Mr. Francois Watkins has briefed and argued appeals in a broad cross-section of areas for a diverse array of clients. He has been named by Super Lawyers as an Appellate Law Rising Star for four years, indicating that he was judged by his peers to be among the top appellate attorneys under age 40 in New York.
He recently successfully petitioned the en banc 7th Circuit Court of Appeals for rehearing in J.K.J. v. Polk County, 960 F.3d 367 (7th Cir. 2020) (en banc), which affirmed his clients' multi-million dollar civil rights verdict due to the defendant's inadequate policy and training to prevent inmate sexual assault.
He also represented the majority of the New York City Council Members and the New York City Public Advocate as amici curiae in the successful challenge to New York City’s “soda ban” in the New York Court of Appeals. Other representative clients include the president of a well-known food products company, a railroad, and victims of civil rights abuses. Mr. Francois Watkins has represented clients before the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits.
Mr. Francois Watkins clerked for the Hon. Robert W. Sweet of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He also served as a Court Attorney in New York City Civil Court.
He graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2006, where he was a Ray Eder Scholar, Chayes Fellow, Henigson Human Rights Fellow, and Articles Editor for the Harvard Journal on Legislation.
At the request of the Chief Justice of the High Court of the Marshall Islands, Mr. Francois Watkins co-authored an extensive re-drafting of the Marshall Islands Rules of Criminal Procedure, which was subsequently adopted by that nation's Parliament.
Mr. Francois Watkins received his bachelor’s degree from Brown University in 2000, with a double-concentration in economics and public policy. He has worked as a management consultant, co-directed a startup non-profit corporation, and volunteered as an English teacher in the Marshall Islands. He is also a former Jeopardy! champion.