Martin H. Brinkley

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Education

  • J.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1992)
  • A.B., Classics (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), Harvard University (1987)

Martin H. Brinkley '92, a native of Wake County, N.C., is the 14th Dean of the University of North Carolina School of Law. He shares with our first dean, James Cameron MacRae (1899-1909), the distinction of being the only lawyer in the school's history to become dean directly from practice.

During his 22 years at the bar, Dean Brinkley practiced primarily in the fields of corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, antitrust and regulated industry, public finance and charitable organizations law. As a partner at Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan, L.L.P., he was lead outside counsel to clients in the manufacturing, distribution, food and beverage, and insurance industries. He led Smith Anderson’s regulatory and governmental affairs practice and was recognized in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers, Woodward/White’s The Best Lawyers in America, and Who's Who Legal International: M&A and Corporate Governance in the fields of corporate law and governance, mergers and acquisitions, and nonprofit organizations law.

After serving as Executive Articles Editor of the North Carolina Law Review during his third year at Carolina Law, Dean Brinkley clerked for Chief Judge Sam J. Ervin, III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In 2011-12 he served as President of the North Carolina Bar Association, the youngest lawyer to lead the nation's preeminent voluntary state bar in more than 50 years. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a Permanent Member of the Judicial Conference of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Dean Brinkley has served on the boards of and acted as pro bono counsel to dozens of nonprofit institutions with charitable, religious, artistic and educational missions. He is presently a trustee of the North Carolina Symphony and the North Caroliniana Society. He is Vice Chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina and a former Senior Warden, Junior Warden and Vestryman of Christ Church in Raleigh.

Dean Brinkley is an Honorary Master of the Bench of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in London.  He was the 2017 recipient of the N.C. Bar Association’s H. Brent McKnight Renaissance Lawyer Award, recognizing a North Carolina attorney "whose trustworthiness, respectful and courteous treatment of all people, enthusiasm for intellectual achievement and commitment to excellence in work, and service to the profession and community, inspire others."  He is a past recipient of the N.C. Bar Association's Citizen Lawyer Award and Carolina Law’s Pro Bono Alumnus of the Year Award.

Dean Brinkley lives in Raleigh with his wife Carol, a language facilitator for hearing impaired children at Frances Lacy Elementary School. They have three children. When not deaning, he is an avid amateur classical pianist and chamber musician.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106 | Accessibility


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