- 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., was appointed the 14th Dean of the University of North Carolina School of Law on July 1, 2015. He shares with our first dean, North Carolina Supreme Court Justice James Cameron MacRae (Dean, 1899-1909), the distinction of being the only practicing lawyer to become dean in the history of the school.
During his 22 years in private practice, Dean Brinkley worked primarily in the fields of corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, antitrust, insurance, 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 corporate organizations 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.
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.
In July 2017, Dean Brinkley will travel to London to be called as an Honorary Master of the Bench of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple.
He is the 2017 recipient of the North Carolina Bar Association’s H. Brent McKnight Renaissance Lawyer Award, which recognizes North Carolina attorneys "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 of 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 ()