2015 Citizen Lawyers: Patrick M. Kane
By Jessica Gorczynski
GREENSBORO – The North Carolina Bar Association has recognized Greensboro attorney Patrick M. Kane with its Citizen Lawyer Award. The award recognizes attorneys who provide exemplary public service to their communities.
Kane’s interest in sports over the years, and particularly his passion for coaching rugby, has provided him not only with an enjoyable diversion from law school and the practice of law, but also with the opportunity to serve as a positive influence in the lives of countless young men in our state. He speaks of the “brotherhood” created on the rugby field among the student athletes he has coached and the meaningful bonds that have been formed over his years of involvement.
As a first-year student at Wake Forest University School of Law, Kane immediately stepped into the role of head coach of the university rugby team. It wasn’t long before he recognized that his volunteer coaching position could be, as he put it, “a real mentoring responsibility, if I wanted it to be.”
Kane embraced the opportunity, welcoming his players into his life and serving as counselor on everything from adjusting to college life to handling more difficult personal, family, and health issues. Kane’s mentorship provided his players with more than just direction on the rugby field, which many of the young men needed. As one of Kane’s former players commented, “His ability to connect with all of us on a personal level set him apart from other coaches.”
Kane coached the Wake Forest rugby team for nine years, leading it from a Division III team with few resources and little recognition to a respected Division I team. Kane has countless tales of his former players’ achievements and speaks with pride of the doctors, lawyers, teachers, Navy Seals and Rhodes Scholars they have become.
His primary focus on the rugby field now is a bit closer to home, where he is developing a rugby program at a local high school. He reflects on the optimism his high school team gives him for the future of our society, as students from a wide range of cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds embrace their individualism and come together on the field as a team.
Like many of us, Kane has at times felt overwhelmed, juggling his law career and family life with his commitment to the young men he coaches. But time and time again, he is reminded of the influence he has already had on the lives of so many student athletes and is driven to continue this work. To Kane, rugby serves as a fun environment to bring young men together and he is there to facilitate the connections and do his part to point them in the right direction for a successful future.
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.
Jessica Gorczynski is an attorney at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP in Raleigh.