Martin Brinkley

Recipient of the 2023 North Caroliniana Society Award

A highlight of the Society’s year is the presentation of
the North Caroliniana Society Award
for long and distinguished service in the
encouragement, production, enhancement, promotion,
and preservation of North Carolina.

~ May 2023

On May 25, 2023, the 2023 North Caroliniana Society Award was presented to Martin Brinkley during the Annual Membership Meeting and Awards Banquet held in Chapel Hill, NC at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center.

In 2022, the Board of Directors voted to award the fifty-fourth North Caroliniana Society Award to Martin Brinkley as our maestro of elegant stewardship of this Society, the legal profession, and the UNC School of Law.

Remarks from Martin Brinkley, including comments from his daughter Eliza Brinkley and details regarding the musical performance, can be found in Number 64 of the North Caroliniana Society Imprints, titled An Oboe’s Memoir by Martin Brinkley.

A video of the evening’s festivities and Martin Brinkley’s address and performance will be available on the Society’s website.

May 25, 2023 in Chapel Hill: Keisuke Wakao, Ruth Mock, Joe Robinson and Martin Brinkley.
photo credit: Jan Hensley

About the Recipient

Martin H. Brinkley is Dean and the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Law.

A native North Carolinian, Brinkley received an A.B. degree summa cum laude in Classics from Harvard University and studied at the University of Cologne’s Institute for Ancient Studies before attending UNC Law School, where he was Executive Articles Editor of the North Carolina Law Review.  He clerked for Chief Judge Sam J. Ervin, III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and practiced law for 22 years in Raleigh.

Brinkley became the 14th Dean of UNC Law in July 2015.  He is the first person to lead the Law School directly from practice in its 175-year history.  During his deanship, the school’s rising USNews & World Report rankings have placed it among the top eight public university law schools in the United States.  UNC Law completed a successful $75 million capital campaign on 30 June 2022.

Brinkley was reappointed to a second term as dean on 1 July 2021.  He teaches courses in Mergers & Acquisitions Law, Business Associations and Legal History (the latter with emeritus Kenan Distinguished Professor and North Caroliniana Society member John V. Orth).  Dean Brinkley’s research interests relate to the roles played by law and lawyers in educational and charitable institutions and the development of professional and personal identity in younger lawyers.

Dean Brinkley has long been committed to the legal profession, his church, and the civic life of North Carolina.  He has served on the boards of, or acted as pro bono legal counsel to, various nonprofit institutions.  He has been Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Clerk and a member of the Vestry of Christ Episcopal Church in Raleigh.  He currently serves as Chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.

Dean Brinkley is an elected member of the American Law Institute and an Honorary Master of the Bench of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple.  In 2011-12, he served as President of the 17,000-member North Carolina Bar Association.  In 2017, he received the Association’s H. Brent McKnight Renaissance Lawyer Award, which recognizes “those 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 during a multi-faceted, accomplished life, inspire others.”

When not deaning, Dean Brinkley is a devoted pianist and oboist.