Ward and Smith, P.A. has bid a bittersweet, but fond, farewell to the long-time head of its Environmental Practice Group, Frank Sheffield, who has retired. Frank started his environmental legal career in Texas as a Longhorn (Class of 1974), but eventually found his way to North Carolina where he was admitted to the Bar in 1989. After several years as in-house corporate counsel, Frank moved into private law practice in Raleigh. In 1995, he joined Ward and Smith, where he practiced environmental law for 19 years.
Frank led the Firm's Environmental Practice Group as it participated in the evolution of ever-changing environmental laws, policies, and politics. His professional career encompassed federal and state environmental law and regulation, air quality and water quality permitting, compliance counseling, and contaminated property issues. More recently, Frank advised clients on wind energy projects, shale gas development, biogas, and other alternative energy sources. He also represented various agricultural clients in court, receiving a unanimous North Carolina Supreme Court decision declaring that local government regulation of agricultural operations is preempted by state law. Professionally, he received many honors and distinctions including The Best Lawyers in America® (1995–2014); "Legal Elite," Business North Carolina (2005 and 2007–2014); and, "Super Lawyer," North Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine (2009–2014).
Over the course of his career, Frank also lived an extraordinary life outside of the practice of law. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana (1968–1971), and was able to return to his home village a few years ago to reconnect with old friends. Always interested in politics, Frank was Mayor of Hillsborough, North Carolina, from 1983 to 1987. Now, in retirement, he enjoys his current passions including grandchildren and home-away-from-home, Bozeman, Montana, always with his long-time love, wife Roxanne.
Frank gave freely of his knowledge of environmental law and passion for natural resources as he nurtured the next generation of environmental attorneys at the Firm. We are forever grateful and thank him for his professionalism, tutelage, and friendship over many years with members of the Ward and Smith family.
© 2021 Ward and Smith, P.A.
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