Raleigh, NC (June 28, 2010) - Martin H. Brinkley, a partner at Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan, was elected President-Elect of the North Carolina Bar Association at the Association’s annual meeting in Wilmington, NC on Saturday, June 26, 2010. Brinkley will serve as the 117th President of the Association beginning in June 2011.
Brinkley will be the fourth Smith Anderson partner to serve as President of the North Carolina Bar Association, following Willis Smith (1941-42), James K. Dorsett, Jr. (1959-60), and John L. Jernigan (1999-2000). Brinkley will be the youngest President of the Bar Association since James K. Dorsett, Jr. held the office more than fifty years ago. “Martin’s remarkable record of service reflects our Firm’s long-standing commitment to our profession and to the community, and we congratulate him on his election as President-Elect of the Bar Association,” noted Jernigan, the Firm’s Chairman.
A Wake County native, Brinkley, 43, attended public schools and Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire. He received an A.B. degree in classics summa cum laude from Harvard University, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was Latin Orator at Harvard’s 336th Commencement Exercises. Brinkley received his J.D. degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law, where he was Executive Articles Editor of the North Carolina Law Review. After law school he served as law clerk to Chief Judge Sam J. Ervin, III of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Brinkley practices in the areas of corporate and commercial law, mergers and acquisitions, antitrust and trade regulation, public finance and appellate litigation. He represents corporate clients in the distribution, life science, energy and manufacturing industries. Brinkley is a member of Smith Anderson’s Policy and Planning Committee, chairs the Firm’s Legal Opinions Committee and co-chairs its Associates Development Committee. He is listed in Woodward/White, Inc.’s The Best Lawyers in America in the fields of Corporate Law and Mergers and Acquisitions; in Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite in Business Law and Corporate Law; and is a North Carolina Super Lawyer in the Business/Corporate and Mergers & Acquisitions fields. He is a member of the American Law Institute and the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference, and has been an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law. Brinkley maintains an active pro bono practice, representing individual clients in public housing, landlord-tenant, termination of parental rights and criminal cases and counseling a wide range of religious, educational and other charitable organizations.
Throughout his 18 years of law practice, Brinkley has held leadership positions in the North Carolina Bar Association. He chaired the Association’s Young Lawyers Division and served a three-year term on its Board of Governors. While chairing the Strategic Planning and Emerging Trends Committee, he led development of Momentum 2010, a long-term strategic plan for the Bar Association. In 2007-08, Brinkley co-chaired (with Smith Anderson partner Caryn McNeill) the Bar Association’s inaugural “4All” Campaign to address systemic problems in the availability of legal services to North Carolinians living in poverty. In 2009 the 4All Campaign received the American Bar Association’s Harrison Tweed Award, which honors state and local bar projects that improve access to legal services for indigent citizens. In 2008, the NCBA presented Brinkley with its Citizen Lawyer Award. Brinkley has also been an active member of the ABA’s Section of Business Law, serving as editor of the Legal Opinions Newsletter, a national forum for discussion of legal opinion practice published by the Section’s Committee on Legal Opinions.
Brinkley has been heavily involved in community and civic organizations in the Research Triangle area and statewide. He is a former Senior Warden of Raleigh’s Christ Episcopal Church and is currently serving his second term on the Vestry. He has been a delegate from Christ Church to nine annual conventions of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina and is now Vice Chancellor and a member of the Standing Committee of the Diocese. Brinkley has served on the boards of more than a dozen civic and cultural organizations in the Raleigh area, most recently the Board of Commissioners of the Wake County Public Library System. He is Secretary-Treasurer of the North Caroliniana Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the history and cultural heritage of North Carolina.
Brinkley and his wife Carol, a teacher of hearing impaired students at Frances Lacy Elementary School in Raleigh, have three children: Eliza (17) and Caroline (15), both students at Saint Mary’s School, and Sam (9), a fifth grader.
With 16,000 members (approximately 70% of the state’s licensed attorneys), the 111 year-old North Carolina Bar Association is widely recognized as one of the country’s most vibrant and successful voluntary bar associations.