i) “The von Karma creed is 'to be perfect in every way!'”
First and foremost, Franziska von Karma would define herself as a perfectionist. This can be attributed to the environment in which she was raised; indeed, her father, who was also her mentor in the study of law, was not the type of man who would accept any sort of failure in his proteges. As a child, she developed an intense work ethic to fundamentally gain his attention. This was also evident in Franziska's relationship with her father's ward, Miles Edgeworth, who she grew to see as something akin to a brother (a little brother, as she constantly reminded everyone), and more importantly, a rival. Miles was someone whom she could measure her abilities against – with a father who expected perfection as a default, how could she be one step ahead? How could she prove herself to be better if she did not have someone to compete against? She was determined to prove herself better than Miles Edgeworth so that she would gain the approval she so desperately desired, and perhaps, actually be happy … if she managed to succeed in making her somewhat emotionally distant father proud of her.
Her determination and tenacity certainly paid off, and she was instated as a prosecutor in her homeland Germany at the young age of thirteen (Europe, it's progressive). A feat that any father should be proud of, to be sure, but Franziska von Karma was also inherently the type of person who always strove to be the very best. For this pursuit, she publicly dismissed anything that was not directly related to her profession as foolish and a waste of her time. Her results were, of course, nothing less than perfect, and she maintained a record of flawless victories (guilty verdicts) for the first five years of her career.
While an outside observer might think that Manfred von Karma pushed his prodigiously intelligent daughter as hard as he could so that she could be a young overachiever, the pressure that Franziska felt herself under throughout her childhood and adolescence was more passive than active. To her, it felt as though that no matter what she did, her father cared less about the achievements of his own daughter than those of Miles Edgeworth. Despite her brilliance, despite all that she had achieved, becoming one of the youngest prosecuting attorneys in the world, Franziska von Karma had always felt a little... inadequate.
She tried her best not to let it show, of course.
ii) “But me... I'm no genius. I've always known that.”
Her father had taught Franziska the rules of the courtroom, had taught her what she had to do to ensure that she would not expose any weaknesses that could possibly taken advantage of. Although she copied most of his mannerisms: the casual conceit, intimidation and devious tactics that had made her father the man he was, Franziska was not so well practiced as her father and lost her cool far more easily than he did, frequently slipping into bouts of rage when things didn't go her way. The whip that she carried with her was a manifestation of this; she frequently lashed out (quite literally) at people who dared oppose her, or just out of sheer frustration. When she suffered her first defeat soon after her arrival in America, she whipped the opposing defense attorney unconscious. The whip was a safety blanket of sorts, although not many people would dare say that to her face. It was what allowed her to attack people first before they could get under her skin, and if they somehow managed to do that anyway, it allowed her to fight back. It allowed her to maintain control, something which she knew was essential to being perfect, something which she wanted more than anything. Yet, sometimes if the source of Franziska's ire was intimidating, or indeed capable of continuing the battle in return, Franziska would frequently choose a different target - one who was more indulgent of her violent tendencies, or more reluctant to speak out. She also had a well-engrained habit of not taking responsibility for her failures, and attributed fault to any other available party. Or even no other party; to this day she would straight-face claim to people who would know that it was a blatant lie, that she had 'never lost a single case', as she had done so soon after arriving in America.
Thus, despite her desperate desire to prove her perfect persona to her father, her family, the world, Franziska knew that it was always very close to falling apart, and that she wasn't quite as capable as her father was.
Even after her father was incarcerated, during the winter she was seventeen, Franziska still used him as a standard to measure her life against. A year later after a string of embarrassing failures, she tearfully admitted to Miles Edgeworth (the person who understands her the most, although you would never hear her say it) that she would never be a genius like her father. Manfred von Karma had been the man who Franziska had built her life around, and even once he had been removed from her life she still felt the desperate need to prove her worth to him. But after slowly coming to terms with the fact that he had not been half the man he had claimed to be, and that perhaps the thing she had been striving for her entire life (her father's love) was unattainable, she slowly stopped blaming Edgeworth for everything that had been inadequate about her relationship with her father (although she certainly kept him around as a rival)....
... and thus, Franziska started to turn her own life around.
iii) “Legends are a thing of the past. I am a von Karma. That is all."
It was a slow process, but she eventually slowly grew to understand that although her father had betrayed the very values he had taught her, it did not invalidate everything that she had achieved. She had been fixated on achieving her best, on achieving her best for her father that she had ignored that one of her most positive qualities, one that she had been capable of since the very beginning – her incredible tenacity. (It doesn't get much stubborner than trying to work after being shot in the shoulder, such as Franziska did.) Perhaps she wasn't quite so intelligent as her father, perhaps she did have to work hard to get where she was today, but she had done all that, and she could continue doing it on her own terms for herself as a person instead of for her father's sake. Her father's values of perfection were a family creed, after all, and one to which she could still uphold and restore honor. She still wanted to be the very best, but it was for her own personal sense of self-fulfilment.
iv) "A dancing pierrot, living her life on the name and fame her invincible father built!"
Change was not necessarily an easy thing to come by, and even a year after that tearful breakdown, Franziska would still occasionally mention the past and what had brought her to where she was, and her frustrations that came with the weight associated with the family name, going so far to feign ignorance when Miles Edgeworth reminded her that even men like her father had not been invincible. She had made progress, forging new relations with Interpol so that she could take her work more internationally, pursing the types of criminals her father had never bothered to deal with - those who could be considered 'above' the law. Yet, sometimes she still doubted whether she was doing the right thing, doubted whether she knew what the right thing was any more. For the moment, it was something she had accepted that she had time to figure out – again, for her own sake, to perfect herself, and not for anyone else. And certainly not her father.
v) "Phoenix Wright... it's impertinent to call people by their full names!"
While Franziska's life is preoccupied with her pursuit of perfection, this means that from an outsider's perspective she can be regarded as an idiosyncratic, frustrating individual … to say the very least. If the threat of being whipped is not off-putting enough, her overall demeanor is abrasive; her sharp tongue can almost feel just like the slap of leather against skin sometimes, and she is so self-absorbed that she usually doesn't have any regard for other people's feelings. Rude and demeaning, she is frequently also quite dramatic about it all, and is described by Miles Edgeworth himself as having a 'flair for the histronic'. However, Franziska is, on rare occasions, capable of showing empathy when others make her bad behavior obvious to her, such as offering support to a former witness, Adrian Andrews, after her trial, where Franziska had fundamentally used her as a pawn to try and achieve a guilty verdict. She seems to have a soft spot for vulnerable women and children in general, actually, appearing somewhat hurt after Pearl rejects her attempts to help and accuses her of being mean (which... she really is).
On top of Franziska's violent temper (and the whip!) she has a few other quirks which many of the people she regularly interacts think of as rather defining of Franziska. She is quite fond of the word 'fool' and its variations, sometimes using it up to seven times a sentence, as well as alliterative technique. Another verbal tendency of hers is to call most people she meets by their full name; this habit is so prevalent that sometimes, the people around her accidentally pick it up!
She's... also a little bit of a hypocrite, as evidenced by this section's leading quote. Or that may just be her inability to see fault in herself rearing its ugly head again.