2015 Citizen Lawyers: Frank Laney
By Eric A. Mine
CARY – It’s hard to better sum up the spirit of being a Citizen Lawyer than Frank Laney’s own maxim: “Service is the rent we pay of the space we occupy on earth.”
Laney has long served the youth of his community. Thirty years as scoutmaster for the local boy scout troop, 10 years on the elementary school PTA, six years on the middle school PTA, five years as a judge in Odyssey of the Mind, three years on the board of the high school band boosters in which he helped raise $25,000; the list goes on and on.
His work has made a deep impression. “Frank is one of the most dedicated, community minded and game changing volunteers I have ever known,” said Steve Hodges, who works with Laney in the community. “He is, simply put, a man of action who determines what needs to get done, and makes it his business to see it completed.”
Earlier this year Laney helped lead the charge to organize the Cary Music & Arts Festival, which was held in April. The festival showcased the talent of around 500 students from six area high schools. Laney also reached out to the NC Symphony, which, excited about the event, agreed to provide four complimentary Symphony event tickets to every student and teacher participating in the festival.
When the organizers decided to make the festival a regular event, Laney volunteered, “Without being asked,” noted Hodges, to form a 501(c) 3. “He’s a leader, and despite lots of commitments, he gives his time freely when he sees that he can make a difference,” said Hodges.
His dedication to service also extends into the professional sphere. Laney has been the Circuit Mediator for the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for 15 years. Outside his job, he has worked to advance the use of mediation and dispute resolution, serving on various local, state, and federal level mediation boards for over 20 years. Recently taking his efforts global, Laney spent 12 days in Belarus teaching mediation skills and discussing a plan to increase mediation in the Belarusian court system.
Laney’s attitude toward service is something every lawyer can take to heart. “Service brings me great joy,” said Laney, “There is no greater reward than giving of oneself – one’s time, effort, and talents.” We congratulate him on being named a 2015 Citizen Lawyer. He is truly deserving of the title.
The Citizen Lawyer Committee of the NCBA Young Lawyers Division, in conjunction with the NCBA Citizen Lawyer Committee, provides expanded coverage of the 2015 Citizen Lawyer Awards in recognition of their volunteer service and leadership in their communities and beyond.
Eric A. Mine is Associate Legal Counsel II at the North Carolina Real Estate Commission in Raleigh.