Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP, is dedicated to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment within our Firm, the communities in which we practice, and the legal profession as a whole. We are committed to increasing opportunities for Attorneys of Color to pursue long-term careers with the Firm. We are proud to announce the 2021 Chief Justice Henry E. Frye – Brooks Pierce Diversity Summer Fellowship, honoring our colleague, a groundbreaking jurist and leader in the North Carolina bar.  


The Frye Fellowship will be awarded to a Student of Color (a member of one of the underrepresented racial/ethnic groups set forth by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) in a full-time JD program for 2021 (Class of 2023, with expected graduation in 2023) at an ABA-accredited law school. Applicants should be planning to practice law in North Carolina.                


The Frye Fellowship includes a salaried Summer Associate position in the 2021 Summer Program (8 to 12 weeks), resident in any of the Firm’s three offices (Raleigh, Greensboro, Wilmington, NC). The Fellow will also be awarded a $10,000 scholarship following successful completion of the Firm’s 2020 Summer Program. Please note that the Frye Fellowship cannot be paired with any other diversity fellowship summer position in 2020 (e.g., firm, company, bar programs).   

Candidates for the Frye Fellowship will be considered based upon a variety of factors, including academic excellence, professional accomplishment, intellectual curiosity, independence and self-reliance, entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, resilience and ability to overcome adversity, dedication to community service, and commitment to North Carolina.

Application Process

Deadline: Friday, January 15, 2021

VIA EMAIL: Submit a cover letter, resume, transcript and legal writing sample (8+ pages) to: Katie LeMere, Recruiting Coordinator, Please attach your materials in pdf form and kindly provide your preferred email address and telephone number. If your fall 1L grades are not available, please indicate when you expect to receive them; email them as soon as they are available.

Chief Justice Henry E. Frye

Chief Justice Henry E. Frye has blazed many trails in his distinguished career. His journey is remarkable, from the small town of Ellerbe, North Carolina, to the state’s highest court as the first African American chief justice. One turning point: On his wedding date in 1956, Justice Frye visited the clerk’s office in Ellerbe to register to vote. He was denied registration for failure to pass a “literacy test”—although he had graduated with highest honors from NC A&T University, had just been admitted to UNC Law School, and was a veteran officer. Justice Frye went on to graduate with honors from UNC Law in 1959, the first African American to enter UNC as a 1L. In 1963, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of North Carolina as one of the first black federal prosecutors in the South. Justice Frye won election to the North Carolina General Assembly in 1968—the first African American to do so since 1899. After serving in the NC House and the Senate, he was appointed to the North Carolina Supreme Court in 1983. Justice Frye was the first African American jurist to sit on the state’s highest bench. In 1999, he became the court’s first African American chief justice.  Justice Frye’s ‘firsts’ encompass business as well:  He established and led the first African American-owned bank in Greensboro. After seventeen years on the bench, Justice Frye joined Brooks Pierce in 2001. Now retired from private practice at 85, he remains actively involved in vital community efforts, including a nonpartisan redistricting initiative by a committee of retired judges. He continues to advise and inspire each of us at Brooks Pierce. We hope that the Frye Diversity Fellowship will inspire a new generation of Law Students of Color to pursue excellence and dare to be first.