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UNC names Martin Brinkley as new School of Law dean

Martin Brinkley took the stage as the 14th dean of the UNC School of Law on Friday at the Law School Rotunda. 

Martin Brinkley took the stage as the 14th dean of the UNC School of Law on Friday at the Law School Rotunda. 

Martin Brinkley will serve as the new dean of the UNC School of Law.

Brinkley graduated from UNC's law school in 1992 and worked in private practices for 22 years. He is a partner in the law firm of Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan LLP in Raleigh and will continue with his practice while serving as dean. Brinkley will be the 14th dean in the school's history. 

The University made the announcement at a press conference Friday.

Dean Jack Boger, who graduated from UNC School of Law in 1974, plans to retire from the position after nine years as dean. Boger will continue at the School of Law as a faculty member. The UNC School of Law is ranked 19th in reputation among lawyers and judges by the U.S. News & World Report. 

"To be of service to this infinitely precious institution is a life's dream," Brinkley said. 

Brinkley choked back tears while thanking his wife, Carol Brinkley, and his three children for supporting him. 

Brinkley has experience in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, antitrust, insurance, public finance and nonprofit law. He has worked with companies and institutions in the manufacturing, food and beverage, distribution and insurance industries. 

He was elected president of the North Carolina Bar Association in 2011 and was one of the youngest presidents at the time. 

"The Carolina community joins me in welcoming Martin Brinkley as the dean of the UNC School of Law," Chancellor Carol Folt said in a statement. "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." 

The search committee, which worked for more than a year, was led by Mike Smith, dean of the School of Government. 

"He has a deep understanding of the law and its impact on the North Carolina community," Smith said. "He realizes the state's tradition of supporting higher education." 

Elizabeth Gibson, a professor in the law school and a member of the search committee, said she wanted someone with energy and an understanding of the current job climate for law school graduates. 

"I think it's important that he has an understanding and an appreciation of the specific role of a public law school," she said. 

As dean, Brinkley told The Daily Tar Heel in April that he would promote "professional integrity and a stronger orientation toward the public good."

Brinkley has provided his services to more than 30 nonprofits, including educational, charitable, religious and artistic organizations. He is a trustee of the North Carolina Symphony, Saint Mary's School, the Philharmonic Association and the North Carolina Chamber Music Institute. 

"Chapel Hill is a place that breaks your heart," Brinkley said. "I'm ready to have my heart broken in service to this law school and this university."

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