Frank “Sonny” Seiler, a native of Savannah, joined the firm in 1960 and had an extensive litigation practice which includes defense of personal injury claims, medical malpractice, products liability law, prosecution of serious personal injury claims, white collar criminal cases, and divorce/domestic relations matters. Seiler is well known for serving as lead defense counsel in the Jim Williams murder trials that were later made famous by their inclusion in John Berendt’s book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The publication Best Lawyers in America, Woodward/White, has listed Seiler since 1983. He is admitted to practice in all federal and state courts in Georgia.
Several positions of note which Seiler has held include president of the State Bar of Georgia, as well as serving on the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Georgia. He is a past member of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Committee on Lawyer Qualifications and Conduct and has also served as chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education. Seiler was named to the State Judicial Nominating Commission by Governor Carter in 1973 and served on this Commission under three different governors. He is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and is a member of the American Bar and Savannah Bar Associations, as well as the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel, Insurance Section of the State Bar of Georgia, General Practice Section of the State Bar of Georgia, Georgia Association of Hospital Attorneys, American Counsel Association, and Old War Horse Lawyers Club. He is also a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Seiler graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.B.A. in 1956 and received his J.D. in 1957. He was president of Sigma Chi fraternity and was president of the Interfraternity Council. (In 1996, the Sigma Chi Fraternity named Seiler Significant Sig, the highest national honor awarded by Sigma Chi to its members.) He was on the Varsity Swim Team, a Greek Horseman, elected to ODK Honor Society, and a member of Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity. While at the University of Georgia, Seiler was elected to Sphinx, which is the highest honor attainable for a male student. He was also president of the Gridiron Secret Society. Following law school, Seiler was commissioned second lieutenant, United States Infantry and served in the United States Army as a first lieutenant. He also served six years as an officer in the Georgia National Guard, 230th Field Artillery.
One would be hard-pressed to find ties to the University of Georgia that run deeper than those of Seiler. His family has owned the Georgia Bulldog mascot for many years, and Seiler has served as a member of the University of Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors, president of the University of Georgia National Alumni Association, member of the Board of Directors for the Georgia Student Educational fund, chairman of the Georgia School of Law Board of Visitors, member of the President’s Club, and member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Georgia Foundation. Seiler has received the University of Georgia School of Law Distinguished Service Award and was the recipient of the William W. Franklin 1998 Volunteer of the Year Award. The Franklin award was presented by The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for more than 500 schools and colleges from nine Southeastern states. Recently (2000), Seiler received the distinguished American Award presented by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. In 2001, Seiler and his wife Cecelia received the National Alumni Merit Award, the highest recognition given by the University to its alumni.
On a more local level, Seiler has served as commissioner for the Georgia State Games and was appointed as a member of the Savannah Olympic Support Council (sailing events) for the Atlanta Olympic Games of 1996. He previously served as the director of the Atlantic Coast Conservation Association. He is a past president of the German Heritage Society of Savannah and is on the Board of Curators of the Georgia Historical Society. He is a member of the Lutheran Church of the Ascension and past president of the church’s Men’s Club.
On a final and entertaining note, Seiler is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild, having appeared in three motion pictures filmed in Savannah and Hollywood; Gingerbread Man, Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil, and The Legend of Bagger Vance. Seiler is also the co-author with Kent Hannon of Damn Good Dogs! The Real Story of UGA, the University of Georgia’s Bulldog Mascots. This book is now in its fourth printing.