Get to Know Carlo J. Martina


By Jo Mathis
Legal News

Carlo J. Martina is president of the Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan, and has served as chair of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and president of the Wayne County Family Law Bar Association. He also is a member of the Oakland, Washtenaw and Livingston County bar associations.

Besides speaking at seminars put on by the Institute for Continuing Legal Education, the State Bar Family Law Section, the Referees Association of Michigan and various other bar and civic organizations, Martina wrote Chapter One of ICLE’s two-volume set, “Michigan Family Law,” as well as articles for the Michigan Family Law Journal and other bar and civic publications.

An alumnus of Wayne State University Law School, Martina has been awarded the Purple Rose Award by the Arab American Coalition Against Domestic Violence and a Special Recognition Award by the Wayne County Council Against Family Violence at its 25th anniversary celebration.

Martina, who lives in Green Oak Township with his wife, family law attorney Marie Pulte, is the father/stepfather of four.

Favorite local hangouts? The Hamburg Pub, with its great Reuben sandwiches and a pool table.

Favorite radio stations? WDET and WUOM.

What is your most treasured material possession?
A T-shirt my boys made for me for Father’s Day 25 years ago where they dipped their hands in fabric paint and put their hand prints all over the back of it, with their names painted under them.

What was your proudest moment as a law student? Having just started my term as Student Board of Governors President, with the efforts of other student organizations and community leaders, we successfully stopped the faculty from implementing changes in the law school’s admissions policy as a knee jerk reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bakke decision, at a time when our law school had but a handful of minority students and women were still grossly underrepresented.

What is your proudest moment as a lawyer? It’s a toss-up. After working for over 6 years to change the draconian, custody fight- inducing “shared economic child support formula calculation,” with the help of several wonderful lawyers working on Council’s Family Support Committee, the Michigan Supreme Court agreed to the changes we were recommending, thus ending the cliff effect which caused support to irrationally plummet at 128 overnights instead of tapering off.  The other was while I was president of the Wayne County Family Law Bar Association. With the help of many wonderful lawyers, judges and other organizations, we were able to successfully stop a court administration attempt to essentially end Wayne County Circuit Court’s dedicated Family Division which had begun assigning general civil cases to its Family Division judges.

 What did you learn during your years as the chair of the State Bar Family Law Section and president of the Wayne County Family Law Bar Association?
The best ideas for solving a problem come when you engage the input of well-intentioned attorneys who may have divergent ideas of defining the problem and how to solve it, but are open minded towards collaborating on reaching a reasonable solution. 

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
That I was fair.

When you were considering law school, what was Plan B? Teaching history and civics to high school students.

What would surprise people about your job? You can’t help but worry about how your client will fare once their divorce is over.

What do you wish someone would invent? A code of principles that all the faiths of the world would recognize as universal, thus reducing the motivation to fight over differences in one’s faith. (OK, a long shot I know.)

When you look back into the past, what do you miss most?
Spending more time with our four children.

What is your most typical mood?
Optimistic. I really think that with enough effort, solutions can be found to most problems.

If you could have witnessed any event in history, what would it be?
Lincoln giving the Gettysburg Address with its emphasis on equality, respect for the sacrifices made to preserve our nation’s most fundamental principles, and that final note of hope that our “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

What were you doing in your last selfie? Celebrating my dad’s 100th birthday with my wife, family, and dad’s friends.

What kind of time-managing system do you use? One that clearly is insufficient for my purposes.

What question do you most often ask yourself?
Did I do the right thing?

If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be?
Assuming I could also be instantly imbued with the appropriate skills, a surgeon.

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been?
The Grand Canyon while hiking with my dear wife, Marie Pulte.

What word do you overuse? “Honestly.”

What is one thing you would like to learn to do? Speak Spanish. I’m half Spanish and Italian, and if you know Spanish, you can also get by communicating with those speaking Italian.

What is something most people don’t know about you? Having completed Air Force basic training before I turned 18, I went on to become an air intelligence operations specialist.

What is the best advice you ever received? Following giving one of the commencement addresses at my law school graduation as Student Board of Government president, my father asked that I promise to do two things: remember where you came from (he was an immigrant and we were definitely a working class family of modest means) and give the same advice to your clients as you would if they were a member of our family.

If there was one thing you could do regularly, alone, what would that be? Fishing.

What’s the one question you like to be asked?
So, how’s life treating you?


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