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Mount alumna offers immigration services

Kathleen Martinez '13 was inspired to pursue immigration law by her desire to help her classmates

February 2, 2022

During the early days of COVID-19, Kathleen Martinez ‘13 was stuck at home longing to practice law — specifically, immigration law. She earned a law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego and became interested in immigration law while in Mount Saint Mary’s pre-law program where she met several DACA recipients and Dreamers. “I’ll admit I knew absolutely nothing about immigration until I got to the Mount,” says Martinez. 

Kathleen Martinez '13 became interested in immigration law while in Mount Saint Mary’s pre-law program where she met several DACA recipients and Dreamers.
Kathleen Martinez '13 became interested in immigration law while in Mount Saint Mary’s pre-law program where she met several DACA recipients and Dreamers.

Martinez hit the books, taught herself immigration law, and established Martinez Immigration, a virtual law firm specializing in immigration law. “Because immigration is federal law it allows me to essentially service people in all 50 states, even though I am licensed in Texas,” she says. 

In July 2021, she had 100 clients. Today she has about 600. Martinez owes this meteoric increase to her presence on TikTok. To generate excitement for her nascent firm, Martinez created short informational videos on immigration law. “A video can go viral and hit 8 million views in three hours. That’s how I got a lot of my clients,” says Martinez. 

Born in Oregon, Martinez initially attended Oregon State. There she became interested in health care policy. However, OSU was not a good fit for her. “It was a big university, and I was lost,” says Martinez. Eventually, a friend introduced her to Mount Saint Mary’s. “She told me it might be a better option for me. I’d get one-on-one attention from my professors. I also wasn’t upset about coming to perfect weather and living in LA,” says Martinez.

Martinez took to the Mount immediately. She found the faculty accessible and the classes small, providing a more personalized experience. “At the time that was what I needed,” she says. One of her Mount professors, Helen Boutrous, JD, PhD, the Mount’s pre-law director, says her program allows faculty to spend time with each individual student. “It creates bonds and makes for a wonderful educational experience. That’s a great benefit to the students,” says Boutrous.

Boutrous encouraged Martinez to participate in moot court, a competition that simulates a court hearing. “I started doing moot court to get experience speaking in public,” says Martinez. In the process, she fell in love with the competitions and Boutrous’ program. “I did well in law school because of her,” says Martinez.

The Mount’s pre-law program is designed to ensure that Mount students thrive in law school. “I don’t want them to have any surprises when they get to law school,” Boutrous explains. “I want them to have experienced everything law school throws at them but within the Mount environment.”

From the moment Martinez met those DACA recipients and Dreamers at the Mount, she wanted to help them. “I wanted to take what I learned from Dr. Boutrous and the pre-law program at the Mount to help people like my classmates,” says Martinez. “That’s what led me to be an immigration attorney.

"I am so thankful to the school that gave me my career.”