Julius L. Chambers
2005 Ayscue Professionalism Award Winner
Julius L. Chambers received his BA in history, summa cum laude, from North Carolina College in 1958. He received his MA in history from the University of Michigan in 1959, then his JD from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1962, first in his class of 100. He served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif and Order of the Golden Fleece, the highest honorary societies at the University. He taught at Columbia University School of Law while earning his masters of law degree in 1964.
In June 1964, Mr. Chambers opened his law practice in a cold water walkup on East Trade Street in Charlotte. This one-person law practice eventually became the first integrated law firm in North Carolina history. In its first decade, the law firm did more to influence evolving federal civil rights law than any other private law practice in the United States. He and his partners won landmark United States Supreme Court rulings in such cases as Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, Griggs v. Duke Power Co., and Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody.
Mr. Chambers has served as Adjunct Professor: University of Virginia Law School, 1975-78; University of Pennsylvania, 1978-86; Columbia University Law School, 1984-92; University of Michigan Law School, 1985-92. In 1984, Mr. Chambers left the law firm to become Director Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in New York City.
He returned to North Carolina in 1993 to become Chancellor of his undergraduate alma mater, which had changed its name to North Carolina Central University. Mr. Chambers retired from his position as Chancellor of North Carolina Central University on June 30, 2001, and reentered private law practice with Ferguson, Stein, Chambers, Gresham & Sumter, PA, where his work includes business matters, employment discrimination, education, and civil rights.