We are proud to announce that Antonio Martinez, chair of our Latin American & Caribbean Practice, was the Recipient of the Public Service Award of Excellence at Brooklyn Law School on April 13. Please see his remarks below:
REMARKS OF ANTONIO C. MARTINEZ II. ESQ ON RECEIVING THE BROOKLYN LAW SCHOOL 2017 ALUMNI PUBLIC SERVICE EXCELLENCE AWARD, LATIN AMERICAN LAW STUDENTS ASSOCIATION
I would like to thank all of you and my family gathered here for this moment. I never expected this honor but I am truly moved by this recognition. I also want to acknowledge our keynote speaker, the Acting Brooklyn District Attorney, Eric Gonzalez, who is an inspiration and a model on how you can rise up the ranks through a career in public service. I truly hope the people of Kings County will see to elect him to the full term as I know he will do a great job protecting our community here in Brooklyn. I would like to acknowledge my sister Julie who is in private practice now, once worked at and rose to become the Chief of the Domestic Violence Bureau at the Brooklyn DA’s office during the service of District Attorneys Elizabeth Holtzman and Charles Hynes. My family believes in and is committed to public service through the legal profession.
During these 20 years I have been practicing law and 26 years as a government relations professional, my journey has been blessed with many opportunities and happy successes. It is a journey that has allowed me to travel and visit 45 of the 50 states and 26 countries and meet and interact with some amazing politicians, business and labor leaders, health professionals and patients.
But more importantly it has allowed me to be able to assist making regular people’s lives better. People ask me what kind of a lawyer are you? I tell them I am a negotiator and an advocate. I work to resolve conflict, to be a bridge builder, to make life better for my clients, to be a catalyst in the art of making their deals, to be an ambassador for health, peace, and prosperity in all of it manifestations in our society and in the halls of government or in the courtroom.
I am a lawyer who wants to make the system work. Because beyond your duty to ethically and zealously represent your clients, it is your job as a lawyer to make government work for all the people. I do not accept the proposition that government in of itself is the problem. It is the imperfect exercise and administration of government that is always the challenge. And it is only when we intervene through this profession do our efforts determine whether government itself responds justly and equitably or remains broken. I want government to work for all the people.
As a lawyer sometimes who you are and what you do for your client will be the only thing remaining that keeps them from losing their sanity or everything they own, or their freedom in a criminal matter, or whatever resources or assets they may have at stake in a legal dispute. It is truly an honorable profession if you hold it and yourself with humility – as you will be reminded in the course of serving clients – but for the grace of God…and my lawyer could go I. You will know your two common and constant adversaries in most cases are either ignorance or arrogance or both combined. They are powerful adversaries. You must be patient, perseverant, strategic and skillful in confronting and overcoming these two villains. They are often the true obstacles to justice or the resolution of a conflict. When you do this work, you often will not know the full measure of your efforts until long after you have served your client. But your efforts will be reflected back into society when your service reunited or saved a family, saved a home, helped a patient get access to an experimental drug that prolonged or saved their life; helped a company grow from being in one state to two and then going national; negotiating deals that create jobs and prosperity here and abroad; creating a pathway to bringing people and ideas together and turning them into goods and services in the economy; making sure an innocent man is freed or a guilty one pay for his crimes.
The cases and clients you take on will be an affirmation of the rule of law to which you will give your oath after you pass the bar and get sworn in. You do not have to be perfect. No one is is perfect. You will make mistakes or life itself will serve you up challenges you need in order to grow as a human being and as a professional and be more thoughtful, compassionate, and tolerant. These challenges for me personally showed up as divorce, illness, and being impacted in the mortgage crisis of 2008. Empathy will be your greatest ally in your service. Your clients may be impressed by how much you know but they will be more impressed by how much you care for them, their cause, and that you can deliver for them.
So what’s next for me as I return for another tour of service in Washington DC? I am blessed and grateful that my career takes me back and forth from New York to Washington DC. often and to many other cities in the U.S and abroad. Besides working on international relations, many of you do not know I had a heart attack three years ago and had been suffering with Type 2 Diabetes. How many here have or have a relative with Type 2 Diabetes or heart disease? I discovered a regimen, therapy, and diet, that got me off five medications, put my heart disease in reverse, and T2 Diabetes into remission, all through a Hi Fat Low Carbohydrate Diet and Intermittent Fasting. Not to mention getting off five prescriptions and saving more than $18,000.00 in prescription drug costs that I have saved my health insurance company from having to cover so far. Where is that taking me today? Back to Washington DC where the Nutrition Guidelines that are making many of us fat sick and diabetic are going to be changed through the efforts of health professionals, scientists, engineers, patients, and lawyers…
Finally, I want to share with you a true story and another you never know who your client is and will become thanks to your efforts. Now this particular lawyer was an immigrant and came from the Dominican Republic as a boy. He came to the U.S. with his mother through Ellis Island and grew up in New York City. He served his new country in World War 2 and after the war in the 50’s, he decided to become a lawyer. Upon graduation from Brooklyn Law School by the way, he was admitted to the bar on December 3, 1956. To my knowledge, he was the first Dominican American member of the New York Bar, more than 60 years ago. Well that lawyer went on to become a superb immigration lawyer in New York. During his career helping thousands of immigrants get through the process, he had a client who was a boy at the time named Adriano. Now Adriano and his family were in serious immigration difficulties, undocumented, and uncertain of their future. They went to this lawyer who not only found a way out for Adriano and his family, but got them their green cards. Adriano then went on to complete his education here, become a U.S. Citizen, and was inspired to serve the public, to which he has reached historic heights today. Adriano went on to get to elected to public office, becoming an Assemblyman, then State Senator, and last November being elected the first Dominican American Member of Congress, the Honorable Adriano Espaillat of New York’s 13th Congressional District. And his lawyer, the first Dominican American member of the New York Bar was my father, Antonio C. Martinez, Brooklyn Law School Class of 1956. And to my late father and Giancarlo’s grandfather, I dedicate this award. Goodnight, thank you and God Bless You all.