In June 1964, Julius L. Chambers opened his law practice in a cold-water walk-up on East Trade Street in Charlotte. A recent graduate from the University of North Carolina School of Law, where he graduated first in his class and became the first African-American to be Editor-in-Chief of the school’s Law Review, Julius Chambers sought to open a general practice law firm that would, among other things, provide legal services to the African-American community in a society that was mired in racial inequities and long-held prejudices.
This one person law practice eventually became the first integrated law firm in North Carolina history. In its first decade, the firm did more to influence evolving federal civil rights law than any other private law practice in the United States. Chambers and his founding partners, James E. Ferguson, II, and Adam Stein, often working with attorneys from the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., successfully litigated countless civil rights and criminal cases throughout North Carolina.