Monday Profile: Angie Martell

Angie Martell is a managing partner of Iglesia Martell Law Firm, PLLC in Ann Arbor. Martell graduated with a masters of law from Harvard Law School, a juris doctorate degree from the City University of New York Law School, a masters in media from the New School for Social Research, and a bachelor of arts in Spanish literature from New York University.  

Martell started her legal career as a public defender with the Legal Aid Society in New York City in 1990.  She later worked as an assistant attorney general for the New York State Department of Law Civil Rights Bureau, as an NYC Department of Correction attorney, and for the NYS Metropolitan Transportation Authority Inspector General Office as a senior investigative attorney. 

Throughout her 23 years as a lawyer, she has worked extensively in the areas of in-house general counsel matters, civil rights, family law, LGBT issues, employee rights, criminal defense, mediation, and arbitration. 


 By Jo Mathis

Legal News
Residence: Chelsea.
Currently reading:  “Medicine for the Earth: How to Transform Personal and Environmental Toxins” by Sandra Ingerman.
What is your most treasured material possession? All my farm animals—from our llama Dalai to our ram Ismael, to our cows Alice and Gertrude, to all our plethora of sheep, goats, ducks, chickens, and our amazing golden retriever, Zoey, who keeps them all in line.
What advice do you have for someone considering law school?  Be yourself, be true to your core values, and don’t let others’ perceptions of the law change or influence or diminish how you look at legal solutions. See legal solutions as opportunities to take the law in creative directions and to link humanity in creative ways. Stay positive in this journey because you are here to learn and have your light shine. Be not afraid, you can do it, you will always be supported. Now be free and fly.
If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be? A world traveler, guest lecturer, and a professor of law.
Favorite local hangouts:  Pilar’s Tamales, Ann Arbor.
Your proudest moment as a lawyer?  Being sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court and meeting Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her office.  Justice Ginsburg has always been my hero.  
Your worst moment as a lawyer?  Visiting a client in prison, getting caught in a long lock down, losing my jacket, and forgetting my identification in the attorney/client room. This happened all in one day. Luckily a colleague vouched for me. Otherwise I would have been spending the night.
You’re fluent in Spanish and Portuguese as well as American Sign Language. What’s your favorite? And what are a few of your favorite words? I love languages. My favorite is probably Spanish because it embraces my Puerto Rican heritage and roots. My favorite words in Spanish are “Con Amor y Paz todo es possible.” (“With love and peace everything is possible.”) 
What is your happiest childhood memory?  I grew up with my grandmother and I loved sitting next to her on the recliner eating a grilled cheese sandwich and watching telenovelas (Spanish soap operas).
Which things do you not like to do? Shovel manure. “Literally” shovel manure on the farm as well as metaphorically shovel manure.
What would surprise people about your job?  For me lawyering is not about solving people’s problems but rather much of the work I do is about empowering people and giving them the piece they need so that they can go forward and contribute to their own solutions.
Who was or is your greatest teacher?  My children are my greatest teachers. Their love is unconditional, their dreams and hopes are vast, in their weaknesses I see my weakness, and in their greatness they ignite the fires of my passions and give me a new way to see.
What’s the most awe-inspiring place you have visited?  Fincas las Nubes, Nicaragua. Finca Las Nubes is an intentional community that creates a sustainable lifestyle through partnership with the local community preserving nature for future generations while creating a continually improving sustainable, self-sufficient and low impact community. 
If you could have one super power, what would it be?  I would love to fly.
As a self-proclaimed eternal optimist intent on helping transform the world through the law, what is your motto? “If the hammer is the only tool in your box, then every problem begins to look like a nail.”  
What would you say to your 16-year-old self?   “In life some things may not come easy, but they are always worth waiting for.”
What’s the best advice you ever received?  “Let go and trust.”

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