
flew home on TWA Flight 847, Shi’ite terrorists took over the plane.
After they discovered that Robert was an American and in the U.S. Navy,
he was singled out and then brutally beaten and tortured. Despite being
beaten for several hours, Robert Stethem did not waiver or yield. The
cowardly terrorists eventually became so enraged that they killed him
and threw his body onto the tarmac of the airport in Beirut, Lebanon.
Robert Stethem was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for heroism
and bravery. The Navy would later honor Robert Stethem by naming its newest
and most technologically advanced warships in his honor.
LT Julian (left) on the port bridge wing of the USS Stethem while underway
off the Pacific Missile Test Range near Hawaii. Also pictured is Ensign
Eliott Avidan and Lieutenant Commander Richard Daniel.
Frank joined the crew of the STETHEM while it was still being built in
the shipyard at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi. After
the shipyard, the ship traveled through the Panama Canal and then up to
its home port of San Diego California. STETHEM was commissioned in California
with most of the members of the Stethem family in attendance. During the
commissioning ceremony, then LT. Julian had the honor of being the ship’s
first Officer of the Deck. After commissioning, STETHEM took part in several
shakedown cruises and an extensive missile testing program at the Pacific
Missile Test Range off the coast of Hawaii.
STETHEM then underwent an extensive post-shakedown shipyard period. This
multi-million dollar shipyard period was managed by LT Julian.
The USS Stethem in Drydock. San Diego, 1996
At the end of his tour on STETHEM, Frank had a tough decision to make.
He had to choose between a naval career and his long-held desire to become
a trial lawyer. Having been around the world and having done everything
he wanted to in the Navy, Frank decided to leave the Navy and go to law
school. During his time in the Navy, Frank received several commendations
and medals. Awards and Commendations included the Navy and Marine Corps
Commendation Medal and Navy Achievement Medal, the Battle ‘E”
Award, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, and
the Sea Service Ribbon. After looking at law schools around the country,
Frank decided that the University of Notre Dame was the best fit for him.
He packed up a truck and drove from San Diego to South Bend, Indiana.
During his time at Notre Dame, Frank concentrated on subjects that would
help him prepare for trial work. Luckily, Notre Dame has one of the best
trial advocacy programs in the country. But Frank did not limit his studies
to the academic world. While a law student, Frank worked as a law clerk
at two separate personal injury law firms. While working for these firms,
Frank was often involved in difficult cases against big companies and
insurance companies. This experience convinced him that the only trial
work he ever wanted to do was on behalf of people who have been injured.
Forming the Sweeney Julian Team
Fresh out of law school, Frank went to work both on his own and with other
personal injury lawyers. In 2000, he was approached by Charles Sweeney
with an idea of opening a new branch of his personal injury law firm in
South Bend. Charlie had practiced in South Bend for 30+ years, but at
the time only had an office in Fort Wayne. The South Bend office of Sweeney
Law Firm opened in 2001 with Frank Julian and Charles Sweeney working
together on their client’s behalf.
In 2005, Charles Sweeney decided to retire and become “of counsel”
to the law firm. An attorney who is “of counsel” acts as an
advisor and is available for consultation and assistance whenever needed.
Frank Julian took over the practice, the name of which changed from Sweeney
Law Firm to Sweeney Julian PC.
At its core, Sweeney Julian’s role is to help our community both
through dedicated legal work and through community service. Helping our
fellow man is always profitable, both personally and for the bottom line.
We regularly use our firms considerable resources to help out local charities
and people in need. Frank Julian is also on the Board of Directors of
the Granger Rotary Club.
In 2004, Frank was elected to the Board of Directors of the Indiana Trial
Lawyers Association, a highly coveted honor. Through the ITLA, Frank promotes
legislation to protect the rights of Hoosiers. In 2005, Frank was nominated
as the Indiana Trial Lawyer of the Year.
A frequent participant on the faculty of continuing legal education seminars,
Frank has given many lectures on a variety of subjects. Some of those
Handling Residential Gas Explosions and
Attorney Advertising in the Age of Insurance Company Propaganda. His papers include
Expert Testimony after the Kumho Tire Decision and Mentally Incompetent
Defendants and the Right to Proceed Pro Se.Franklin is the President of the Annual Litigation Seminar for Northern
Indiana. Topics of the seminar have included:
Topics in LItigation and
Damages in Automobile Litigation.