In Memoriam: Charles E. Daye

January 03, 2023
Charles E. Daye

Charles E. Daye, a teacher and mentor for generations of North Carolina law students, died on Dec. 25, 2022.

Henry Brandis Professor of Law emeritus at the University of North Carolina School of Law, Daye inspired countless NCAJ members and served on the NCAJ Board of Governors and as vice president for Legal Affairs. He was a member of NCAJ from 1989 until 2017.

NCAJ President Valerie Johnson shared her thoughts at his passing:

There are too few men who are humble visionaries, but Daye was one of them. Daye was never one to succumb to the confines of the Ivory Tower. He cared deeply for the rights of the injured, the wronged and for civil rights. His vision led him not only to practice law but also to educate future lawyers. Daye pioneered a program to ensure the success of minority law students and shared his program with law schools around the country. His brillance and his exceedingly organized nature led him to leadership in NCAJ, to lead the N.C. Association of Black Lawyers and to work in many other trial lawyer, academic and community organizations.  

Daye opened his office and his home to lawyers and law students who came to learn from him. He was generous with his time, and lavish in his praise. A gifted scholar, his N.C. Law of Torts treatise, with Professor Mark Morris, is the gold standard for plaintiffs’ lawyers. And his work to secure housing rights for those who were wronged, along with his articles and findings in the field, remains relevant.  

He was a mentor to many and a shining example to all.

Daye earned his undergraduate degree from North Carolina Central University and his law degree from Columbia University Law School. He was the first Black law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and, in 1972, became the first Black tenure-track faculty member at UNC School of Law. The Charles E. Daye Service Award is presented annually to a UNC Law faculty member to recognize exemplary public service.

Find Daye’s obituary here and a letter here from UNC School of Law Dean Martin H. Brinkley