Spotlight on Incoming IL Mark Martinez

Hometown: Glen Rose, Texas
Undergraduate School: University of North Texas
Major: Anthropology
Q. If you could only tell the Regent Law community one thing about yourself, what would it be? 
A. Although my parents’ divorce left an indelible mark on my life, their separation allowed me to be exposed to what I call “two Americas” when I was growing up. My stepfather was a fourth-generation peanut farmer who valued hard work. So, I spent the first half of every summer from 1993-1997 on the farm. I trekked up and down a hot dusty field with a hoe in hand, disposing of pesky weeds that grew among our crops. During the second half of my summer, I followed my dad, who was the director of a Boys & Girls Club in Fort Worth, Texas, around the barrio while he mentored ex-gang members. Moving from rural to urban landscapes every summer heightened my awareness of socioeconomic disparities in the United States at an early age.

Q. Which life events and personal/professional goals brought you to law school? 
A. I spent a few years working for a non-profit advocating for at-risk youth. I felt I was hardly making a dent in helping clients overcome systemic barriers, so I transitioned to traditional church ministry. However, I met a wise man along the way who challenged my limited understanding of ministry. He said, “Ministry is not what you do, like preach or plant a church, but it is who you are. Once you know who you are, everything you do is ministry.” This paradigm shift helped me realize that I have the greatest impact on society when I live out the role God created for me. Doing so has led me to law school.

Q. How did you know that Regent Law is the right law school for you? 
A. My visit to Regent definitely confirmed what I already felt. It’s hard to describe, but there is a momentum unique to Regent that is palpable, and I wanted to be a part of it. I’d also like to tip my hat to the Admissions Staff at Regent Law for making a big impression. They clearly take pride in recruiting, which is shown by their attention to detail. There is a standard of excellence unmatched by any other law school admissions office I encountered.

Q. What does becoming a lawyer mean to you? 
A. Becoming a lawyer means operating as a reformer and leaving things in a better state than when I found them. It means being sprinkled into the fabric of society like salt and releasing hope in hopeless situations.

Q. How will you spend your last summer before law school? 
A. I will spend my last summer before law school with my wife and son, happily obliging to whatever they want to do. I want to make sure that I get a lot of quality family time.

Q. What kind of law do you hope to practice after graduation? 
A. My previous work experience lends itself to family and immigration law. However, I remain very open to the process and understand that things can change.

Q. What is your favorite book and why?
A. Depends on the season of life. When I was in elementary school, it was Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! When I was in high school, it was Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. In college, it was Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. In this particular season, living with an 18-month-old son, I would have to say Dr. Seuss again, but this time it’s The Foot Book. I read somewhere that it’s important to remain childlike.

Q. What is your favorite Bible verse? 
A. Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Q. You have a rare weekend in which nothing is on your schedule. What will you do with the free time? 
A. Is it college football season? If not, then I would load up the family and take a technology-free hiking trip.

Q. Is there anything else you would like your peers and future law students to learn about you? 
A. I once lived in a tent in the Stanislaus National Forest, which was 15 miles from the nearest electrical outlet, for over five months. It was 2007; I was 26 years old; and I was building trails for the National Forest Department. Perhaps—not unlike law school—the idea sounds great until you are about three months into the season, with no contact to the outside world, running on very little sleep, and crying out to God at night for mercy.

It was an AmeriCorps program partnership with the California Conservation Corps. We hiked between 2 and 5 miles per day carrying 50-100 pounds each way. I lived in a trail crew of around 20 people and became adept at managing conflict. A layer of extended adolescence was shed in the transcendent Sierra Nevada Mountains, and I became attune to my servant identity. Serving not for the sake of notoriety but for the sake of others was engrained in me in that season. I returned home with greater vision for my life and a peace I’d never known before.

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