Martin Brinkley ’92 chosen as 14th Dean of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law

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Martin Brinkley ’92 chosen as 14th Dean of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law


(Chapel Hill, N.C.—June 5, 2015) – Martin H. Brinkley ’92, a partner in the law firm of Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan, L.L.P. in Raleigh, North Carolina, will be the 14th dean of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. Brinkley was chosen after an extensive nationwide search, led by Mike Smith ’78, dean of the UNC School of Government, and succeeds retiring Dean John Charles “Jack” Boger ’74, who plans to return to the law school faculty after serving as dean for nine years. Brinkley will remain associated with Smith Anderson as Of Counsel while serving the University and the law school.


“The Carolina community joins me in welcoming Martin Brinkley as the dean of the UNC School of Law,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “We are thankful Martin’s professional path has brought him full circle – back to the very place where he earned his own law degree. He is a preeminent attorney with extensive knowledge of corporate law and a deep commitment to public service and pursuit of excellence in legal education.”


Brinkley comes to the deanship after 22 years in private practice. A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Brinkley is a 1987 Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude graduate of Harvard University. He received his law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1992, where he was executive articles editor of the “North Carolina Law Review.” After law school, he served as a law clerk to Chief Judge Sam J. Ervin III of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. From 1996-2000, Brinkley returned to UNC School of Law as an adjunct professor. In 2011, Brinkley was named president of the North Carolina Bar Association, the youngest lawyer in more than 50 years to lead the statewide association. He is a recipient of the Bar Association’s Citizen Lawyer Award, UNC School of Law’s Pro Bono Alumnus of the Year Award and other awards recognizing his pro bono service to individuals and charitable institutions.


His primary experience has been in the fields of corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, antitrust, insurance, public finance and nonprofit organizations law. He has been lead outside counsel to companies and institutions in the manufacturing, distribution, food and beverage, and insurance industries and chairs Smith Anderson’s regulatory and governmental affairs practice. Brinkley is recognized in “Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers,” Woodward/White’s “The Best Lawyers in America,” “North Carolina Super Lawyers,” “Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite” and “Who’s Who Legal: The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers.” He has served on the boards of or acted as pro bono counsel to more than 30 nonprofit organizations with educational, charitable, religious, and artistic missions. He is a trustee of the North Carolina Symphony, Saint Mary’s School, the Philharmonic Association and the North Carolina Chamber Music Institute. As secretary-treasurer of the North Caroliniana Society, he has led efforts to more than quadruple the society’s financial support of the North Carolina Collection in UNC’s Wilson Library. He is vice chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina and a former senior and junior warden and vestry member at Christ Church in Raleigh. His wife Carol, a 1986 graduate of the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is a language facilitator for hearing impaired students in the Wake County Public School System’s Frances Lacy Elementary School. The Brinkleys have two daughters, ages 22 and 20, and a son age 14.


Founded in 1845 as part of the nation’s oldest state-supported university, UNC School of Law boasts an active network of 11,000 living alumni, more than half of whom live and work in North Carolina, including governors, judges, U.S. Senators, members of congress, private practitioners, public interest lawyers and business leaders. UNC School of Law’s world-class faculty and staff prepare outstanding lawyers and leaders to serve the people and institutions of North Carolina, the nation and the world. The school offers strong expertise in banking, environmental law, intellectual property, civil rights, entrepreneurial and securities law, bankruptcy and constitutional law. Student-run pro bono projects have earned national recognition. Joint-degree programs cover business, public policy, communication, planning, public health, social work and public administration.






About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 78 bachelor’s, 112 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 304,000 alumni live in all 50 states and 150 countries. More than 159,000 live in North Carolina.



School of Law contact: Katherine Kershaw, (919) 962-4125,

Communications and Public Affairs contact: MC VanGraafeiland, (919) 962-7090,