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ABA President-Elect Judy Martinez speaks to LSU Law students

A woman holds a microphone and speaks

American Bar Association President-elect Judy Perry Martinez speaks with LSU Law students in the Student Lounge on Jan. 8, 2019.

American Bar Association President-elect Judy Perry Martinez spoke with LSU Law students on Tuesday about using their legal education to make a difference in the community.

Martinez was a guest of Marta-Ann Schnabel, who is teaching a course on Serving the Public and the Profession during LSU Law’s annual Apprenticeship Week this week.

“You are the future of our profession,” Martinez said. “You are the future of a profession that makes a difference for the public, whom we are obligated to serve.”

Martinez ended with a challenge to students: Upon graduation and after settling into their professional career – no matter if it’s with a private firm or another route – place their clients first and have the courage to work in their clients’ best interest, even if it means changing the status quo.

“Everything we do, we have to ask ourselves, ‘Is what we’re doing best for the public?’” she said. “What’s best for our clients?”

Martinez is Of Counsel at Simon, Peragine, Smith & Redfearn. She received the Sam Dalton Capital Defense Advocacy Award from the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Counsel in 1997, the Michelle Pitard Wynne Professionalism Award from the Association of Women Attorneys in 1998, and the Alliance for Justice Award in 1999 from the National Gay and Lesbian Law Association.

She was named The Outstanding Young Lawyer in the State of Louisiana in 1990 and the Louisiana Bar Foundation’s 2001 Distinguished Attorney.

Students gather around a woman talking into a microphone

LSU Law students gather around to listen to American Bar Association President-elect Judy Perry Martinez speak on Jan. 8, 2019.

The LSU Law Center is an ABA-accredited law school, which allows graduates to take the bar exam in most states in the U.S.