For Desi Martinez, whose practice Martinez & Associates was recently named San Antonio’s Best Law Firm, both his professional and his personal life reflect a deep dedication to helping others. According to Martinez, this passion comes from a personal place.
“I have felt several times in my life that I didn’t matter,” recalls Martinez from his office on the Southside of San Antonio, “but if one act of love can change the world, imagine how being loved unconditionally can change one person.”
Martinez defies expectation, perhaps explained in part by his upbringing and his Christian faith. Martinez was raised with his brothers by a single mother. All they had was each other. Here, young Desi learned the importance of family, of community.
“I grew up the poor, fat, Mexican kid. In a lot of the places where we lived, there weren’t many others that looked like me. All we had was each other. My mother and brother always loved me and believed in me.”
Their belief inspired an unlikely career in law and an even more unlikely home found on the South side of San Antonio. Typically, those who escape poverty rarely come back to the community they left behind, opting instead to move to an affluent part of the country. It’s such a common occurrence, there’s even a name for this phenomenon: “brain drain.” But after graduating law school, Martinez turned this trend on its head, choosing to open his law firm in the Brooks City Base area 15 years ago.
“What happens on our side of town is that you go to school, you do really well, you get a scholarship, and you move into a nice house … somewhere else. I thought, why not make your side of town something to be proud of, instead of leaving it? That became a mission to me.”
Martinez sees those struggling economically as the ones who need the services of Martinez & Associates the most. This is not a law firm that caters to the rich and powerful; it’s a firm whose mission is to advocate for those who have been unfairly injured, regardless of potential economic reward.
“We take cases to trial when no one else will,” Martinez explains. This passion comes from a deeply felt sense of injustice from growing up poor and discounted. “I can tell you that I have understood what it feels like to know that no one in the world would care if you burned down in a house fire. I know what it’s like to have a brother sent to prison in front of my face and not have the ability to do anything about it. So, our practice is about making the odds even for folks that feel the same way.” A jury trial, says Martinez, is one of the only places in the world where David can be bigger than Goliath based on the attorney’s ability. “I try and do the best I can with the ability I’ve been given.”
Martinez cites U.S. president and well-known faith-based humanitarian Jimmy Carter as one of his inspirations, often quoting Carter’s famous mantra: “I have one life and one chance to make it count for something… My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.”
“ My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.”
For Martinez and his firm, this is not just an inspirational quote; it might as well be on the business card. Martinez & Associates participates in a variety of community outreach programs, centered around the Southside of San Antonio. You’re as likely to see Martinez volunteering at the Southside Crisis Center or feeding the homeless as you are to see him in the courtroom, fighting for the rights of the discounted.
“My brothers, my mother, my community ― this discounted group of people were all I had, and they mattered to me. Whether I’m out in the community or trying a case, when helping other folks who are being discounted, I literally see myself helping (my family).”
Martinez continues to look for ways to give back. Recently, in partnership with the 289th District Court and his friend, Judge Carlos Quezada, Martinez has been participating in San Antonio’s serving as a mentor for kids caught in the juvenile system and as a referee judge.
Judge Quezada has seen the real, positive effect mentorship can have on kids in the juvenile system. “As a child goes through our probationary process and through our mentorship program, it really opens your eyes to different things in the community. It opens your eyes to things that their families weren’t able to expose them to, simple things a mentor figure can show them. It takes a village.”
You can also find Martinez & Associates donating to a variety of local and international causes, from the Special Olympics to, a local health care nonprofit that provides direct pay family medicine to low income families. If any people-first law firm practiced what it preached, it’s this one.
“Our biggest impact hasn’t been found in our largest verdicts. Although our verdicts speak for themselves, those aren’t the things that stick with you,” Martinez says. Some years ago, Martinez & Associates was able to obtain only a $7,000 verdict for a client. It really felt like a slap in the face that a jury awarded their client so little. Even though Martinez refused to take a fee, the client was only taking home a $1,200 check. When she was given her money, Martinez saw tears in his client’s eyes. Immediately, his heart sank, as he thought she was upset. In fact, the woman was crying tears of joy; she and her husband were short the $1,200 deductible needed for his cancer care. The money won for her by Martinez & Associates would literally save his life. “Those are the things you look back on and know that your work really helps people.”
The opportunity to help people has been the driving force behind everything Martinez & Associates does. The San Antonio Express-News & MySA.com noticed, recognizing the positive difference they’re making in the lives of San Antonian’s by providing Martinez & Associates the chance to win the Reader’s Choice Award for Best Law Firm in San Antonio. This prestigious award confirms that anyone who is in need of a personal injury attorney who truly cares about people, can trust Martinez & Associates. As San Antonio’s Best Law Firm, Desi and his team are the compassionate personal injury lawyers ready to fight for you. Visit Martinez-law.com and schedule your 100% free consultation.