Pioneering a North Carolina Diversity Fellowship: Meet Brooks Pierce’s Chief Justice Henry E. Frye 2022 Diversity Fellow
As one of the first North Carolina law firms to establish a diversity fellowship, Brooks Pierce is proud to continue honoring former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court and Brooks Pierce attorney Henry Frye by welcoming Michael Youssef to the program for 2022.
Youssef is a first-year student at North Carolina Central University School of Law. He received his bachelor’s degree from Francis Marion University and a masters of business administration from Florida International University.
“As a Frye Fellow, I am honored to follow in the footsteps of such an iconic person who has overcome many barriers and made such a significant impact in North Carolina history,” said Youssef. “I am grateful for the opportunity to be at Brooks Pierce this summer working alongside many brilliant attorneys. I look forward to gaining first-hand experience in the practice of law.”
Frye, who retired from Brooks Pierce in 2016, broke many racial barriers during his long and storied career. In 1963, he was appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, one of the first Black persons to be appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney in the South. In 1968, Frye became the first Black person to be elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in the 20th century. He served in the state House for 12 years and was then elected to a two-year term in the North Carolina Senate. In 1983, Frye became the first Black person appointed to the Supreme Court of North Carolina, and in 1999 he was appointed Chief Justice, another first. When he left the bench in 2001, Frye returned to private practice, joining Brooks Pierce, where he focused on appellate advocacy, mediation and commercial arbitration.
At Brooks Pierce, the words diversity and inclusion reflect a commitment to respect all and to cultivate a welcoming environment for everyone. The firm is committed to actively promoting and increasing diversity internally, as well as supporting, with its time and resources, organizations that seek to augment diversity and inclusion in the communities it calls home. Brooks Pierce has been recognized for its diversity and inclusion efforts, including receiving the Lawyers Weekly Diversity & Inclusion Award in 2021 and individual recognition of attorney Sarah Saint as a Triad Business Journal Leader in Diversity in 2022.