Meet Our Team
Aggressive Criminal Defense
Fighting For You
Aggressive Criminal Defense Attorney
Attorney Frank Lay focuses his practice on Aggressive Criminal Defense that has handled thousands of criminal cases varying from serious felony cases to misdemeanors, within State Court, Federal Court, and Cherokee Tribal Court. He has conducted hundreds of jury trials over the years and believes in passionately defending his client’s rights. Frank started his career in law enforcement while getting his undergraduate degree and ultimately obtaining his Juris Doctorate from NCCU to practice law. Frank was admitted to the NC State Bar in 1996. Frank then worked as a prosecutor for many years before going into private practice as a criminal defense attorney. During his Prosecutorial career, Frank taught Basic Law Enforcement Training to new officers and was an Associate Professor at Western Carolina University. Frank uses his varied past career experiences to evaluate cases from all angles to zealously defend his client’s rights in our justice system.
Frank is a Board-Certified Specialist in NC State Criminal Law, Graduate of the National Advocacy Center Master Trial Practice program, Graduate of the Prestigious National College for Criminal Defense, and Graduate of the National College for DWI Defense at Harvard University School of Law. He has had the honor of teaching at numerous continuing legal education courses to share the vast knowledge he has gained over his years of work. Frank has focused his practice over the last 15 + years as an Aggressive Criminal Defense Attorney, defending the accused in Western North Carolina.
Frank grew up in the Fayetteville area of North Carolina and moved to the mountains shortly after law school. He has worked and resided in WNC ever since. Frank currently serves as Mayor Pro Tem and Alderman for the Town of Clyde, where he resides with his wife Stephanie Lay and their children. In the winter months, Frank is also a volunteer ski patroller, as an EMT, at Cataloochee Ski Resort in Maggie Valley, NC. Frank enjoys giving back to his community as well as the legal profession, and most importantly spending time with his wife, children, and family.
Senior Paralegal and Office Manager
Stephanie Lay is the Office Manager and veteran trial paralegal for the Frank Lay Law Firm team. She began working as a paralegal for Attorney Frank Lay in 2003 and graduated from Southwestern Community College in 2006 with an AAS in Paralegal Technology. Stephanie is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal.
Over her fifteen-year tenure in the paralegal field, she has primarily focused on criminal defense trial work as a courtroom paralegal and office management. She is passionate about helping our clients navigate through the criminal court system in her capacity as a paralegal advocate!
Stephanie has previously served as a local District Director and Chairman of the Board for the North Carolina Paralegal Association. While in that role, she had the rewarding opportunity to be a guest speaker for the paralegal students at SCC to promote the paralegal field in WNC. Stephanie has also served on the Paralegal Advisory Board for Southwestern Community College; and participated with a planning team in Raleigh for the NC State Bar Division of Paralegal Certification, to assist in developing test questions for the NC State Bar Paralegal Exam. She has appreciated these opportunities to volunteer and give back to the paralegal profession that she loves so much.
Stephanie grew up in Bryson City, NC, where her family roots are still strong, but now lives in Clyde, NC with her husband Frank Lay and their children. She loves being a Mom to their four kids. She enjoys spending her free time relaxing with family; and participating in outdoor sports such as biking, skiing, and golfing with her husband and children.
Senior Paralegal, Staff Manager
Mary Browning graduated from Western Carolina University with a double major in History and Social Science Education. Mary previously worked for Attorney Lay for five years before leaving to teach civics and economics at Brevard High School.
After the birth of her son, Mary decided to rejoin the Frank Lay Law team. While Mary is from Jackson County, she and her family now live in Haywood County. In her free time, Mary enjoys crafting, and going on adventures with her growing family.
Superior Court Paralegal
Brittney Lofthouse graduated from Western Carolina University with a Bachelor’s Degree in English. Prior to beginning her career at Frank Lay’s office in 2018, Brittney worked as a journalist for the Macon County News for seven years and has also worked for the District Attorney’s Office as a Victim Witness Coordinator.
Brittney is originally from Jackson County and now resides in Macon County with her husband and their two children. Brittney will be welcoming her third child later this summer.
When she isn’t at work, Brittney spends her free time volunteering in the community and exploring WNC with her family.
Tribal Court Paralegal and Spanish Interpreter
Brazilia has worked for Frank Lay Law Firm since 2016 and has an Associates Degree in Cosmetology and Paralegal Technology. Brazilia is a multi-talented employee, serving as a Paralegal, Receptionist, and as the in-office interpreter. Brazilia is fluent in both English and Spanish.
Brazilia was born in Hawaii and now resides in Jackson County with her two children. When she isn’t working, Brazilia spends every moment she can with her children – and also enjoys spending times with friends.