Franklin Lew was born December 26th, 1936 to Chinese-Canadian parents. He grew up in East Vancouver. He graduated from law school at UBC in 1961, and established his own practice in Vancouver's Chinatown. He was known as a talented lawyer and a successful business person, and devoted much of his time through activities in his community. He was a good friend to many, a devoted husband to his wife Joan, and an inspiring father to his son Derek, who also became a lawyer.
Mr. Lew passed away in 2007 after a courageous battle with cancer. In celebration of his life and legacy his family made a substantial gift to support projects at the Peter A Allard School of Law. In recognition, the largest functional space at Allard Hall has been named the Franklin Lew Forum.